Monday, August 20, 2012

The Mystery Hole

View from the laundry room window . . .
We had a rainy week-end.  In fact, we've had a wet summer.  Nice -  since we're so often experiencing drought conditions. 

Jerry called me out in the pasture this morning to look at the reappearance of what I'm starting to think of as the "mystery hole."  It's - I don't know - five or six inches diameter and about two feet deep - very likely to cause a broken leg if human or horse stepped in it.  The human would probably recover, but it would be a death sentence for a horse.  

The hole first appeared about a year ago.  At the time, Jerry had a pile of dirt somewhere on this quirky farm. (He likes to keep dirt on hand.)  He got on the tractor and filled the hole with some of this dirt.  After the dirt settled, he added more dirt.  He leveled it all off, and we watched it for a while.  The hole didn't reappear so we thought the problem was solved and didn't think much more about it. 

Now the hole is back and we have no dirt on hand.  Even if we had a pile of dirt, it would be mud after all the rain.  While I was wondering what in the world we were going to do to keep a horse from breaking a leg until we can get a load of dirt delivered, Jerry came up with a solution.  He used the tractor - I don't know what we would do without our little Kubota - to move an old iron pot and turn it upside down over the hole. 

Let's just graze around it.  That way we can sneak up on it.
Being prey animals, horses are very observant.  They notice new things right away.  As I groomed them in the barn aisle, they each in turn looked out at that pot.  Fay snorted. 

If you let a dog out in his yard, and he saw an iron pot that hadn't been there the day before, he would probably raise his leg and pee on it.  If he was concerned about it at all, he might stand a few feet away and bark at it. 

It's not moving.  Maybe it's harmless.
Horses take a different approach.  When we let them out of their stalls, they acted nonchalant - grazing near the pot.  Fay was the first to approach the pot while grazing.  Rocky and Tesoro were at the watering trough - discussing how to handle the situation, I suspect. 

Oh heck!  I don't think this is anything to worry about.
Eventually, all three of them decided it wasn't a horse-eating critter.  They checked it out by nudging and sniffing it.  Good thing it's heavy enough that they can't move it off the hole.

Actually, it's right tasty!
Rocky, being the pot-licker that he is, was the first to give it a lick.

So ---- we have a temporary fix for this problem.  But I have unanswered questions.  Why did this hole come back?  What happened to the dirt we put in it a year ago?  Will it come back again and again, no matter how many times we fill it with dirt?  Is this how sink holes start?  Oh, no!  Is it going to end up like the Bayou Corne sink hole that has caused people to evacuate their homes?  Somebody please slap me and remind me that this is a tiny hole!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Under a Buttermilk Sky

I was out in the pasture - on the tractor - early this morning to help Jerry with the routine manure-moving detail.  The temperature was bearable, and we worked under a perfect buttermilk sky.  I'm not sure what a buttermilk sky means weatherwise, but I like the atmosphere that it gives to all outdoors - and it reminds me of that old cowboy song called "Buttermilk Sky."

Bathing the horses was next on our agenda.  The fungal and/or bacterial skin infection that Tesoro developed a few weeks ago is cleared up now, but it took several baths in an iodine shampoo and regular treatment with an anti-fungal spray.  Summer is the worst season for the horses when it comes to skin problems.  They do a lot of sweating as they graze under the hot summer sun.  The salty sweat attracts all kinds of biting insects, and that makes existing skin problems worse.  The best prevention is frequent bathing and daily spraying with fly spray.

We've purchased a new washer and dryer - catapulting ourselves into the world of 21st century laundry.  These appliances are a far cry from the ones they replaced.  They're computerized and are, no doubt, smarter than I am.  I was most surprised by the washer's repertoire of sounds - falling water, pounding surf, airplane sounds (taking off and landing), and various groans and moans.  None of these sounds are loud.  In fact, these machines are remarkably quiet.  They are big - the size of small automobiles.  Ok, I'm exaggerating, but the dryer door definitely has the feel of a car door when it closes.  Will they clean the laundry better than the old appliances?  Maybe.  We'll see.  I can certainly wash and dry more clothes at a time in these big high-capacity machines.  That means I finish the laundry in about half the time - and that's a good thing!

Activity in my Addis post office box has increased lately. I've managed to find the time to send a few letters and do a little paper crafting.  I recently sent this summery watermelon card off to California.  In the last two weeks I've received letters from Texas, England, Australia, and India - and posts cards from Indiana, California, and New Mexico.  I like hearing about the daily lives of my pen pals.  No matter the geographical and cultural differences, we have a great deal in common - children and grandchildren, as well as homes, pets, and gardens to care for.
The twins are doing well, and their sister, Ellie, is adjusting to having them at her house.  I guess she's decided it's sort of like day-care at home.  Wallace and Arabella have started school up in north Louisiana.  Arabella texted me yesterday that she has ten teachers this year!  Was that a typo?  Can she possibly have ten teachers?  I'll have to text and ask for more information.  Texting with my grandchildren!  What would my mother and grandmother think of this new technology!

My current sewing projects are burp cloths for the new twins and crocheted doll clothes.  The tiny burp cloth on the top of the stack is for Ellie and her dolls.  My mornings and evenings are spent in the barn, but the blazing mid-day is a good time to be inside - sewing or reading or writing letters.

I've joined an online book discussion group, sponsored by the Trollope Society.  It's called "Take a Trollope on Holiday." Ha! The assignment is Anthony Trollope's Phineas Phinn - one of the Palliser novels.  Trollope is one of my favorite authors, and I read The Palliser series years ago.  But a good book is always worth re-reading.
It's true that August is the middle of high summer, but - along with the heat and humidity - it always brings hints of fall.  The angle of the sun is noticeably different.  The pecan tree in the pasture is shedding leaves.  It's always the last to put out new growth in the spring, but the first to send fall leaves raining down.  This morning as I walked to the back of the barn, I saw a large flock of birds along the bayou bank.  I startled them, and they all took flight at once.  I don't know what kind of birds they were, but their lift-off was a beautiful sight.  Migrating birds - another hint of fall.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Obama and Collectivism

As everyone who is not politically comatose knows by now, President Obama recently spoke to supporters in Roanoke, Virginia, and said in his speech to them, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that . . . if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own."

His opponents have protested and ridiculed his statements, but there is a sense in which Obama's statements contain some truth.  As John Donne said, "No man is an island."  None of us is born in isolation where we grow, mature, and succeed all alone.  We avail ourselves - to one degree or another - of the talents, wisdom, and resources of others.  

But that does not mean that our success is solely attributable to others.  If President Obama was not heralded by so many as a great intellect, I'd be tempted to say that he simply did not express himself very well - that he didn't say exactly what he meant.  Surely reason would dictate that anyone who builds a successful business deserves the lion's share of credit for that business.
But when a man who is widely purported to be intellectually astute says, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that," I suppose we must assume that he means what he says.  This statement, taken with previous statements he has made, reveal his collectivist mentality.   On several occasions he has expressed his belief in "collective salvation," the belief that spiritual salvation is achieved as a group, not as individuals - the belief that temporal success is achieved by the collective whole, not by individuals.
Some might argue that Christianity supports collectivism when it refers to believers as the "body of Christ." It's true that the New Testament honors the collective whole by calling it the "body of Christ," but an honest reader of the New Testament must acknowledge that this honoring of the whole is not at the expense of the individual.  The New Testament makes it clear that we are saved as individuals, not as a whole.  Your salvation in the spiritual sense does not depend on anyone else's salvation.  Your temporal success does not depend on the success of others.
Of all President Obama's beliefs, I find his belief in collectivism most disturbing.  I can think of nothing more dehumanizing than being lost in a sea of collectivism.  If we are not viewed as individuals - if we are considered to be only insignificant parts of a whole -  it becomes easy to rationalize any injustice to individuals by saying it's for the good of the collective whole.