Thursday, April 13, 2017

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

I had two standout favorite movies as a child.  Singing in the Rain and Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. I have no problem being out in the rain, in fact, a good rain makes me a bit giddy to go outside, and for this, I gratefully blame Gene Kelly for making being out in the rain seem so joyful and desirable.  It is for this reason, I blame the actress who played Sonora Webster in Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken for my desire to have a horse as a child.

I love the scene in Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken when she is so desperate to have any type of job within the diving horse business she gladly accepts the offer when asked if she can shovel manure.  "Manure just happens to be my specialty."

I've never been around horses much, and besides a quick pony ride as a 6 year old at the county fair, I have never ridden a horse, nor dived off a tall tower into water with one, but I don't think they do that anymore.  However, I have been around animals more and more over the last few years.  Animals used to intimidate me because I was never around them, but lately I have become an animal magnet, finding friendly animals, anxious to run away with me.  (Hence the beginnings of my family members owning cats....)

My lack of work from the upholstery shop has been frustrating for picking up extra work.  My hours there are still currently limited to 16 hours per week, however, I still don't always know which days I am working.  Not only that, but we have several positive leads which I am hopeful will bring my hours back to full time, even if only for a few weeks.   There is also a chance I might be joining my boss on a job in Knoxville, Tennessee, and we'd most likely be gone a full week.  As you can see, this makes finding other work a bit complicated.  Though I've only heard from 3 people in my massive application submissions, they have  not been willing to work around my current work schedule.  In other words, these companies told me I'd have to work my schedule around their hours, not caring I already had a job that paid a lot more than they were offering.

That's when I saw the ad for the farm work.  Evenings, 5-10 hours per week, and HORSES.  Though I could use a few more hours than that, it would be flexible, and fit with my current work schedule.  I sent an email with little hope of them hiring a 34 year old female with farm experience including petting chickens, pigs, and cows, and sometimes feeding them.  My email went something like this:

"Hi, I'm Jen and I am an animal magnet who doesn't mind getting down and dirty.  My parents have a small farm and I take care of the animals when they are out of town.  I've never been around horses and lambs, but I'm willing to learn."

They responded immediately, asking me how I felt about shoveling manure, and I giggled at the thought of responding with manure being my specialty, instead I told them I was capable.  The truth is, I was hoping to find some sort of landscaping job, or a greenhouse, because I love my garden time, but without experience, getting anyone to take a resume with jobs such as an upholster and cook, doesn't seem to scream I have a green thumb.   So, the farm work, in a way, was like the landscaping job, only instead of shoveling dirt and mulch, it was going to be horse poop.

I started a few days later on a sunny spring day.  I met the farmer and he gave me a few tools and a task, and walked away, leaving me alone, in an empty barn, with horse poop.  He told me the task would take an hour.  I did it it 40 minutes.   The next day, when I went back, I did it in 35 minutes.  Then, in 30 minutes.

Yesterday, I finished the barn and told him I would need a new task soon.  "Wow, I can't believe you have that done already.  We've had helpers before and this task does them in and they never come back."

"Really?"  I thought to myself.  It was an hour a day, and though I broke a decent sweat, I never had sore muscles or a sore back.  It just felt like another day of work.  In the back of my head, I was thinking of saying with your brains and my back, you're going places... but instead I awkwardly told him I've always done physical labor and I liked challenges.

As I stumbled over my words, I realized he was the only human I'd seen or spoken to in 3 days.  (I had sent emails and texts to people but no actual talking...we live in a sad world...)  It also makes sense to why I started talking to the horses as if they were humans when they ventured over to see all the commotion that was happening in their barn.

Even though it is just an hour a day, it keeps me moving and gets me outside.  They have 93 lambs expecting babies soon, so I imagine the farm diary stories are only beginning.  And honestly, I like the work.  I've always preferred physical labor that keeps me busy over paper shuffling.

Maybe shoveling manure just so happens to be my specialty.

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