Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9th - 7:00pm

Probably should have known it was going to be a long day when I start the morning off nearly getting attacked by a wild cat. No kidding. Were staying at Martin's uncles house in town and they have two cats that they rescued when they got hit by a car as babies. Last night one came out and I played with it for awhile. Super friendly and playful but you can definitely tell it really a wild animal. Much thicker and a little bigger than a house cat with a different shaped head and eyes. Well hes also black. And enjoys sleeping on the dark carpet in the dark hallway at 6:45am. And guess who stepped on the wild cat? He was not thrilled and Im suprised the whole house wasnt up with how loud he screamed at me. Wild cats don't like being stepped on anymore than house cats and are significantly more frightening when they're pissed. Breakfast was crackers with butter and a really yummy homemade quince jam and coffee.Never had or even heard of the fruit quince before but it was very yummy good.
So we ended up in the truck to the farm at 7:30 with the temp sitting at a lovely -1.5 degrees C. Once we got to the farm it was another couple mile drive to the 90 acre mare/foal field. We did get to see an amazing sunrise and a super rare forest cat which is somewhat related to the wild cat this morning. Once at the mare/foal field, we unhooked the trailer and set off across the pasture in the truck. I wanted to take pictures of the horses so somehow ended up riding in the bed of the truck while Martin showed off his driving skills hearding the 30+ mares and foals toward the pens. I was actually really impressed with his driving considering the land is flat but rough and hearding the horses requires going really fast, then slow, then fast, then backwards, then fast. While driving stick. After bunch of horses. But we got them all cornered in the first big pen we moved them into the smaller rounder pen. Then the smaller channel. Then a smaller one. Then through a chute. Then out of the chute to the original pen. We pushed everyone through the chute once to deworm the mares then backed the trailer up against the opening of the chute and started the foal harvesting! Pushed everyone back into the round pen then the foals and mares we wanted into the first channel pen. Then the second. Then started pulling out the moms back into the first channel pen. Ended up with 7 foals and 3 mares in the final smallest channel. Got one mare in the chute first to go on the trailer and held one in the back to bring up the rear and started sending them forward. Was pretty straight forward but seperating mares and foals is never easy and these foals are feral. Never been handled before. Ever. And besides smashing a finger in the gate and one if the foals thinking about jumping over me I hadn't died.
But since this had to be one of those days, we realized after they were all loaded that we had a flat on the trailer. And the ground we parked the trailer on had borrows from gopher like animals and was somewhat rapidly breaking up under the now loaded trailer. And any attempt at using a jack to push the trailer up to change the tire just pushed farther into the ground. And the truck wasn't strong enough to pull the loaded trailer out if the hole it had sunk into. Thank God for Martin's nephew Marcel. We tied our truck to his and were able to get out of the hole then sent him off the the flat tire to getting it patched and get a new one. We went ahead and started seperating the mares and foals we needed for tomorrow out of the group to speed up tomorrow. Back through the chute with the ones we needed to the right and the ones that could go back free to the left and out. About 4:00 David arrived with the little car and shortly there after Marcel with the fixed tire and a new spare. David took off with the horses toward home as soon as the tire was fixed. He's got to drive 6-7 hours back to Rancho Pampa then back here to take the second load home tomorrow. We came back to the ranch house to find a big fire and food after a cold, windy, long day. We'll be spending the night here and will finish the rest of the foal harvesting tomorrow. Though with the warm fire, good food and internet Im perfectly happy here!

Photos of the wild cat checking everything out last night (after he opened my door by himself). The sunrise this morning with Martin was taking pictures as well. Some of the babies and mares in the big pen. Martin and Rachel infront of fire #1. And Rachel infront of fire #2. All the pics I took of the round up from the bed of the truck are on Martin's camera but will post some eventually. Hoping some turned out good!

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