Onward, Bugsy



A few weeks ago one of our equine residents quietly slipped away.

Not in an end-of-life kind of way. No, Bugsy stepped aboard a horse trailer and moved onward.

Or rather, “backward” — back to his old home. His real home.


Hadley, age 3; Bugsy, 20-something

The kids always thought that Bugsy was our pony, when actually, he was a longterm loan. When the kids outgrew him, or out-paced his capabilities, the plan was to return him to his owner. And the time is right; his owner has a grandchild who’s nearly lead-line ready.

And that’s Bugsy’s area of expertise: lead-line pony; living, breathing teddy bear; babysitter of diaper-clad, horse-crazy toddlers. His talents shouldn’t be wasted or shelved. A little kid should be crawling under his belly or hugging his head off.

So a few weeks ago, Bugsy left as quietly as when he arrived, 3 1/2 years ago.

Hadley was tearful when I announced Bugsy’s impending departure. But she recovered quickly.

She’s moved onward, too.


Christmas Day: Intermission Tradition


Celebrating Christmas with 3 young kids, Martin and I are in the tradition-building phase of the holiday. Annual practices and habits reappear and nestle themselves in and around December 25. And one in particular has staked a permanent claim.

The forced march.

Actually, we’d never call it that. It’s “intermission” — a cease fire in the rapid destruction of Santa haul beneath the tree. We rug-up the kids and take a long walk.

The origins of intermission date back to 2010, when we discovered Cayden and Hadley early Christmas morning, methodically and indiscriminately tearing through every present and package. We extracted them from wads of crumpled paper and tape, and pushed them out the door with baby Brynn. They were tearful and remorseful, but the walk bucked them up.



The following Christmas, we versed our early-risers on the “open only the gifts in your stocking” rule, but set out for a late-morning walk. We ditched Brynn’s stroller and opted for a combo of Bugsy/wagon transport to crest the top of the neighbor’s hill.





The next year, we officially announced “intermission” halfway through present-opening. That was last Christmas. Bugsy carted two kids to the yak-cow property, to check out a new lamb.

This year, a few days ago, I decided that Bugsy deserved a lighter load. Just Brynn. I hoisted the older kids aboard Jazz — who was probably baffled by the octopus effect of four bareback legs. A vast departure from his racetrack days. But the journey’s purpose was the same: take a break from new-toy acquisition and appreciate the day.


Double duty on the way up….



…just one passenger for the return leg.


I have no doubt that intermission will continue, maybe with bikes (if the kids ever learn to ride them) or perhaps with a fleet of horses.

Either way, it’s an official Christmas tradition… and perhaps the impetus of another tradition:

The post-intermission nap.



Scenes from the Farm: Blacksmith


Another blurry, imperfect iPhone picture. But there’s so much going on here.

There’s the slack, dangling lead rope.

And the pony — wearing a blase, vaguely perturbed expression.

There’s the farrier, doubled over in a back-aching hunch to trim a diminutive hoof.

And finally Brynn, whose body language seems to say, “Come on, when are you gonna be done?”

Friday morning in the barn…