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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Exhausting efforts of a woman

While this is about me, it is about SO MUCH MORE.

Up by 5 so I can get my last few things in place, get Pirates' Lair work done, put 100 gallons of water in my container and get out of here by 7 am.    Life is always good on paper but not so good with taking off a spray nozzle with arthritic hands.   Finally having accomplished my task the water was flowing over by the time I got done with the billing and shipping for the day.  I got out of the house and to the barn by 8 (I think).

I gathered 5 days of supplements and the horses got off the mountain by 9 and realized (while loading) I had no shavings for the ride other than my emergency supply I didn't want to use.  So we headed over to the nearest farm store that was barely on our way but the only one NOT 8 miles a wrong direction.

Life is good when you are not clocking into someone elses schedule, what ever decision you make only effects you; and the ripple effect is your own doing.  Life is also good when you step up into a decent size truck as it gives you more visibility than the tiny little cars and thus can give you a sense of power as well.  It was a horrible day to leave,  rain and fog so thick you couldn't see very far ahead most of the time.  We were lucky the rain stopped just before I got to Knoxville Tennessee.

I always get gas as I go through Knoxville, especially when driving the truck, this time I made the mistake of stopping at the wrong TA station. It was a right hand exit in the middle of town, I pulled up and there were no gas pumps for cars  (at all) I go inside and ask where the car diesel pumps are and they have none.  Oh you have to go to the other place, they said!  It's just across the highway! ? Highway? or Interstate? across the bridge!So it is across both, in essence I was going to make a complete figure 8 the only problem was it was a 5 lane highway I had to get back out on and no red light to assist with traffic control.  I sat there trying to get out and finally had to go right and find a place to turn around.  I got to the other truck stop on the other side of the interstate, pulled in and there were two eighteen wheelers dumping fuel.  1. not only do you NEVER fill up a diesel with freshly dumped fuel, as it only churns up all the debre in the storage tank; but these trucks were blocking the pull through lanes  2. I couldn't back up with people behind me with my long bed and a little trailer in tow.  So I had to find yet another place to stop and TRY to get diesel.  What is the big deal?  Well for some reason there are times I get diesel and the card stops at $100.00 for security reasons.  So I'd rather not take that chance while driving if I don't have to, so I just fill up more frequently when I drive the truck!   I finally found another gas station a few miles down the interstate there was only ONE pump that had diesel and there was a car in front of it... just sitting there... too far away to be getting anything from the pumps but clearly in the only pump I could use.  I had to get out open the doors for the horses and we sat and waited for a long time.  Finally a couple came out and got out of the way! I got my 20 gallons and we were on our way to Nashville.  Passing my first choice exit with a wonderful TA exit 369 where I got out my wax pen and wrote the exit number on the top left corner of my windshield so I never go through this again.  Finally on our way again, sun shining and horses with ice in their water buckets, hay and most of the windows open.

It was such a pleasant drive from Knoxville, and like normal there is a specific spot that for some reason even being an hour out of Nashville I feel like I am close enough to call it home. So...  I decided I would stop by and see my mother in law once I got to Nashville and mark that one off my list.  I arrived in one piece, back into her drive and realized; my emergency break would not hold my rig it was so heavy.  So I put a twist into the park and took my time to say hi to both she and the pudgy dog, that is so fat she can't wag her tail!   I took Briley Parkway over to I-24 and got off at the Joelton exit.  I made it to the old driveway that appeared barely wide enough for my trailer, but we crawled at the slowest pace pulling into my cousins back lot as planned over two weeks ago when I called and got permission.   I got in about 3:30 their local time, and let us not forget... I had gained an hour!

Joelton is rolling hill layout, and it proved to be difficult to find a spot where I would not be worried to leave the trailer if I couldn't make it up the hill around the curve and down into the property to my little spot.  I backed up close to the drive around the back of the pond and settled the horses to eat and drink as I walked the rest of the drive and scouted out a place to put our camp site.

The road was remarkably in great shape, layered in smooth multicolored creek gravel as I walked up the old drive, noticing all the changes that had occurred.  It was in much worse shape when I lived on the property almost 20 years ago.  Amazed at the conditions,excited that my truck and trailer may in fact make it up the old lane; it was an easy walk.  I enjoyed passing Uncle Vernon's (Dicky's now) old gate, Uncle Charles' (now Aunt Wilda's and Tony's) and finally came into Paw Paws gate.  As I reached for the chain, smooth in my hand,  I saw the old nail it fastened onto and a small rush ran though my being, a small crack in the hard exterior I had developed over time having not realized its existence until now.  It was the same old nail that had been there all my life and likely many before me, the chain glistened in the light from oil residue, not synthetic, not motor, not bearing grease, but smooth and shiny from the many hands of generations past and present that used and still use it almost daily.

Yes lots had changed; there was more trash, there was more rubbish to be hauled off for metal values, there were things laying around I didn't want to guess about.  There was a half ass electric fence I had to detach and throw out of the way, but I progressed down the hill making a mental note of the terrain.  A second gate area no longer with a hanging gate but instead thrown aside barbed wire strand now tangled in a fence row.

Very little real grass or viable fodder in the place, mostly weeds, but it would do for a free nights stay the next few days.  The ground was dry and appeared to be solid enough for the truck and trailer.  

As I started back up the hill having decided it was perfect for my entire rig,  I got to notice more about the old place and was happy to be on family land.  As I came into view of the only houses at the beginning of the drive,  Suzanne was there on her four wheeler coming off her property and into the old farm lane, so I waved! with no change in pace she came and got me.  Cigarette in mouth, steering, as she made it up the little rise and at me.  I got into her four wheeler without even asking.  Oh do you mind if I ride ? I said... having sat down and let out a big sigh..before realizing it. No I've been looking for you she said.  Our conversation was all indirect of my safety.  But she clearly wanted and offered for me to stay near the pond if she could persuade me to do so.  I was welcome to use her pool, fill up my water container, or really it was anything I needed just call.  I didn't have her number so I called her house phone as she called it out to me and our contact information was complete for both of our records.

With directions on how to get out of her lot, I slowly pulled down the lane and onto my little plot of land.  I circled and circled and finally found the perfect little spot that would allow some shade in the heat of the day and much shade from then on the evening.  I got the horses out leaving their halters on them but leads thrown over their backs, I started to pull the t-stands out of the bed of the truck.  I didn't even get the first one out and I could see the horses running out of site and into the tree line, down a path that was not there in my day.  The fear of the unknown (how long was that path, and where did it lead too) startled me.  In the crazy heat I walked as fast as I could without breaking into a jog, because if I got my hands on them with a fast heart rate they would never trust me to come back to the camp site.  I finally got sight of them, did my silly stop... slow down and look at me sound; and with all the luck in the world Sweet Pea stopped dead in her tracks and turned to look at me.  I got them and quickly put a bell on Navarre so I could hear them moving around or hear him at night if need be.

With the horses within ear shot, I got my first four fence post out and propped up against the truck.  I look the first one down a little slope but pretty close to a newly erected fence that had not existed in my day and now cut me off from the rest of my property.  Puzzling to say the least, but ONE strand was strung as having electricity so I figured I would tap into it instead of getting out my portable solar charger.   I had the post in place, got the ramming device and figured it would take only 7 or 8 pounds to get the thing all the way in.  Not today, Not going to happen! I figured I was hitting a rock, I tried another little spot, I could not believe it.  Putting these things in normally takes me about 60 second to ram it in 6 or 7 times but it took me over Thirty minutes to get ONE t type fence post into the ground and not even the full bib was in the ground. Oh my!  I had to stop.  I quickly had to come up with another plan, as I had originally planned on adding some post each day and extending their pen more and more, once again ... life always looks better on paper! As I started in on another post I realized with all my ramming, slamming, and puffing from physical and mental exhaustion;  there was no bell sound.

As I looked around again,  this time I saw the white blur way up the pasture being curious about the cattle.  So curious Navarre started challenging them as I walked towards him.  I could not believe my eyes, he was acting like a cow pony darting from side to side wanting to engage the cattle.  But they were getting further and further away as I was walked, huffing and puffing from everything I was trying to do.   They were well over into Tony's place before I could get my hands on them, as it was Sweet Pea once again who came back to me.

Lauren called she was going to Rivergate and would be back later.  Later I still wasn't finished with my post, Yes I had one side done with t stands, electric ribbon tape, but the other seems hours away from a final acceptance. There was so much that had to be completed to allow me rest, but she sent me a text and had food for me.  Like me... Lauren hates electricity and thus could not make it into the pastures, so I rushed to pad and bridal Navarre, helmet for me and I took off for the high gate; riding Navarre and Sweet Pea freely in tow like a new born foal.  it was Asian take-out!   What a treat, an unexpected treat!  It has been so long sense anyone has thought of me so sweetly and taken care of me for no reason with nothing expected in return I was shocked by the gesture.    Food in left hand, riding back down the hill to our little spot, Sweet Pea decides not to follow us, but yells, calls out, and then rushed at us as if fearful of her life; having been left  alone on unfamiliar high ground.  I had to put the food aside, finish my task at hand.   Having tied Navarre to the left side of the trailer (which was theoretically IN the pen I was building) Sweet Pea stayed closer.  I finished my fence, hung my tarp and threw down a sleeping foam and finally sat down for a perfect dinner I had never expected to have.  It was a perfect way to start the camping trip.

I took one little picture and posted it...

It was a perfect view, a perfect evening, and nothing but reading and resting planned for the remainder of the night.   

My phone buzzed about 10:30.  
It said... you awake? 
I typed ... barely
     Your practically in my back yard. Mind if J.L and I come over?
I typed... no come on over! 
Having said to family... come on over;  another small crack in my hard exterior ran to the core of my being, realizing how I limit myself, my social activities by going to sleep by 7 or 8 pm each night. So my second and third visitor showed up, phone light in tow and we stood and chatted.  My cousin being shocked I would rough it on the ground.  No tent etc...   This entire conversation was funny to me, because I was camping NOT GLAMPING!!!!!   We told his daughter stories about his having a horse but me being the only one to ride it, and how allergic he is to horses.  I enjoyed our little exchange of past days, growing up next to each other; my mother in the middle and a sibling on each side, his father (my Uncle) was past our house on the dead end road named after our family.  Having mentioned the allergy, when as we said our goodbyes I didn't hug him!  I watched as the lights disappeared down the path I didn't know; and heard them stop on their return trip and repair the gate they had knocked of its hinge on their in trip.   He texted me thank you... as soon as he got home.  As his allergies had attacked him on his mile back to the house and he had to rush to get medication for it as soon as he hit the door.

I didn't sleep that first night, the awkwardness of silence being deafening with crickets, owls, coyotes, cattle and horses all making their own noise and the thick heavy ring of Navarre's weighty brass bell on his halter.   I got up several times and tied Navarre, worried he was eating too much too quickly. I honestly think he has no FULL light in his brain.  He never stops eating! But Sweet Pea will take in the scenery, stop eating and rest.  Up and down with Navarre,  it was a cool night, about 58 degrees, long sleeve top, breathable rain coat,and a blanket kept me warm on the ground.  The next day was going to be busy... such a full schedule I had to refuse one appointment.