Duck Soup Labor Day weekend

  • Our wet weather continues in NW Georgia as our county and the county north of us have gotten ten inches of rain in twelve hours. And there’s more to come. I’m glad we live on a hill, though I expect one of our roads into town is flooded. So much for my plan to pick up a few groceries today. (My wife ordered me not to leave the house!)
  • The nearby horse rescue farm (Sunkissed Acres) north of us has experienced a lot of flooding. Their access to the barn has been cut off. The images on their Facebook page are sad and disturbing. A four-foot-high fence is completely underwater. Today’s volunteers have been turned away for their own safety. If you’re not already using the “Smile” feature on Amazon to send donations to a charity for each book you purchase, Sunkissed Acres can use your help.
  • This is a good weekend for that cauldron of chili I made yesterday and a stack of cool books to read. Carly Schabowski, the author of the bittersweet novel The Rainbow, which I just finished, has an interesting new WWII novel out, The Note. I’m tempted to put it on my reading list. The publisher’s description starts out this way: “Auschwitz, 1942. Adeline and Jozef cling to each other as they are directed off the train and pulled apart by Nazi guards at the gates of Auschwitz. Stripped of their belongings, their arms are inked with prison numbers. In the death camp, their days are numbered––will they ever see each other again?”
  • As for the current war, Oliver Bullough, in “Beyond the fog of war: books to help us understand the invasion of Ukraine,” (The Guardian) has a few ideas “from Ukrainian history to Putin’s kleptocracy and Gogol’s stories.” He writes, “with Russian forces pushing deep into Ukraine, bombarding Kharkiv, Kyiv and other cities, and an unprecedented wave of western sanctions pushing the rouble down to an all-time low, it is hard for any of us to tear our eyes away from the news. But the currents of history that led up to this crisis are deep and complex, and understood in profoundly different ways in Moscow and Kyiv.”
  • If it’s dry where you live, I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend experiencing high-quality outdoor activities that don’t include soggy picnics or lightning-charred steaks on the grill. If it’s not dry, have fun reading and watching old movies on TV. (Yesterday, my wife and I stumbled into a “Starwars” marathon somewhere out there on DISH and now don’t know what planet we’re living on–if it’s Tatooine, things ought to be dryer outside than they are.)



That Little Horse They Call ‘Miracle’

While horses have played important roles in my novels “The Sun Singer” and “Garden of Heaven: an Odyssey,” I haven’t ridden a horse in 30 years. Nonetheless, within the infinite pastures of my memory, I recall riding bareback across a snowy field on a cold morning, sitting like a proverbial sack of potatoes on an old roan named “Flame” in the sunshine on a high Alberta mountain trail, and fording a wide Montana river by the light of a bright moon.

These days, I might find a stationary carousel horse to be a riding challenge, proving, I think, that my practical horsemanship skills are limited. Yet, even from my limited perspective, I’m quite sure that there’s a special hell for those who abuse horses and a special heaven for those who save them.

Miracle: “Well Broke Under Saddle”

In February, a friend whose farm stands across the road from my father-in-law’s farm here in Georgia, drove out to look at an 8-10-month-old filly he saw advertised as well broke under saddle. The horse he found had been so badly injured, starved and otherwise abused, that he convinced the seller to let him haul it away and at least give it a decent burial.

The top photo, taken February 3, shows the horse lying down because it couldn’t stand or walk. The lower photo shows Miracle a month later. Our friend cared for her until she could travel again, and then she was moved to the nearby Sunkissed Acres in Summerville, Georgia for a rehabilitation.

According to the Sunkissed Acres blog of February 3rd, “She has no legs, she has no chest, she has no hope. She is literally run into the ground. I can almost pick the little thing up by myself. She is eating and drinking well, when we stand her up, she can walk around but when she gets tired, she lies down again and cant get herself up.” (Click on the photo for the entire post from SunKissed.)

Miracle’s New Home

On March 14th, the angels at Sunkissed Acres finished their work. The starved and damaged horse that couldn’t stand up was now able to run. Miracle now runs and eats well in the heaven of a horse retirement farm named Paradigm.

On the day the filly arrived, the Paradigm Farms blog said, “Today Miracle had an ending and a beginning. Her time at Sunkissed Acres came to an end today. Lori, the founder of Sunkissed Acres Rescue, did an amazing job of rehabilitating Miracle and getting her healthy and strong enough to move on to her new life. When one chapter ends a new one begins, and today was the beginning of Miracle’s new life with us.”

The U.S. Equine Rescue League defines neglect “as failure to provide sustenance and care sufficient to maintain an equine’s good health. This includes food, water, shelter, veterinary and farrier care.” Because of the compassion of a farmer named David, the loving rehabilitation by a rescuer named Lori and the long-term care being provided by Jason, the little horse they still call Miracle no longer fits this definition.

This is one story with a happy ending. With our donations and with the good work of the folks at farms such as Sunkissed Acres, the number of prospective miracles is infinite.

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