Post 3: Slip on those boots

Now that the first week has passed I can feel myself settling into a routine, which makes this all seem more real.  At the begginning no propane meant no hot water and no stove to cook on.  2in x 4in x 2in blocks of reuse lumber make for reasonable cooking coals and an iron pan ideal for grilling veg.  An unidentified leak in the water line meant little water use, though without the propane there would only be cold shower in a box barely tall enough to fit my 6’2″ frame.  Of course the refrigerator also runs on propane, so I found myself walking aimlessly across the ranch in the dark for those midnight munchies to another cooler where I temporarily kept my rations.  And yes, in these conditions food becomes rations.

Waiting for the coals to build

Waiting for the coals to build

Now, the propane is full and with it I can now cook food instead of rations on a stove instead of coals.  And munchies now only require slipping out of my sleeping bag and across the room instead of across the ranch.  The water is to be fixed in the next couple days and at last I will be able to take a warm shower, as cramped as it may be.

Mornings before work I sit by the window in a coffee shoppe on Main St. in Half Moon Bay, a block from the feed store.  Here, I enjoy my Sumatra Blend at McCoffee as I slowly acquaint myself with the locals as they begin to recognize my face and my unhealthy consumption of caffine, at least two refills of the Sumatra.

With each visit I see a woman talking to the owner, who nods to her ramblings with a forced smile.  Later she rumages through the recycled newspapers with loose sense of intent.  Occasionally while at work or waiting for the bus I see her wondering around with recycled newsprint overfilling her large purse.

Yesterday, I completed my traing by demonstrating that I can manage to operate the forklift without toppling pallets of feed and hay.  There is not much to the training at the feed store other than learning the various feeds and their appropriate uses.  I must say, though, it seems with each rancher I discuss feed with I am given a differing opinion from the last.  Nan told me from the start that every horseman has an opinion on every equine topic…and everyone of them is right.  So, I’ve simply settled on spouting off alfalfa, oat, mollasses, etc portions to each question related to feed.  This feed comes in the form of pellets and is only intended to be a supplement to the traditional feed.  At the ranch most of the horses are content with grass hay in the morning and oat hay in the evening.  For the horses that need a little extra protein we toss in a half to full flake of alfalfa.

For the first week my feet were constantly damp and I found myself changing socks throughout the day.  My hiking shoes are not exactly ideal for this line of work and yesterday I purchased a pair of boots and my feet are now dry.  It feels a bit strange to walk around with boots on my feet, especially with the extra 2″ it adds to my height, while at the same time it is comforting.  When I put on my boots this morning it became part of my routine, and with each crunching step on the gravel I feel more at home on the ranch.

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