About 3 weeks ago, I got a call from my dear next door neighbor. She was careful to qualify information she wanted to give me, emphasizing that whatever Sherod and I decided in no way affected her or her husband. But there was a friend of theirs who was needing to move his two horses from where he had been keeping them and was wondering if we would have any interest in talking to him about the use of our pastures. I met him and his wife, we talked, we walked around and looked at how to make this all work and finally shook hands on it. Today, Gus, a Blue Roan (named after the Duval character in Lonesome Dove) and Scout, a Pinto named after one of the horses in Lone Ranger, moved in. I was just out to see them. When I got to the barn they were at the distant end of the pasture but hoofed it on over to see me. I had nothing to offer but came back to the house and got a couple of carrots to take to them. I have to confess my hand shook a little as I offered up my gifts–them’s big teeth in those mouths and them’s big creatures. But they took their carrots very delicately and then we stood and looked at each other for a while, I took some pictures and said good night.
A lot of other things have happened this week, including how on Wednesday, I went out to skim the pool right as dawn was breaking and found a little tortoise swimming around in it. I scooped her out and sent her on her way, glad I’d been there in time to help her out because it is hard for a little animal to get out of that pool.
This morning I went to the Okra Festival in Burkeville. I went with some friends and we got there very early so not a whole lot was cranked up. But there was pickled Okra to be bought and a Hot Damn Jelly Co Peach Pulla Chile Jam to try, and an amazing small house full of graffiti and folk art. We also stopped at the bait shop down by the railroad crossing. Neighbors of mine have just bought it, a young Air Force family trying to start a small local business. Today they were selling pulled pork sandwiches, chips and a soda for $4.99. I was introduced to some other members of the town, and ran into two just lovely older ladies who are members of St Paul’s, Lowndesboro.
I think it was around this time last year, in Sweden, that I said home for me was wherever I could go to church and light a candle for my mom. I was partly right. This summer, I have learned that home also has something to do with running into people you know almost every time you go to the store. But even more, this is what I know now about home: home is the place where you can make space for dogs when they are sick, and one more cat than you’d planned to have. And two horses (the goats will come later, as will the donkey). And you stand in the middle of all those creatures, and the thick air in the growing darkness of dusk and you are overwhelmed with the knowledge that you will keep them as safe as you can and they will be your companions and friends no matter how dark the night.
Tomorrow, Sherod begins the journey home to me and all our critters.