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4 October 2003

The Lady Laura was not happy.

They had come for her regular pedicure and she wanted none of it. Each time someone took hold of her foot, she yanked it away and stamped it impatiently. She was not in a mood for all this foolishness.

Laura is a Clydesdale and Shane, the farrier was here at the farm today to clean and trim the horses' hooves. He had already done three of the miniature horses. Now it was Laura's turn and she was definitely not willing to cooperate.

It was "farm day." We didn't do much but hang around the place and it was an absolutely wonderful day.

I was up at 5, watching the mist slowly evaporate as the morning sun rose over the hilltops. Then I helped Claire feed the sheep again. I love that they put the milk in beer bottles.

We had our respective jobs to do. I settled in at the computer to start working on the web page for Settlers Run, the others went off to do...whatever they were going to do.

In time, Claire returned, looking for Peggy's camera. She explained that the farrier was having problems with Laura and Peggy wanted the camera. I gave her Peggy's camera, grabbed my own, and the two of us headed off across the daisy-covered field, the three lambs following along behind us like puppy dogs.

It was quite impressive watching Shane work, maneuvering that huge horse around to get all of her feet cleaned and trimmed. By comparison, when it came time for Silver (a retired racehorse) to have his feet trimmed, he was quite docile, lifted his feet obediently and actually seemed to doze off while Shane worked. (We had visions of Laura snorting back in the stall..."Wimp!" we're sure she was muttering.)

Eventually I decided I needed to return to the web page, so left the others in the field. Shane finished his work and Peggy went off to chop wood for an hour. ("I'm in my element here, you know," she glowed, when I found her, axe in hand, later.) Then we all sat down for lunch (soup guaranteed to help you fart, we were promised. Just what none of us needed!)

In the afternoon, we took the dogs down by the river. But this was no mere stroll down a country path to the water. First there was a sheep herding lesson. Zack, the old dog, has taken Indy, the baby, under her wing and it was amazing watching her actually teach Indy how to herd sheep. Following Penny's shouted commands, Zack got the sheep to race this way and that way, or just around in circles, while Indy joined in, sometimes tripping over her own feet, sometimes making mistakes, but when a few sheep cut out from the herd, little Indy ran after them and brought them back. It was a beautiful demonstration.

The river--the same one that had flooded the road we drove down yesterday--had washed lots of debris over a bridge, and was still quite high. Zack jumped in, chasing sticks (sometimes watching branches floating downstream--the doggie version of "Pooh sticks"). Indy, who has not yet perfected swimming, wore herself out, trying to jump in, falling in, dog-paddling, coming out again, and chasing Zack. It kept us amused for a very long time. The puppy was one exhausted dog by the time we got home, having leaped over tall grass, flowers, in and out of water, and chased both Zack and the sheep for over an hour.

Penny and Claire both took turns using Peggy's camera and got some wonderful photos. Penny's were particularly brilliant and I told her that some of her "artsy fartsy" photos reminded me of a Monet painting. She was quite taken with herself, and rightfully so.

On the way home, we stopped to speak with the horses, and Penny, the horse, blew in my ear.

We ended our afternoon romp in our cottage, where Peggy served chocolates from the Margaret River Chocolate factory, along with cups of coffee, and then we all changed for our big night on the town.

We went into Mount Barker to the "bottom pub," (as opposed to the "top pub"--there is no "middle pub" because the town isn't big enough) where we had t-bone steaks with chips and salad. There's something about sitting in a pub at 8 p.m. at night watching first Stuart Little, and then Winnie the Pooh on the big screen. Our big night of partying. I think there were all of six other people in the place, two of whom were under the age of 5, little girls who sat there clutching their blankies and holding hands, mesmirized by the movies.

It was a little before 9 when we finally left the pub and headed for home, our big night on the town finally over. I simply had to take a photo of "downtown Mount Barker on a busy Saturday night."

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