After my Florida road trip, I landed back in Aiken, SC on January 11th and settled into a studio apartment at my aunt and uncle’s barn.
From January 17th to the 21st I was on barn and dog sitting duty while Kevin, barn manager, got whisked away to the Florida Keys for a “surprise” birthday trip. I had great time with the animals. It was quite the cast of characters.
Scat Cat, aka Scatters. Coolest barn cat ever.
During the month of January, I was introduced to some folks that work in Hitchcock Woods. Hitchcock Woods is the gem of Aiken. It’s one of the largest urban forests in the US, 2100 forested acres, criss crossed with miles and miles of trails. It’s one of the reasons Aiken is such a popular destination for horse lovers because it doesn’t get much better than a ride in Hitchcock Woods.
I was lucky enough to get invited up to see a prescribed burn in the woods, a process I had been dying to see up close.
It was a little unnerving being up so close to the burn at times. The fire flares up for a bit and the sound and smell and heat took me a bit by surprise. But it was all under control and it was impressive watching the team work the burn.
Back at the barn, I was really enjoying being around horses again. Each day brought something funny or humbling to giggle at. I found out what it’s like to have a horse burp, sneeze, and fart in your face. (I don’t recommend any.)
Gigi in particular had a talent for doing silly things when I had my camera out. Not sure what she ate here. Must not have tasted too good.
Here Gigi illustrates the art of getting comfortable. She’s got it mastered. (Make sure you have the volume up for this video so you can catch the ‘punch’ line.)
I had planned to get back on the road in early February to drive across country and meet up with a friend in Los Angeles in late February. However, on the day that Kevin got back from this birthday vacation, my back went out. 5 days of barn chores had done me in. By the time my back pain issues were under control I had missed my window to get back on the road and drive across country in time to meet up with my friend in LA. So I settled in at the barn and focused on getting my back better. My days took on a regular routine of helping with barn chores and taking daily walks around the farm with the dogs and noodling around on my ukulele. Farm life suited Roo and I just fine.