Sunday, March 6, 2011

Smooth Stones

Today's word of the day is lapidary (LAP-uh-dair-ee noun - 1: a cutter, polisher, or engraver of precious stones usually other than diamonds ; 2: the art of cutting gems). When I was a child we used to stop in to visit a store that sold polished stones on our way to visit my great grandparents in rural Manitoba. I don't recall that the stones were precious, at least they weren't emeralds and rubies, but the lapidary had polished these little rocks into smooth pretty stones that attracted my young eye. They used to also sell these small rock tumblers and rough stones so that you could polish your own. Even as an adult I have always loved little rocks - I still can't pass an eye catching stone without stopping to pick it up and hold it and wonder at its beauty (polished or not!). I wonder if this shop fueled my interest or perhaps my interest was already there and was just tickled into consciousness by the smoothness of those stones. The thing I remember most about this place though wasn't the rocks at all, but instead it is the two huge brindle Great Danes that looked like tigers lying in the shade of the tree. They were impressive, especially to a dog crazy little girl!

Today's pleasures are: going through the foals photo albums and remembering the births (see below). We spent the afternoon gorging on meat dip (not on the diet) at my brother Graham and his wife Carole's place. It was Erik's 7th birthday celebration - it seems like yesterday that he was born. Carm and Graham have big spirited debates, but they never even come close to fisticuffs so it's all good. It was fun to have a visit over at their place but Carole's meat dip is just way too good for words. Yum.


Today's 31 Day Challenge is to talk about a favorite memory.

The first memory that came into my mind when I read this challenge was the birthing of the foals. Sure my wedding is a good memory too, hand-feeding little chicks was amazing, but having a foal born into your lap - well that's just an experience not to be matched (okay okay Carm - the wedding was tops!).

Our first foal was Uvaer, out of Dora. It was early April when it seemed she would foal so I had arranged some straw bales in the big stall where both Dora and I could be with lots of room to spare. I added a camping mattress, sleeping bag, bottle of water and a snack. My camp out spot was ready. The first night there was no baby, the second night, no baby. The third night though... I had headed into the house at 9:30 to get ready for the night, when I got back and settled into my bed I could see that Dora was uncomfortable and she started to pace. I got up to check and yes, she was warm to the touch. Looks like the time was drawing near. After she lay down and started to push I quickly called Carm to come out. I placed myself behind her and before I knew it the front feet were presented. Soon after that the nose, then the shoulders and there he was, I had a wet, newborn foal in my lap. I carefully cleared his nasal passages and then we lay quietly to give Dora a chance to catch her breath. Soon she got up breaking the umbilical cord. The next step was to imprint Uvaer, which exposes him to various stimulus, like plastic bags, until he no longer reacts - you can read about it here. Then he was on his feet. A miracle.

Some mares are very protective about their foals and get aggressive when any human gets near, but all of our mares treated me like a partner and seemed to help me do the things that I needed to do. They had enough trust in me that they were comfortable with letting others near their foals as well, although we were careful to never block her access to the baby. We were there for 7 of the 9 births and each one was as much a miracle as the other.