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First week down

May 15, 2010

I’ve been at the ranch for just over a week now and opening the ranch is just as I remember it. It’s the same old raking, tank scrubbing, fencing, tick checking, cabin cleaning, cow sorting, people meeting, horse getting week that it’s always been. I have that familiar ache in my shoulders and barbed wire scratches on my arm. I feel right; exactly as I ought to. Sleeping in my ranch bed seemed to negate the months I spent in Ft. Collins. Surely that was a dream, right? It feels like I never really left this place. Muscle memory kicked in and it feels as though I’ve been raking stalls and hauling horses all along.

It will be hard when I finally leave this place. I know I have my own horizons to chase and can’t spend my life on the coat tails of someone else’s achieved dream, but still. This will be a season full of lasts and that’s a rough pill to swallow. It’s entirely possible that this breakfast will be the last meal I eat up at the main house. It’s a sad, scary thought. Although I’ll be in good company. One of the other people eating with me is here for his tenth summer (in some fashion or another). He gets it.

It isn’t all repeat though. There are plenty of new things. Like new barn kittens! The obvious is the new staff. With only four returnees, the bulk of the staff will be now. I’m liking them so far. They’ve been game for gardening, impromptu jam sessions, bike riding, and hot spring going. They certainly have a different dynamic than my two past years, and it’ll be interesting to see how the summer will shape up. I wonder who my friends will be. First impressions are rarely the same as last impressions and it’s usually a surprise who you end up hanging out with. There’s just a handful of us here now, with six on the way over the weekend. It’s always a bittersweet time when the staff start to flood in. Bitter because you lose the cozy feeling of just a few of you on the ranch. Sweet because more people = more friends. There’s also new horses, however thanks to another new factor we haven’t been able to ride many of them. There’s been an excessive amount of snow here. A few overnight inches and then sporadic rain and sleet throughout the days. I know the moisture is necessary, but it’s turning our dry lot into a swamp. Also new is that my horse actually loaded onto a trailer. This is huge for him. It took a few minutes for him to contemplate and a couple rope twirls as encouragement, but he got on. It’s never taken less than thirty minutes to get him loaded so this is a massive accomplishment. He’s now enjoying some firm ground and spring green grass in a pasture a few miles from here. I’m crossing my fingers that he doesn’t run himself skinny out there and that getting back on the trailer to come back to the ranch is as hassle free. Otherwise I have a long trail ride in my future.

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