165 miles from the airport to my friend's ranch. At least I had a fun, zippy car from the rental counter. That... didn't play the burned CDs I made. SOMEHOW I managed to survive without music. (It's a very pretty drive.)
Things I Recommend:
- Having a friend that you love as much as is possible
- Not speeding 10 miles outside of Tallahassee - HORNET'S NEST of troopers (I obeyed the law, btw)
- Rolling down the windows on a sunny day when you're driving through a pine forest
- The catfish platter on Highway 20 and 1585. Shoo-weee, seriously the best catfish I've ever had. (Don't forget the cocktail sauce!!)
- Sitting outside with a book
- Laying that book down and lying back on the grass to watch hawks circle overhead
- Laughing when you realize they are turkey vultures and they think you're dead
- Laughing harder when your friend lays down next to you and plays dead after twitching in fake death throes, hoping to lure the birds closer
- Rubbing a horse's nose
- Bracing yourself against the cross-ties when Doc has an itchy nose, because he'll just rub against you as hard as you can, and it hurts to fall down. Hahaha.
- Sitting under a clear, starry night with your best friend and her sarcastic and lovely husband around a huge bonfire
- Going stock still when a deer and her fawn creep out of the woods and walk past you, unafraid
- Checking the filter of a pool for baby turtles - then holding them in your hand for a few minutes before turning them loose in the forest (the tiniest little turtle I've ever seen!! Literally the size of a nickel.)
- The St. Marks Wildlife Refuge - bring a camera.
- Laughing so hard you snort cocktail sauce up your sinus
- The native plant nursery in north Tallahassee - it was a bit of a hike for them, but I was so envious to not be able to buy stuff for myself, and so happy to be able to put in some beds at their place
Things I Don't Recommend:
- snorting cocktail sauce up your nose - yes, it was funny, the joke, but OUCH.
- Riding on the back of a horse for three days with no saddle and no leg-stretching breaks (actually, I totally recommend doing this. Just... be prepared for a sore tushie, yipes)
- Getting only two hours of sleep before a big day of travel (yes, Laura, you were excited. But going to bed at 2am when you have to get up at 4am was ridonkulous)
- Having to fly into a city over 150 miles away and getting a rental car. And having to drive for over two and a half hours each way when you only got 2 hours of sleep
- Any Clear Channel radio station. I mean honestly. They are all crap.
- Living several states away from your best friend in the whole world. :(
Man, did I have a great time. Mapped out some gardens for their new place, admired their lovely new home and secluded ranch, laughed until my sides ached, and just had a great time. Huge lodgepole pine forests (with mixed deciduous trees) everywhere, so every road seems like it's in the middle of nowhere. Every turn-off from every road seems like it goes deep into the woods, which can be weird when you see some of the homes (oh my god, the chick with three teeth in a rundown double-wide with LITERALLY SCORES of telephone numbers and names written on her LEGS with a SHARPIE. I... We're still boggling over that one.)
I bought some Tupelo honey and Mayhaw jelly from some old man with a pickup truck and umbrella on the side of the road, and holy SMOKES is that honey good. He was a sweet old country bumpkin in beat-up overalls and a big grin. Then, when we got back to their place and I opened my bag, I saw there were all sorts of Pentecostal inserts he "gifted" me with. Aw, thanks for witnessing to me! Aaaaaaaaand here those go straight into the recycle bin. But the honey is good.
TONS of alligators on the side of the road. It was warming up, so they were coming out of hibernation and sunning themselves in the drainage ditches. O_O We had to skirt a few areas when we took the horses out to make sure we didn't come across them unawares. Ooooh, note on the new horse, Caroline. Good LORD is she a beauty. And so full of it, she can NOT stand still! Always prancing and dancing, and Doc is completely in love with her (awww!!) Chrissy had to take Caroline out on her own to wear her out a bit before we could take Doc (he's arthritic and doesn't need to try and keep up with her) and he would go crazy without her: bugling and crying out when he couldn't see her. And he's such a gentleman: when we'd walk them along the roadside on the way to the Nat'l Forest paths, he'd muscle his way to the roadside to block her from any "danger" on the roads. Heee!
I had fun riding him. It's been a long time since I'd gone bareback, and it was gratifying to know that it's like riding a bike: your muscles don't forget how to sit comfortably and hold on. (And man. If you want to work out your butt and thighs, ride a horse.) Doc has HUGE withers (the part where a saddle horn would be? The base of their neck by the "shoulder blades") so I rode him like a jockey for a large portion. (Oh my god, I am so tired, I can barely sit in this chair, and I'm not joking. but it's a good hurt, Clem.) And by that I mean I sat on him like this with my knees resting on his withers.
Can you tell I love horseback riding? I want a horse so badly... One day. Oh, and we laughed every time we used the word "bareback" because I'm a dirty, dirty girl. And her husband didn't get the joke, because he's an innocent. Hahahaha. Best moment of freaking him out (and let me tell you: it is HARD to get that man to stutter. The most sarcastic human on this EARTH. <3) was when we got him to read the fic I've been working on (incest - gah, I know.) and he got flushed and said, "is it wrong that I have a boner? It's wrong. What is WRONG with you two?" and then he went to clear brush outside and work through his confusion, heeeeeeee! Some editing notes I got from her on this story: "flesh out this three-way. What's the motivation behind it?" Oh, man. Ha.
Non-horse and BFF related topics: I leave you with some quotes from the book I was reading, "You Are Worthless." (It's an Onion Press book. As in the fake newspaper?)
- A true friend is a gift from God. Since God doesn't exist, guess what? Neither do true friends.
- When you laugh at work, you're really crying. Think about it.
- The special skills you possess that help you perform your job could easily be taught to a zoo-monkey.
- There are certain tried-and-true techniques you can use to take control of your life, get the job you want, get the pay you deserve, and have a very satisfying, successful career. You will never learn those techniques.
- Dogs are like big, dumb buddies who never leave. They're like Lenny from Of Mice And Men, only with deadly fangs and no bowel control.
Hooooooo. Still. Laughing.