Hot humid summer days are barely tolerable for a temperate climate sissy pants like me. I am melting even as I get up in the morning, and right now our house is two degrees warmer (93 degrees) than the out of doors. So distractions from the heat are more than welcome.
For me today it started as I drove the ten miles of country roads to get to work in town, running a bit late to an important meeting. I was listening to the news on the car radio when I puzzled over why the radio station would be playing cat meows over the news. I turned off the radio, and realized the meows didn’t go away.
As soon as I was able, I pulled into a parking lot and surveyed my van from back to front, looking under seats, opened the back, scratched my head. Then the meowing started again—under the hood. I struggled with the latch, lifted up the hood and a distressed bundle of kitten fur hurtled out at me, clinging all four little greasy paws to my shirt. Unscathed except for greasy feet, this little two month old kitten had survived a 50 mile per hour ride for 20 minutes, including several turns and stops. He immediately crawled up to my shoulder, settled in by my ear, and began to purr. I contemplated showing up at a meeting with a kitten and grease marks all over me, vs. heading back home with my newly portable neck warmer. I opted to call in with the excuse “my cat hitchhiked to work with me this morning and is thumbing for a ride back home” and headed back down the road to take him back to the barn where he belongs, now with the new name “Harley” because he clearly desires the open road.
At that point, my meeting in town was already completed without me so I went out to check fence line as the hot wire seemed to be shorting out somewhere in the pasture as the mares had decided that the wire interfered with their hearts’ desire and had broken through, so it clearly was not hot enough to discourage them. It has been a very hot few days with persistent drying breezes this afternoon so as I approached the fence line, I heard numerous snaps and pops that I interpreted as hot wire shorting out in the dry grass and weeds, creating a fire hazard and certainly potentially dangerous with the winds whipping up. I walked closer and was really puzzled to hear snaps all up and down the fence, but could not see sparks. I approached more closely and heard a little “snap” and a tiny seed pod burst open in front of my eyes, dropping its contents very effectively. It was the dried common vetch seed pods that were snapping and popping, not hot wire shorting out. They were literally exploding all up and down the fenceline in a reproductive symphony of seed release. I put the broken wire back to together, plugged it in and all was well, at least until the next Haflinger decides the adjacent pasture looks better.
Returning to the barn, I saw our stallion pawing furiously at his round black rubber water tub in his paddock, splashing water everywhere and creating quite a spectacle. I went up to him to refill the tub with the hose and he continued to paw and splash in the tub and actually went down on his knees in the tub and then tried to lower one shoulder into it and his neck and face. By this time he had created quite a mud puddle of the thick dust around the tub and his splashing and thrashing was causing mud to fly everywhere, including all over me, my hair, covering his mane and tail and belly and legs. I took the hose and sprayed the cold water over him and he leaned closer to me, begging me to spray him everywhere, turning around so I could do his other side, facing me so I could spray his face. I drenched him completely, and he was one happy horsie and I was laughing my head off at what he had done to me. Both drenched, muddy, dirty, but happy and much much cooler. What a sight we were. This is the Haflinger that hesitates sometimes at water hazards on the cross country courses because he wants to splash and play in it.
This was a hot day on the farm indeed but with plenty else to occupy my mind. It is never dull here.
Remember to bang on your car hood before you get in, keep the hotwire hot, and share a mud bath with your Haflinger. But especially, listen to the vetch and don’t let it fool you that catastrophe is about to happen. The vetch is simply exploding in noisy reproductive ecstasy. It doesn’t get much better than that.