Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Every evening, the roar of riding lawn mowers permeate the quiet twilight hours as homeowners attempt to conquer our unusual and high growth of weeds, grass and assorted bushes that have followed our abundant monsoon season here in southern Arizona.

There is a theory that people are superstitious (rabbits foot, lucky numbers, etc.) because there is so little in our lives that we actually can control, and this allows the illusion of being in charge. I make the same argument for individuals who sweat, strain and swear at their lawns as they attempt to conquer what they have encouraged to grow.
I take pride in our unkempt and overgrown eight acres, claiming that we didn't move out to the country to try to tame it (rather than admit that I also am far too lazy to even attempt it). Occasionally I will borrow a neighbor's mower to clean thirty-feet around the house for wild-fire safety, but that's it.

Since I am still pretending to be training Najale for some serious purpose, rather than simply admitting that he is a 900 lb. pet, I have been taking him out every evening to graze on the verdant scenery. We've gotten to the point where I can loop the lead rope over his back and leave him alone for quite some time while I continue on my personal project of rock-harvesting(to be explained another time).

Three evenings ago, I took the bold step in actually releasing Najale with nothing more than his halter on to browse on his own. Sally, the old mare, is the one in the past who has bolted for freedom and jumped the fence in pursuit of imaginary love, but she seems to be content with just eating, so I am keeping my fingers crossed (speaking of superstitions) that Najale won't be tempted to follow her bad example.

In fact, now the shoe seems to be on the other hoof. Sally has now become the difficult one to catch. I catch Najale, put the lead rope back on, and Sally normally follows close behind her baby. She now is saying, 'HELL, NO, WE WON'T GO" (anyone out there from the Vietnam era?) and continues to munch on grass.

Bribery worked well on my children when they were being raised, so I fill a bucket with Sally's favorite food - "Equine Senior Feed" (translation: little itty bitty granules of feed all sweetened with molasses and easier to digest), thinking I will tempt her to return to the corral every night.

It did work.... once.

Ufortunately, the next time I carelessly offer Najale a small handful of Sally's feed just so he doesn't feel left out (keeping a balanced relationship with your pets is important out here). OH NO - now the colt LOVES this stuff - he is the one trying to jam his muzzle into the bucket, cutting me off, and doing his little pretend-stud-rear-and-dance routine .

So what am I gonna do?

The obvious - get some feed for the colt, have him chase - er, follow me in the corral. And then Sally notices, hey, the kid is getting something before ME, and gallops over.

PROBLEM SOLVED!! That is, if you don't mind having two half-ton animals thundering down on you, intent upon what you are carrying.