and travel caused the foals to be born in Texas. We found a place to stay
in Ledbetter, a small town with only a country store, small fire department,
and very small post office, located between Giddings and Brenham. We lived
in a run down, half gutted, mobile home in the middle of yaupon and scrub
oak thickets. Our water was an outside spigot. We ran a hose into the fork
of a tree for our shower - yes it was cold, but it felt good after a hot and
humid summer Texas day. I found a job at the Foulton Ranch about 2 miles from
along dirt roads. This was a
racing quarter horse ranch. Unfortunately, I didn't get to work with the horses,
but I did work with cats! My job title was "groundskeeper" for the
main house. This was one of 3 ranches Mr. Foulton owned. He would come here
about once per month to visit and use the house. The rest of the time the
house remained empty. There were cats and kittens at the ranch for the purpose
of being mousers. I grew very attached to them. I rescued one cat while we
were here. He was a little orange kitten I found wondering along the highway
to Giddings. I brought him home and called him Fortune Cookie.
The fleas and fire ants were horrendous. There were lots of rats. I could not sleep in the mobile home because of the fleas, so I made a 'tree bed' by constructing a platform 5 feet above the ground in the trees for my sleeping bag. This was much better except for the mosquitos and nocturnal June bugs, and of course the rain. Every evening I would notice a low hum which became more and more audible, accompanied by whacking sounds as the June bugs slammed into the trees, or my head! Each morning we would have to skim off their dead bodies floating in the horses' water trough. There were hundreds of them. When I came home from work each day Myles would be covered with fleas, scratching furiously. I would give him a massaging Ivory soap bath which he thoroughly enjoyed. Ivory soap kills fleas and is not harmful to dogs. After, Myles and I would go for a walk.
One night I was sleeping in my tree bed and I heard one of the horses whinny. I got up and sure enough, Louise had given birth to her foal. He was all black with a narrow white blaze. DC named him Jubal. Louise had foals before and was an excellent mother. DC and I watched Jubal take his first steps as the morning light permeated the night sky.
Dawn decided to have her foal in the middle of the day. I was at work when she started. DC knew I wanted to be there, and hopped on his bike and flew to the ranch to get me. Luckily, we got a ride back to our place. Dawn's foal was halfway out, and within 5 minutes, she stood up and the foal slid out the rest of the way. Poor Dawn was shaking, it was her first foal. He was chestnut colored like Dawn and he had 3 white socks and a narrow blaze. I named him Gabriel. Dawn held her front leg up and begged, a gesture she usually does when she wants grain, as Gabriel tried to stand. He finally stood up and tried to nurse. Dawn was hesitant at first, but soon allowed him access. Three days later no one could get near Dawn and her colt. She longed at us with teeth bared. Nobody was going to touch her foal. She was extremely protective. We had to separate her from Louise so she didn't hurt her or Jubal. This went on for about two weeks until Dawn finally settled down. Frankly, I think she was tired of Gabriel jumping all over her!
The foals spent their first few months with Dawn and Louise in a 111 acre pasture at the Foulton Ranch. They were weaned at 4 months of age. It was October, and we needed to continue with our journey (and get away from all the bugs!) We found them a home together with a husband and wife who were planning on buying horses of their own. The last time I saw Jubal and Gabriel has been seared in my memory. They were lying down facing each other under a huge live oak tree in the mist.
Just before leaving Ledbetter we flew home to visit our families in New England. We left Ledbetter without our wagon. It was no longer needed now that the foals were born and the mares did not require grain. Travel was easier with just the two horses. Although it was October, the days were still very hot. We decided to travel at night and sleep during the day. Texas was perfect for this because most of the roads are paralleled with dirt farm roads which we could travel on to avoid traffic.