Wally needs some shade trees around the outside of his turnout paddock so Ron and I have spent the last couple of days planting trees on the hillside. Wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Ron and I have been digging holes for some trees on the hillside. Because our house (apparently) sits atop one solid slab of granite, this endeavor requires the use of a jackhammer. And a lot of sweat. Then, to prevent the newly planted trees from slip-sliding down the hillside we have to create terraces of large rocks.
How do we get the rocks? By foraging. It's not hard to find a lot of rocks in my neighborhood. They're just sunbathing along the bridle paths like lizards. I pick them up, toss them in the back of my truck, and transport them to Wally's hillside. Yesterday, in the midst of one of my hunting-and-gathering sessions, a sympathetic city worker pulled up in his official city truck and said, "I hate to see you working so hard. Just go up to the city park and take rocks from there."
According to him, excavation work to expand the equestrian park had revealed a mountain of granite boulders. A rock crushing company was stacking the clumps of granite before smooshing them into sand and gravel. "The rocks are ripe for the picking," the city guy told me.
So yesterday evening Ron and I drove our truck up to the city's equestrian park. While we picked our way through a moonscape of granite rocks, several hundred exhibitors were competing in a miniature horse show in the nearby covered arena. Ron and I were examining and evaluating rocks like kids in a pumpkin patch-- this one was too angular, that one was too lopsided-- while some judge in the booth above the grandstand was examining and evaluating miniature horses. We could hear the applause and whoops of elation when the ribbons were announced.
About the time that the fingertips of my riding gloves had worn through, thanks to handling one too many boulders, the liberty class began. Though Ron and I were on the backside of the pile of rocks, we could comprehend that one at a time a miniature horse was turned loose in the arena to prance, dance and run around while accompanied by music. It was kind of surreal: we were buried knee-deep in craggy, dusty granite and 100 yards from us some elfin equine was struttin' his stuff to Van Halen.
At one point Ron paused, listened to the music and then turned to me and asked, "What are they doing in there? Ice skating?"
The visual image of a wiry-maned miniature zipping around a frozen arena on ice skates almost made me drop my twenty-pound boulder.
I hope Wally appreciates the landscaping efforts. It's amazing the foolishness I endure for the sake of a horse.