Testing The Waters | Ninja Poodles Local

Testing The Waters


I'm really just dipping my toe in by running this post, which is a re-tread from an entry that I posted last summer on my main blog.  I'm trying to figure out the capabilities and limitations of both myself and this particular blogging software, which is totally new to me.  (I predict that the capabilities will be almost wholly those of the software, Moveable Type, and that the limitations will, for the most part, belong squarely to me.)

The following was written in the form of a journal entry to my daughter, but as I look over it now, it reads as a bit of a love-letter to my home state, as well, and I hope to instill in my child an appreciation for the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feel, and above all the people of Arkansas.

So let's see how this one comes through, and if all goes well, expect a "proper" introduction to follow soon after, as well as some monkeying around with template design and categories and fancy things such as that.  For now, I am Belinda Miller, and this is "Ninja Poodles: Local", my little corner of the Times' Blogosphere.  Thanks for visiting.

The Great Arkansas Pony-Getting Adventure (A Story In Pictures)

Bella, this is the story of the day you got your first pony, "Magic." In your own words, we were "on an adventure" that day!

You were READY TO GO that morning. You have always, since infancy, been a wonderful traveler. You looked at Highlights magazine, ate Pop-Tarts (bad Mom), sang along to XM Kids and made google-eyes at your Daddy in the rear-view mirror all the way there, a three-hour trip.

Before we knew it, we were near Clinton. Arkansas is just so pretty. We were behind this camper for about 4 million miles, I think (later, you might learn some geography and realize that our state is not quite that large, but then you'll drive some of its highways and you'll begin to pick up the concept of relativity of perception).

We didn't.

I wanted to just stop and live here when I saw it. Take my buckboard into town four times a year for supplies, and just nestle in. I do hope you appreciate the beauty of this state. It's hot as all get-out all summer long (and summers are LONG), but it's lush, green, and pretty, and full to the brim of nice people.

We didn't.

Again, pretty.

Again, no.

Because JUNK is pariah.

We had to get off the beaten path to find The Happy Pony Farm. (It's not actually called that, it's a very nice place owned by fine, lovely people, but I will forever remember it as The Happy Pony Farm. How could you not be happy on a pony farm?)

WAY off the beaten path.

OK, by this time, we were actually ON a "beaten path", rather than an actual road, I think.

It was this point at which we realized that in order to get to The Happy Pony Farm, you have to really WANT to get to The Happy Pony Farm. If you are ever placed in the Witness Protection Program, I recommend relocating to The Happy Pony Farm.

Here is where you first spotted PONIES! We were getting close...

MORE PONIES! Closer yet!

We found it! We were there at last. All in all, a pleasant trip, and what a charming place it was.

You were all atwitter when we arrived. You held tight to Daddy's hand and walked up a rocky hill to the barn, just chattering all the way. (By the way...the dress? Your newest poodle dress at the time--you've had lots of them--and agreeing to let you wear it was the only way I could convince you to get out of the tub that morning. "Dressing appropriately for the activity" has never been one of your major concerns.)

In the barn, you spotted your first tiny kitten.

Daddy held the kitten for you so you could pet it.

You were tickled to pieces by the silly kitten!

And then you met "Magic." Miss Jill introduced you, and Magic put her nose down to sniff the new little critter who'd come to see her.

You were very gentle, and patted her smooth little nose and rubbed her head. You asked Miss Jill, very softly, if you could have a hairbrush.

Miss Jill got you a brush, and showed you the proper way to brush a pony.

You asked permission before starting to brush each new spot.

Pretty soon, you were grooming like a pro!

We could have stayed and visited with the pretty ponies all day, but we said goodbye to Miss Jill and Courtney and the dogs and the kitten and all the ponies, put Magic in the trailer, and got all set to go. (And you should know that it is only due to the fact that Mommy already had purchased a horse-trailer years before meeting Daddy that the entire rig shown here is not a perfectly coordinated Razorback Red.)

And then we were on our way home. What could possibly go wrong? (It is important that you learn early about concepts such as "tempting fate" and "irony" with questions such as these.)

Shortly after passing the junk-shunning place, THIS happened. A blowout.

A BIG blowout!

Fortunately, we were not too far from this place, and were able to get THE Barry on the phone, and he said he'd come right out.

While we were waiting on Barry, you and I walked over to the nearby truck stop and got drinks. You were holding my hand, and just being a fantastic sport about the whole thing. You asked me, "Are we going to the office?" I said, "No, Honey, we're a long way from the office. We're a long way from home, too." You gave that a little thought, then informed me, "Mommy, we are on an ADVENTURE." Indeed. You selected a bottle of cold water to drink, and we walked back and settled into the air-conditioned truck to wait.

This is Barry. He totally lived up to the Barry hype, and got right to work.


Barry got our blown tire off, replaced it with the spare, good as new, so that we could once again get on our way.

You got M&Ms as a reward for being so completely wonderful throughout this whole ordeal. Yeah, yeah, I know...but you really love chocolate, and you were really good.  Don't judge me until you've had children of your own.  See if YOURS is an M&M-free household, then we'll talk.

The inevitable sugar-crash came several miles later, and the rest of the trip home was uneventful.

Home at last! You had to check Magic out as soon as she got out of the trailer, and make sure she was all right. You begged to ride her then, poodle dress and all (see above, re: "appropriate attire").

We set you up on Magic's back, and you were enthralled.

It was getting dark by that time, so you reluctantly grazed your new pony for a bit and then put her to bed in her new stall, next to Rosa and her foal. We think you will be a great little pony-girl.

And that, my dear, is the story of the day we got Magic. I hope the two of you remain friends for a long, long time!

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