Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ben: The Horror! Part Two -- It Gets WORSE

When last we saw our mighty Thoroughbred, he was warily watching the newest members of the Alprilla Farm family – two barely-month-old bull calves, destined to be oxen laboring (but not too hard) in the fields and woodlots of the farm. Their pen was what humans would regard as a safe distance away, but to Ben’s troubled mind, not far enough; no; a few dozen miles would be much more reasonable.

Alas! Rather than their departure, what the horrified horse witnessed on Saturday morning was just the opposite.

They moved in next door to him.

Yup, Cedar and Clay have acquired more elaborate digs, a much larger pen and the shed formerly home to the pigs raised at the farm this summer – and it’s all right beside Ben’s run-in! To wit (scaring the hapless giant witless):

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You can just see Clay lying down, below the distant greenhouse, waiting for Noah and Cedar to get back from a training session. The foreground here is Ben’s first field, and from the angle below you can see just how far Ben thinks it safe to stay away from Monsterland.

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Even at that distance you can see how on guard Ben is. The white boys aren’t as upset, although they’re not too happy about it either. Periodically the three of them will gather to stare at the Brown Menace.

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Cholla (far right) isn’t as gobsmacked as the other two, and at times will wander off to gobble what’s left of the grass, while Ben and Counterpoint keep watch.

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Ben tries to stay as close as possible to the white boys – safety in numbers and all that – but sometimes it just gets to be too much and he has to leave them to their fate and retreat.

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Noah has been working on the calves’ basic training, mostly halter leading, obeying simple commands, and so forth. On Saturday he took Cedar out for a long field walk/training session. Clay wasn’t too thrilled at being separated from his best buddy, and softly lowed now and then, no doubt adding to the horror for the horses.

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But then... What was that? Yes! There in the distance, across the little pond, there came Noah and the Lost One returning!

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Clay rejoiced!

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And so it was that Noah brought Cedar back, having hashed out who was boss at some length during their expedition. The two calves rejoiced at being reunited – and yes, I tried to photograph their antics but they were too busy cavorting to pose for me. After a few minutes and several failed attempts to capture the wily Clay, Noah managed to get the halter on the frisky Beast of Burden In Training number two, and they set off for his lesson.

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Clay got over his silliness and settled down to lead politely.

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Noah fetched some grain from the barn for his tired first student.

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And then he and Clay set out for the fields.

And how did the horses react to all this? What did they think of all this to-ing and fro-ing by the Dread Monster Calves of Doom?

Nothing good, you can be sure! Cholla and Counterpoint watched with dismay.

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Counterpoint, mindful of his duties as Herd King, rushed in closer to monitor the developing crisis.

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Ben stayed back. No way was he going to come any farther in than the gate between his fields!

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I couldn’t lure him any closer, not even with cookies, and this is a horse who’ll do almost anything for a cookie.

Noah and Clay disappeared into the far hayfields. Cedar settled down for a lonely nap. Ben and the white boys watched... watched... finally relaxed enough to drift back into their fields and go back to grazing.

Though now and again, Herd King Counterpoint would take up his watchman duties and check Monsterland for stirrings of Doom.

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The End – for now....

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