Monday, April 26, 2010

Trail Notes: Man, This Place is Pretty!

FarmWife and I had a lovely ride yesterday, despite her having squandered the first hour of our free time with a radical currying attempt. The interesting thing about the seasonal change in equines is this: In the winter, you can whip off our blankets, mop off our legs and necks, give us a five-minute touchup and head for the trail. In the summer, you can give us a quick once-over and, in five minutes, hit the trail on a mount that looks like a million bucks. In the autumn, you can curry and brush us once over quickly with great results. In the spring, two hours of arm-wrenching effort will not be enough to transform the furry behemoth before you into a respectable-looking equine citizen.

I will say this for our fan Ann, though . . . that lady has very clever taste in t-shirts! FarmWife's "Go ride a mule" shirt is exactly and precisely the same beautiful shade of brown as me, Fenway Bartholomule, in my shedding-ist winter colors. By the time I was ready to go, FarmWife looked just as tidy as she had at the outset of our grooming session. Wowie-Zowie. Magic.

FarmWife ought to have brought her camera, I think, but when we set out she was not thinking in terms of scenic vistas and FenBar poses. We rode past our usual inroad, noting the doubled population of new No Trespassing signs from two to four, and continued in hang-dog fashion down the road. It was an act of desperation, but these are quiet rural roads and generally not threatening to life and limb. Even the yellow and white lines on the road were harmless yesterday, perhaps not yet awakened from their hibernation.

We rode further than we've ever ridden here in Wickersham, and we saw all sorts of things: golden retrievers, pointers, hounds, little black mongrels, brindle boxers, big brown Viszlas, terriers, turkeys, ducks and geese, llamapillars, goats and sheep, cattle, fowl of all sizes, mares and geldings of all types, tobianos, chestnuts, bays, motorcycles, fountains, mountains, lawns and houses, cars and trucks and ruffed grouse flying. We met a number of new neighbors, with whom FarmWife exchanged a good deal of pleasant conversation, and we ended up down yonder near Katrina's trails.

If you, Katrina, are reading this, then you will enjoy the pride of knowing that I, Fenway Bartholomule, give your trails an "A." You will also enjoy the feeling of being a little bit famous, having been mentioned at Brays Of Our Lives. If you are not reading, well, let that be a lesson to you. You missed a double opportunity.

FarmWife and I let ourselves into the timberland by way of Katrina's inroad, and we rode along most merrily for some time in ever ascending briskness. There was a quality of footing and grade that particularly lent itself to trotting and cantering, and we did so with gusto. We did suffer one trauma, which was the rapid approach of four motorcyclists. I, Fenway Bartholomule, embarrassed myself with my first-ever real spook of horselike proportion. It was something else entirely, and for three strides of awful confusion I was not in control of my feelings. FarmWife, in my defense, offers that it was less a bolt than a scoot, and less scary than annoying for her, the rider. This is good, coming from a rider who used to describe herself as "low in confidence." She has ridden my most terrible spook in the universe and still finds me good and trustworthy.

We stopped for a "sorry, and thank you, and we do appreciate your slowing down" chat with the motorists, who were most apologetic and not too critical, and continued up with a new dawning hope: could we, by crossing the mountain, emerge near our home? Could we find our way back to our old stomping grounds, emerging from behind the four new "no trespassing" signs in feigned ignorance? We thought, as our view widened, that we might.

FarmWife likes a good view as much as the next person, and she is lucky to live in a place where she sees them every day. If she had brought her camera along, you could join us now in a chorus of, "ooooh," and "aaaaaah," and "wow!!" Since she didn't, I will just tell you what to imagine. To our left, the twin sisters (pictured, above) loom in their springtime bonnet of lacy snow. To our right, the valley in which we reside sprawls out like an undulating paradise, the dark green shoulders of Mounts Stewart and Anderson shining emerald under the afternoon sun. A pastel softness defines the scene, a special quality of light unique to the sunniest day in an otherwise rainy week. The valley looks airbrushed, or like a classical landscape painting.

FarmWife has lived in this valley for three years, and in this region for 15. She still finds that her breath catches in her throat at sights like this. I know this feeling—I get it, not from the sight of a valley laying before us but from the sight of my hay arriving ten minutes late. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it.

FarmWife sometimes asks me if Ohio was this beautiful. I simply cannot remember—the primary feature of Ohio, as far as I can recall, was a mare's udder full of delicious milk. It may well have been a state of lovely landscapes, but for FarmWife I must allow that this place is beautiful. Truly the Flying Spaghetti Monster's country.

FarmWife and I descended the mountain, and as we came to familiar territory she broke out in a jaunty song. It was mostly about me, Fenway Bartholomule, and I'm sure she'll sing it to you sometime. We arrived home, cool, dry, happy, and just in time for dinner. It was delicious.

Fenway Bartholomule


  1. I just started following Brays of Our Lives and just love it!!!!
    We have 9 horses and 5 mini donkeys, all but one are rescue's. I love them all but the donkeys are special.

  2. Dear Gary,

    Your comment is welcome and most appreciated! Donkeys are VERY special. I don't think I've ever met one in real life—my father was just a ramblin' man, never hanging his hat up if you will, and so I missed the opportunity to enjoy the sort of relationship that you humans develop with your daddies—but everything I hear confirms that they are stupendous and tremendous beasts. Enjoy, and welcome. Do come again!

  3. Ramen, Fenway, Ramen... I love FSM :)


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