Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wendy taking a break


I'm at home for the next few weeks, spending some time with my family and theoretically waiting for the weather to cool off. The thing is it's a perfect riding temperature right now-which is unusual for August-and it's hard to not just get up early in the morning, pack up and head out again. Horse travel gets into your blood and it's difficult to stop once you and your horse establish a rhythm. Jolie looks at me expectantly these days, and though I'm riding her hard everyday to keep her in shape, I think she might be missing the road as well.

Jolie had two behavior changes on this trip: She used to hate fly spray and would get wildly alarmed when I sprayed her legs or any part of her body really. But one day she was attacked by flies so badly-we were in dairy country and cows seem to generate zillions of the face fly variety-that she suddenly understood why I was spraying her-it was stunning to watch as she seemed to say to herself "O.K. now I get it" and then she suddenly relaxed and stood still. And so now she seems to breathe a sigh of relief when I appear with my spray bottle.

The other behavior was a surprise and also lucky. I had let her loose in a field one morning, something spooked her and she took off running toward the road. There was nothing I could do but call her and, amazingly, she turned around and came galloping back to me. This is a horse that never came when called- unless food was involved... Even though we have encountered nine million of them, large rocks still make her suspicious. Crouching lions, I suppose. I'm not sure if she'll ever get over that one.

My trip from Danville took me up through the beautiful Northeast Kingdom hill farms and forests north to the St. Johnsbury/Lyndonville area. Then we were on to Sheffield, Barton, Albany, Lowell, Westfield, Montgomery, Bakersfield, E. Fairfield and Fletcher- where we stopped. I encountered wonderful people and stayed on some extraordinary farms-big ones for the East- 800 acres, 650 acres-high green pastures, pine trees and mountain ridges. The Ridges are controversial in the Kingdom because there's a plan to put several large industrial wind farms on some of them. On first hearing, wind sounds benign enough, but these projects are slated to place miles of 450' towers with red lights on top along the most beautiful mountains in the state. They'll be visible for miles in all directions. When I learned that changing 5 lightbulbs in every home would save what they would generate in a year, and that the only benefits to the locals are revenues that don't amount to much, comparatively, and they don't get the benefits of the energy.....well you can imagine where I've landed on the issue. It seems to me that Industrial wind should be located in windy industrial places...not in beautiful rural regions...

to be continued

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