|Blitzen's Photo by Kate Marsh|
My writer friend, Terry, wanted me to give an account of Blitzen's birth so her sister, Anne, who lives in Sacramento could hear about it. So here 'tis:
Easter Sunday afternoon (April 8, 2012) John and I spent at the senior center jamming with the Old Time Fiddlers, me playing the accordion, John singing. Our neighbors, Jane and Bill, were there, strumming on guitar and mandolin. So we stop by their house on the way home to have a beer or two. We get to singing and playing more and pretty soon it is getting late. So we go home to feed the critters and bring the horses in who are gazing on the open field across from our place. I feed the chickens and ducks and close up their pens. John goes out to find the horses which are no where to be seen. I go inside, don my nightgown and robe, figuring I'll take it easy the rest of the evening. I snuggle into my favorite reading chair with a good book but soon realize how dark it is, and John hasn't returned. I go outside and call him, scan the horizon. Now scanning the horizon where we are means you can see two miles sometime in good light. No John, no horses. So I get in the truck still in my nightgown and robe (it's now down around freezing) and drive up and down the road, calling his name and looking and looking. No John, no horses. I go back and call two of the neighbors who are about two miles away. They haven't seen them. I wonder what to do. Go back outside with my flashlight since it is totally dark now. I walk to the road and call again. This time I hear something that sounds like a human voice. I call John's name and I hear faintly, “I'm coming.”
Well, that was a relief. I call his name again and I hear, “I have a baby.” Then he says something about lights. I figure out that he can't see so well and Harriet has had her baby – out in the pasture, of course. I drive the truck out to face the direction he's coming, lights shining so he can see. I stand and watch and soon I see the outline of two of our horses (we have three, now four), then John, and he is carrying in a strap he devised, a little pinto colt. Harriet the mother is right behind him.
The photos at night that are posted in the previous blog show what the driveway looked like that night with the horses and the baby. The baby isn't even an hour old. In the confusion, Harriet accidentally kicked the baby (horses are very good at kicking at something they don't know what it is) about ten feet across the driveway. But Baby Blitzen only suffered a minor scrape on his right hind leg.
John's pretty exhausted since he carried the baby about a half a mile. He said when he found the horses, he was putting the halter on Yoda, the lead horse, and noticed Harriet laid down which was strange since they were going in to the barn. Then she stood up, and he saw the baby's head was coming. We finally knew that Harriet was, indeed, pregnant. He helped Harriet by pulling on the baby's legs when she contracted. But the baby came fast. John helped pull the birth sack from his face, Harriet licked him clean. The baby had booties on and they came off when he started walking. Then John had to get them back to the house. But he was disoriented because, of course, there are no high crime lights on our road, just ranch lights that dot the horizon in the distance for 360 degrees around. He couldn't tell exactly which light was our house. So shining the truck lights helped him find the way home. No wonder he was exhausted.
John named him Blitzen because he jumps up and down and dances around and Dancer was too common a name. Also the Donner und Blitzen River runs through Harney County so he has a Harney County name. And Terry said he has thunder and lightening colors.