Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Man vs. Beast

Horses are beautiful creatures

But, make no mistake about it - behind those beautiful, majestic, magnificent, regal eyes lie...

 the cunning and calculating brains that are working 24/7 to get them to....

the other side of the fence where the "grass is always greener"!  Yes, my friends - the saying is coined for a reason.  It doesn't matter where you place a horse; they will always think the next pasture has better grass and therefore, will find the tiniest opening or weak spot and weasel their way through it.

A horse will always outsmart a human when it comes to fences and getting to grass.  You can see the wheels a turning right now in Sunny's head as he figures out his next move.  Kind of like a game of chess. We fix, they break, we fix, they break.......our move, their move.  Sometimes, we go several months without a "jail break" and we say "Checkmate" to them - but it never, let me repeat myself, never lasts.  In the past fifteen years of horse ownership, it is a constant battle, but what hobby doesn't require some TLC  ~ right?  

Fence repair is particularly challenging when temperatures are climbing above 100 degrees, there is no rain and we are in a dust bowl!  The other morning, we got a 6:00 A.M. call from our neighbor...all seven horses were out and enjoying the grass in the fields down the road!  Talk about a "wake-up call"!  We threw on our clothes, grabbed some feed and were off to round up the runaways.  

Once the critters were caught, a close inspection uncovered not only this cute little dragon fly sitting on the fence; ( I love insects on barbed wire fences - they make the greatest photos) 

but also some downed posts, and fence lines that needed quite a bit of that "TLC"
 that comes with horse ownership.  

Usually, this is a family affair, but since the younger two are at camp right now (see "Heartstrings"), it fell upon Elizabeth's shoulders to help us move towards our long term goal of Horse CONTAINMENT &

As with any project, the beginning was fun, easy, interesting....she was learning from the fencing master.  Gary has fenced hundreds of acres since he was a boy.  Until several years ago, we did it the old fashioned way, with a post hole digger and this other gizmo that I don't know the name of - it looks like a metal hat that fits over the fence post once you have it in the ground, and you can raise it up and down to help pound the post down.  Even though it is scary, it goes 1000 times faster when you have Gary's "boy toy" to push them into the ground!   

Personally, I thought she looked really cute while she fixed fences - in that big red hat, leather gloves - it is a good look for her.  Now, don't get me wrong; this is really hard work - it is 100 plus degrees and
barbed wire is really hard to handle, hence the name "barbed wire",

The project has now become very HOT and NOT FUN.  My cameral has become  VERY ANNOYING!.  Just an hour ago it was all SMILES but now, I know better then to even ask ~ I am just snapping very quietly.   Reminder: Fencing is hard work but someone has to capture the moment! 

You have to hold this fence post up.....

While Gary gets in his huge piece of machinery  - call your small, male children!
And, are you ready for this? Myself or Liz holds the fence post, while he raises the big bucket over (our head) and the post and slowly lowers it down to "push" the post into the ground.  It is really scary because you have to hold it until you feel there is enough  contact between the post and machine , and then run like hell  heck!  He then pushes the post in the ground, and....I know you are sitting on the edge of your chair, waiting, dying of anticipation to know what happens next!

We nail the barbed wire to the fence post and tighten the wire with this tool that you can see here.  It has a very unique name....it is called a fencing tool. I like easy names like that as I am the person who has to "run and fetch the tools" when Gary needs them so when they are simply named, my job 
becomes very easy.  Marriages can survive for 23 years when tools have simple names. When I have to distinguish between the many types of wrenches...that is where it all begins to go down-hill!

Gary had to clear some underbrush away from some parts of the fence that hadn't seen the light of day in probably five years......so during that time we entertained ourselves.

I found Elizabeth in the Suburban - listening to her tunes, feeling her cold air and and from the look on her face, not at all happy about her "secret" location being discovered. 
 I think she was afraid her "break" was over!  

Photographs of this break

were not appreciated!

While Gary cleared

I went in search of fun

 and was very productive during my break!  I headed to the barn with my trusty, little sidekick (my camera) and started snapping some photos.  Wow ~ our barn is a treasure-trove of photography opportunities.

When you add in all my cute little animals  - it is a wonder any work gets done around here at all.

Here is Nelle - remember :: she is named after Ellen backwards? 

She travels whenever and wherever she pleases, as she is just a tad larger then a very large dog! Three feet tall and three feet long and cute as a button.  There is not a fence in this world that is going to hold her so she just doesn't count in this fencing game of man vs beast.

This is Libby ~ You will never, ever get a beautiful photo of her because she is like "pig pen" in the cartoon of Charlie Brown ~ always a complete mess! If there is a puddle, she will roll in it and then just to top it off, come an shake all over you.  Maisy - our other Golden Retriever, is a beauty queen and stays just about as far away from dirt as possible; the two couldn't be more opposite!  Maisy was unavailable for this photography session because she is locked away from any male dogs that might come a callin - no more   "puppies" for us for a while - we need a break, and so does she! 

Even though she is a mess, she sure is cute and she is the apple of my Ellen's eye!

This is a wagon wheel that is hanging from the rafters in the barn :: the  thought of why there is a wagon wheel hanging in our barn has never crossed my mind,
 but now that I have this fabulous photo of it,
the story behind it needs to be revealed :: stay tuned :: going to find it out!

A shot of our horse eating - from the loft - and yes, it was HOT up there but 
worth it to get these photos. Remember the photo of the car thermometer at 97 degrees?  Well, that was when the vehicle was parked in the shade! The temperature in the loft of that barn at about 2:00 PM was oh, about...110 degrees; and I am not embellishing; not one little bit, I promise!

Here is Scout - in the barn wondering just why her crazy owner is hanging from the rafters , with rivulets of sweat pouring off of her, positioned in crazy angles, taking pictures of wagon wheels and hay - and looking like it is really fun ~ well it is; compared to fencing!

Hey!  I mean Hay!

Love this shot of the tractor - a touch of editing and it really came out nicely.
This tractor is probably thirty plus years old and has seen a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
 Like a Timex - it takes a lickin and keeps on tickin!

Uh-Oh ~ Gary is about finished clearing the fence line

Here comes Elizabeth :: reporting back to fencing duty!

Sadly, my fun in the barn came to an end when Gary finished clearing, and we both had to get back to work, but it was a nice break.  I am proud to report that the horses have been 
contained for the past week....


  1. Hi! So happy to find a blog about/from La. I was raised in Lafayette (live in Atlanta now). Love all the great pictures! Your animals and daughter are sooo cute! Count me as a regular reader! Lucky you to have a fix-it husband AND a daughter who helps out, as well! Hope your check is not mated.

  2. Thank you - me too but I know we will be out there fixing before long....maybe it will be in a few months when the temps cool off! Yes, we are lucky to have teens that help! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. "Marriages can survive for 23 years when tools have simple names."

    Might need to stitch that on a pillow...lol!

    Layne, your photographs are so amazing. Seriously, these might be your best yet. I am going to email you for a few jpeg files, if you don't mind! My favorites are the fencing tool, the wagon wheel, and the tractor. I also love the ones of Liz in the red hat with the faded color backgrounds. Gorgeous. So impressed!

    The boys are DYING over the boytoy- I think they would freak out if they saw it in action!

    Oh, and the serious of pictures from happily fencing to irritated are hysterical! I always tell Tim that she shouldn't make ugly faces at me when I have the camera in hand, because I don't delete them!

  4. Yes - I should stitch that on a pillow...it is so true. I can't tell you how often I run to the tool box and am trying so hard to find the tool of choice for Gary, only to be fussed at for bringing this "this" instead of the "that"!

    Thanks for the nice comments ~ again!

    While the girls are at camp and I have had some down time, I am working hard to learn how to edit. Send me your pics and I will be glad to practice on them. I would love to work on my cute nephews and nieces! Next week, I am childless as Elizabeth is going to North Carolina with Katie , so please, email away! I need practice!

    Well, I love your comments - you are always very insightful. Maybe those boys will get to ride the boy toy when they come in September!

  5. PS ~ Julie...do you know the story of the wagon wheel....inquiring minds want to know!

  6. I don't! Wish I did! I was wondering myself... makes me miss MeMe.

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