Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hairy Teeth and Tree Swallows

I know it's spring when Mr. Smith's winter coat comes off in sheets as I brush him. Some of the hair always sticks to my teeth. (I can't close my mouth all the way because I can't breathe through my nose thanks to allergies. Buck teeth don't help either.) Soon after the horses begin shedding, the first swallows swoop and chatter over our pasture. Today three Tree Swallows arrived for the first time. And I had hairy teeth. It's spring!

The arrival of Tree Swallows set up a round of panic since I didn't yet have my gourd swallow nests up on their bamboo poles. I left off brushing Mr. Smith and hurried to erect three gourd nests. The swallows watched but did not swoop around checking them out as they will later, when they're ready to select a home.

With gourds in place, I could relax and ride. Johnny on Polly and I on Mr. Smith headed up the same logging road I rode on "Bad Horse Day". Mr. Smith was better with Polly for company. He didn't gallop up the mountain leaping logs. I guess he realized Polly, at 31, was not capable of such foolishness. I'm not sure we went up the same exact way I had walked down to find the trail (as chronicled in "Valentine's Day Hike"), but we ended up in the right place. The gravel road at the top was soft enough for Mr. Smith's tender feet so we stayed on the road to get home instead of crashing through the bushes. But during the week there is logging traffic on that road so we'll have to explore alternate woodland routes if we want to ride a circle instead of retracing our steps.

After the ride, I put up more bamboo poles with gourd nests attached so I'll be ready when the nesting swallows return. I interweave the ever-useful bamboo poles into the woven wire fence next to fence posts to hold the poles with their gourds up high. Some of the fence posts are broken off, thanks to leaning llamas, so Johnny replaced those this afternoon while I took photos of blooming flowers, gourd nests, and Johnny working in spring-like weather. No photos of swallows or hairy teeth, though.

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