Monday June 16, 2008

Happy Father’s Day, a day late!    For me, Father’s Day seems to mark the beginning of the heart of summer.  And like most summer weekends, this one was busy.  Saturday a bunch of us went to Churchill Downs for Steven Foster day.  Sylvia was complaining that all her volunteers left to go to the races.  Thankfully, on Saturday  Beth and Tim didn’t desert the farm!

My go-to-the-races group arranged to meet at the farm on Saturday morning, prior to leaving for Louisville.  While I was waiting, Ruhlmann trotted over for a greeting, even without a carrot bucket in sight.  Maybe he was hoping for ginger snap cookies—his favorite treats.  He really seems to love his new shoes, as he is obviously very comfortable in them.  I walked over to see Flying Pidgeon, and Joey the barn cat jumped up on the fence post to say hello.  Joey isn’t too popular with the farm’s bird population, though.  As he sat on the fence post, four barn swallows started to dive-bomb us.   I had to leave—those birds flew close enough to ruffle my hair.  Joey didn’t care, but I sure did!

There is a house being built behind the paddocks housing Pops and Ring and next to Williamstown.  The construction crew was working on Saturday and all three horses were standing close to the new house watching the workers with great interest.  While I think that Williamstown watches because the activity interests him, I’m completely sure Pops and Ring are wondering if this ultimately could be a new source of treats for them!

My favorite eight year old, Ruth Ann’s and Mercer’s grandson Hughie, is here for his summer visit.  We all love it when he visits.  Hughie is a budding horseman, too.  Last fall he joined us on a trip to Lane’s End farm, where he had some bonding time with Kingmambo.  A picture is stuck in my mind of Hughie in his Old Friends sweatshirt and cowboy boots standing outside the stall, reading his Lane’s End stallion book, while Kingmambo gives Hugh the once-over!

As is usual when he is here visiting, Hughie couldn’t wait to help Kent with farm chores.  They did some tractor stuff, some golf cart riding, some general work, and ended with a nice piece of cake and an Ale 8 One.  (For those of you who aren’t familiar, Ale 8 is the Kentucky version of ginger ale.  It’s fully loaded with caffeine and sugar—very tasty!)   

We had another day of great tours filled with interesting people.  There was a van tour at 10:30, and a large group for the 1 pm tour.  About two dozen Harley riders biked down from Cincinnati to visit the farm.  It was quite a sight to see and hear those really nice Harleys roll up the driveway.   Not that the horses cared one bit.  They all understand noise and people pretty well. 

We also had a couple from Atlanta, three women from Ohio, a couple from Michigan, and a gentleman from northern Kentucky.  The lady from Michigan told me she was afraid of horses, but by the time we got to Sunshine she was handing out carrots like a pro.  I had told her she would be patting horses by the end of the tour—it’s completely impossible to resist them.  There is something about the horses that makes everyone want to touch them, give them a carrot, look in their eyes and just breathe them in.  One of the Harley ladies told me that if they could bottle the smell of horse, it would be a best-selling perfume.   I’m not too sure of that, but I do know that once the smell of horse gets in your heart, you never forget it.

We are really settling into summer.  The horses are lazily grazing, swishing flies and napping.  Farm work gets to be a hot and sweaty process, best done as early in the day as possible.  But the tours go on every day at 10, 1 and 3.  We look forward to your visit, so come see us when you can!

Val

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