We had a pretty big storm last night. A California-style storm, which is strong winds and heavy rain. I had seen the weather reports that said the storm would last until early morning, so naturally I had to go out in the middle of it to get Chinese food. Mostly because of the soup. I always need a healthy dose of wor-won-ton soup to weather an all-nighter of bad weather.
Later, after the restaurant, loaded with the next day’s breakfast of leftover won tons and chow fun, I slogged it back home from the restaurant, down dark, curvy country roads, slammed by the wind, windshield wipers on crack, through small floods and around downed tree limbs and over a few downed skunks.
As soon as I get home, I begin the evening workout:
1. Round up the horses and get them into the barn.
2. First, put on muck boots and oiler. But before that, put on 3 pairs of socks and sweatpants over leggings. All of this clothes-putting-on is enough to get me into a good sweat.
3. Don’t let the dogs out before you get the horses into the barn. Or, if you forget and let the dogs out first, make some popcorn before you head out to round up the horses. You will enjoy the popcorn while you are watching the rodeo.
4. After the rodeoing has ceased, catch the horses one by one and lead them through the storm into the barn. For horses that want to be caught, this is easy. Just fill a bucket with some grain, or rocks that sound like grain when you shake the bucket, shake the bucket and a couple of the lazier horses will walk right up to you. Throw a rope around their neck before they figure out you tricked them with rocks. For the other horses, who think letting the Human catch them means certain death, or worse, having to go to work, you will need more ingenuity and courage: Just take a leisurely stroll around the farm, meandering just close enough to the horses so they can see you, and then start walking away in the opposite direction. Every few moments stoop over and pretend to pick up something off the ground. The horses will think you have found something good to eat, and they will start following you. Just keep doing this until you make your way into the barn, then close them inside.
5. Make sure you put hay inside the barn before you close the horses in. Or you will have several pissed off horses confined in a small space in the middle of a storm. This is where the courage part comes in. You don’t want this.
6. If you didn’t let the dogs out before, let them out now. Then spend another 20 minutes slogging around the farm in the storm trying to entice Lulu the bloodhound away from her overpowering olfactory focus on dead rodents, manure and whatever other yummy smells she is chasing at top speed. Lily the Golden Retriever is much easier. She will just glue herself to your thigh no matter what direction or speed it needs to travel to catch up with Lulu. She knows that there will be a cookie in the vicinity of that thigh eventually.
7. Dogs inside, now herd the cats indoors. This requires that you create the desire for them to come inside in spite of the dogs being there. To create this desire, I open a few cans of tuna and place them strategically throughout the kitchen, and then open my kitchen door. Voila. Cats.
8. Finally, to cool down, a few elbow lifts with a five-pound weight in one hand and a one-liter bottle of Bailey’s in the other. Then relax and enjoy the endolphins.