Then I Tried to Relax Again


Chloe, relaxing.

I had a fairly busy work morning yesterday. I’d been fairly busy the day before, and the day before that. I decided I was going to take it easy. It was mid-afternoon. I’d managed to come up with boxes and had gotten my wool packed ready to mail to the fiber company. SarahGrace came by to visit her lil heifer, my visiting Buttercup. I sat down in a rocking chair and wasn’t sure I ever wanted to get up.

It was warm, with puffy white clouds against a blue sky. I’d checked on the cherries in the morning. They’re growing just fine. I noticed how beautiful the front porch gardens looked.

The flower gardens here are amazing. There’s always something blooming. Stuff keeps coming up, and it all blooms in ordered succession.

Earlier, I’d visited the baby and Fanta. The nursing is on a normal routine now. No more worries.

I’d promised Ross pepperoni lasagna for dinner, and I already had a loaf of bread rising. Morgan wasn’t home from school yet, and Ross had gone into town, so I had plenty of time for a little bit of relaxing before leisurely completing the meal preparations.

The phone rang. It was my go-to neighbor Jim who lives up the road past where it turns to dirt.

I said, “You’re not calling me to tell me there’s horse poop in your driveway, are you?”

Ha ha. I am so amusing. My horse, OF COURSE, is right where he is supposed to be in the back barn yard. I can even see him.

Jim: “Somebody called and told me there are two donkeys in my yard.”


I jumped in my Explorer and drove over to Jim’s. Nobody was home. You know, except Jack and Poky. They were relaxing on the bank above Jim’s driveway.

Jack: “Poky, darling, don’t you just LOVE it here?”

I’d brought a bucket of feed, but nobody cared. They were on vacation and they weren’t budging. I drove back home, got a rope, went back. My main plan of attack anytime I need to move Jack and Poky anywhere is to get Poky. Jack will follow Poky. To the ends of the Earth and throughout other galaxies. But there was no getting Poky. At least not by myself. And she started hovering around at the edge of the woods, nervous about my rope.

I thought about driving back to the house and waiting for Morgan. The school bus would be along in about 15 minutes. But I’d have to leave Jack and Poky to get to Morgan. If Poky headed for the hills, Jack would follow. Then I’d never find them.

I sat down on the grass next to Jack. He munched away on my bucket of feed. I casually slipped the rope around his neck and he still didn’t notice. Then I picked up the bucket and said, “Let’s go!”

Of course, I was leaving my Explorer behind. I’d have to walk back for it. I dragged Jack onward, feigning confidence while I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder at Poky. She was following! Meanwhile, two things were weighing heavily on my mind. What about Buttercup? The lil heifer, who was just visited by her people mama an hour ago, was in the same upper pasture from which Jack and Poky had just escaped.


The school bus was coming. Just how much was that going to freak out Jack?

The school bus turns around where the road turns to dirt just past my farm. I slowed Jack down a bit. Poky followed behind about 30 yards. I could hear the bus. I stopped. Jack stopped and turned, started kicking. I danced around in the road, one shoe flying off, trying to stay out of his hooves, then dancing around on the gravel trying to get my shoe back. Without getting kicked.

I could hear the bus beep beep beep as it turned, then the noise fading out as the bus headed back up the road. I started Jack off again at a fast clip. I kept looking back to check on Poky. It was the longest walk ever. I was afraid to stop moving, afraid Jack would decide to act more like a donkey and dig his heels in. I had to do a steady pull as it was, holding on tightly, keeping the rope short. There’s no doubt about it–Jack is stronger than me if he wants to be. It was all me and the rope and Jack. There was no room in my head for anything else.

Meanwhile, inside the house, Morgan changed her clothes then looked out her window.


You’d think she’d have rushed out to help me.

I got to the gate, waited for Poky to catch up while Jack snorted around, irritated. At this point, I was pretty amazed that he’d let me walk him down the road. From now on, Jack is my main man. I need the donkeys to go soemwhere? GET JACK. That Poky, she’s a pistol.

By this time, Morgan did show up at the gate and we got the donkeys on the right side of it and shut them in. Then I said the words any 16-year-old who is in drivers ed but has never gotten to touch the wheel of their mother’s car would like to hear: “Go get my car.”

My judgment was slightly impaired by the tiredness.

I headed off to find Buttercup, discovering her as far back in the upper pasture as she could be, innocently taking a nap under a tree, and Morgan drove the quarter-mile from the neighbor’s house with my car without calamity.

I put everyone in the barn yard (including Buttercup), baked my bread, somehow miraculously still made a pan of lasagna, and called the fencing man to come back to look at the horse field AND the upper pasture.

And went to bed. Still feeling as if I was pulling Jack down the road. Like my head was still there.

I’m sure relaxation is over-rated. But I’d sure like to try it sometime!


  1. rurification says:

    We had sheep for a while. They got out a lot. Even with good fencing. Once one of our neighbors said, ‘If you’ve got animals, they’re gonna get out.’ So so true. Once I locked them in the barn and then turned around in time to see one jump out of a window 4 feet up. Apparently, he really wanted out.

  2. Murphala says:

    You can’t make it obvious that you’re attempting to relax. Then they”ll know. Bring a broom or something and half-heartedly give the porch a few swipes. Then cautiously perch on the edge of the chair and slide back by degrees. Hang onto the broom. Look busy. Then I think the little fence gremlins and the critters will leave you alone long enough to take a breath. :happyflower:

  3. GA_in_GA says:

    Obviously, relaxing is not allowed! And that fencing man needs to get there soon!!!

  4. SarahGrace says:

    Oh no! I wonder if they were out when I was there? I didn’t see them when I went hunting for Buttercup, but I didn’t see Buttercup until she came running at me. I just assumed they were snoozing in the high grass somewhere. Glad they are safe and sound! Was Buttercup easy to get to the barnyard?

  5. BuckeyeGirl says:

    You know, you could start a lawn trimming, fertilizing business with various members of your staff on duty for your neighborhood!! $xx.xx for the team of Jack and Poky, $xx.xx for a team of goats, $xx.xx for Patriot being on the job. Just think of the possibilities! Hmmm, well, ok, there may be a few problems with that. Just a thought :pinkbunny: 8)

  6. Old Geezer says:

    I didn’t watch all those cowboy movies and read all those cowboy “first person” paperbacks for nothing as a child. Yes, the fences need to be kept up, but the one word that comes to mind from that reading and viewing is: “hobbles”.

    Of course you gotta catch ’em to hobble ’em.

  7. Glenda says:

    It sound like once that fence is really fixed, you may be able to relax more….or as much as anyone living on a farm is allowed.

  8. Rainn says:

    Whenever I think my life is too ho hum and boring……..I read your blog and say ok……..if this is the other extreme……..ummmmm…….ok……. Enjoy your day Suzanne!!–Rain

  9. VAfarmer says:

    Such is the life of a farmer! I never really feel like I will have time to relax, but I do always have glitches whenever I think I have some time set aside to do something that needs done.

    For example: Finally, some time to baby-proof the small goat pasture! Halfway there, I discover my donkey has nearly poked his eye out! 2 hours and 2 hundred dollars later, BlackJack has been sedated, medicated, and cleaned up, and I’m left holding a bottle of pills he’s NEVER going to take without a fuss. And now, it’s time to bottlefeed the babies, and milk the mamas. No time for baby-proofing the fence today!

    (this is an actual event that occurred last week at my farm)

    What is it they say about best-laid plans? I think that even includes plans to relax!

    The farm, it conspires against you (and mine, against me), you know!

  10. Michelle B says:

    Maybe a new idea for your weekenders on the farm : Fencing and Fermentation? Building fences and wine making…I think they go together perfectly :shimmy:

  11. Pat says:

    If you ever had a completely peaceful day, you wouldn’t know what to do with yourself. And besides, you might run out of great stories for us. I live the farm life vicariously through you! :snoopy:

  12. Pat says:

    #12 is Pat in Eastern NC. See, your day exhausted ME so much that I couldn’t remember to tell you who I am. Great story; much stress for you. The farmer (you) KNOWS how to maneuver those critters!!! Hope today is a good one.
    Pat in Eastern NC

  13. JeannieB says:

    I love your life, thanks for sharing!!

  14. Debbie in PA says:

    LOL! Funny how life often doesn’t go the way we would like, isn’t it. My own life is the same way, but not nearly so colorful and amusing!

    Jack and Poky need to take a “stay-cation” next time they are feeling wanderlust!

  15. MousE says:

    LOL, what Murphala said! Oh dear…. Pepperoni lasagna sounds fabulous, by the way.

    Every time I think with horror about growing old in the city, I say to myself, gotta get a farm. gotta get a farm…. sure gives drive and purpose to a life! 😀

  16. JerseyMom says:

    Oh boy! Never a dull moment, right? Glad to hear you avoided the flying hooves and that apparently so long as you can catch one donkey you can expect the other to follow!! Hope you fencing is all set by the time the cows come home :cowsleep:

  17. rhubarbrose says:

    What a great story Suzanne! You should write a book lol – oh wait you have done! Relaxing must be overrated….boy you sure could use a day off. Glad everyone is safe and sound.

  18. rhubarbrose says:

    Oh and I forgot – what an absolutely sweet and healthy little goat you have there!

  19. whaledancer says:

    It sounds like you’re trying to relax while running a 24-hour daycare center for a couple of dozen two-year-olds. You can’t turn your back for a minute, can you?

    Maybe one day Chloe will be like Lassie and coming running to the farmhouse barking “Woof, woof! The donkeys are out, the donkeys are out!” And you’ll say (just like Timmy’s mom), “What is it, girl?” and she’ll lead you to the problem. Of course, if she were Lassie, she’d probably round up the livestock and bring them home for you, too.

    Do you think my conception of farm life is based too much on TV?

  20. Sheryl says:

    Suzanne, I’m dyin’ laughin’ here at some of the responses-made my day! I don’t think there’s ever gonna be an uneventful day on your farm!

    I was enjoying a stroll in my vege garden this evening, when I noticed aphageddon in my black-eye peas-Lord have mercy aphids were caked all over the stems and flowers! I equate aphids with lice-makes me feel like my skin is crawling by the time I treat all the plants! :/

  21. CarrieJ says:

    That is some good stuff! Read it to my husband and he said “is Jack the one with the crooked wiener?”. He’s hooked.

  22. tmavraides says:

    Holy crap!!!!!!! You do live a wild life. A reality show perhaps? I love it, sorry for your trouble though. Still really entertaining. I know it was a chore though. I really am sorry.

  23. jamitysmom says:

    Suzanne, I can just imagine you dancing in the road trying to avoid those little hoofs! I’m glad you got them home – funny story. And Sheryl, I know exactly what you mean about aphids – although I never thought of calling it aphageddon that’s exactly what’s happened to a poor house plant I have – yikes! Thankfully the plant is in an unused room isolated from the rest of the houseplants. Ewwwww….. I hate those little buggers! :bugeyed:

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