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Heather Gates, Ep. Hg 34, Heather Completed Her FFA Project for the School Year

Updated on November 20, 2018
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Christopher name the new foal Cloud

A stylized version of mare and foal
A stylized version of mare and foal

Christopher Named his Foal

Both Heather and Jennifer were anxious for Christopher to see his new female foal in person. It was certainly a new experience for him, as well as for them. When she heard that he was coming by, Dianne joined them at the stable, and Bart came as well. Heather had made sure there was plenty of fresh straw and that Shadow’s stall, with the foul, was in the best order. They were all waiting at Shadow’s birthing stall when Christopher came into the stable.


“Quite a welcoming committee,” he said. “What do I hear we have here?” He stoked Shadow’s face as he approached the stall. “Shadow created a little cloud, it appears…,” he said as he looked into the stall and saw the gray and white foal laying in the straw. She is a beauty. Looks just like the mama, it appears.”


“Yes,” Jennifer replied. “We chose the semen to get the effect, but it isn’t often that we get that close a match. What do you think of your new charge?”


“I think she needs a name. What do you think, Heather?” Christopher looked at Heather, expectantly.


“I think you already named her. You called her “Cloud.” That seems excellent, to me, unless you have something else in mind.” Heather looked around at the others.


Diane piped up, “That would be a unique name, but certainly seems to fit. You said it, Christopher, does it still feel right?”


“Shadow and Cloud,” Christopher rolled the names over on his tongue. “Feels good, sounds good, I think we have it. Any objections?” He looked around the group. Seeing no objections, he added, “Cloud it is. Do we need to do anything official, Dr. Bevins?”


“No, you just did all you need to do. We will all take it from there. Shadow isn’t registered anywhere like Sunshine is. When Sunshine has her foal, we will need to register it with the Palomino registry, but not Cloud. Cloud is your baby now, and we’ll all work together to make you proud of her as she matures. Do you have any questions for us?” Jennifer looked at Christopher.


“No. Thank you for all you have done already. I assume I’ll get a bill for services rendered.”


“In the normal course of business, of course.” Diane replied.


Bart added, “You asked the right question there, for sure, Christopher!”


“Worth every penny. Thanks, again, everyone. Keep me apprised as to what, if anything, I should be doing to help with Cloud’s development.” He was stroking Shadows mane as he spoke.


Jennifer said, “As Cloud is up and around when you visit, take the opportunity to touch and handle her just as you do Shadow now. That is the first and most important thing. Some bonding with you, as well as with each of us, is very important. That is where we start with her training.”

Heather Named her Foal Azuza

A Palomino Mare and Foal
A Palomino Mare and Foal

How was Sunshine Doing?

As the month of May arrived, Heather began becoming anxious about Sunshine delivering her foal in time to make her year end report for her FFA Project. It didn't matter, really, but it would wrap things up much neater if it happened on time. Jennifer tried to reassure Heather that everything appeared to be on schedule and not to worry. Jennifer focused on getting all of her other school work done, that she could, so she could take time off to be part of the birth when it occurred this time, if at all possible.


As it turned out, the birth occurred early one morning shortly after Heather had arrived routinely for a normal before-school work shift. She was late going in to school, but all the proper notifications were done in a timely manner. Jennifer, Dr. Bevins, attended. Cletus was there, but he stayed back in reserve, as needed, to let Heather fully take the assistant role. She wanted to fully take part, and she surely did. The birth was natural and went normally. A beautiful Palomino female foal. Two females in a row were highly desirable, though not at all unusual. Gender distribution was strictly a 50-50 proposition, of course.


Cletus gave Heather moral support as she cleaned out the stall after the birth, but let her do it all, as she wanted. Clean straw was a welcome sight, and Heather had a strong sense of accomplishment when it was all finished. She and Jennifer had already talked about a name, so finalizing and making it official was the next order of business. The male line they had chosen suggested using a Spanish name. Heather had chosen Azuza, if the foal were a female. The formal name to register was longer, but the foal would be called Azuza from this point forward.

They went to the play at the theater

Play poster
Play poster

End of School Year Activities Dominated All Else

Ozarks Community College Theater had put on the play “Arsenic and Old Lace” as the last play of the season this year. Heather went with her father, Paul, Peter, Shiela and Jeremy this time. Heather enjoyed seeing that Jeremy enjoyed the play as much as the rest of them did. They knew a few of the cast members from around the community, but that wasn’t their reason for going. General support for community activities was the important thing.


Heather was able to finish her FFA Project report with the birth and the name. She was really happy to have that complete. She could now focus on raising ‘her Azuza,’ she was thinking. Therefore, she was mildly surprised when at the High School year-end awards ceremony, she was recognized for outstanding achievement for her FFA Project. In presented the award, her FFA instructor pointed out that she had achieved the highest rating in school history on complexity of project, as well as for execution and record keeping. He went on to announce that her project would be entered in competition at the next state FFA convention, and, he added, he would be very surprised if it did not win a first prize there.


This ended Heather’s Sophomore year of High School. At the High School Commencement at the Oak Springs High School the commencement speaker for 1997 was Professor Dr. Raynor Crimmons, with Central Arizona University. Dr. Crimmons was on the Graduate Faculty of Management and taught all his courses online. He was a family friend of the Winslows, and now lived in Oak Springs, of course. His speech topic was “Be All That You Can Be!”

Author’s Note

This series of stories in the life of Heather Gates, a fictional character in The Homeplace Saga series of family saga, historical fiction stories (home blog found at thehomeplaceseries dot blogspot dot com), is being created as a way to use a minor character in the early writings to expand those stories and share details omitted in those earlier writings within the original overarching themes. These newly included details may have been left out of the earlier stories through editing or they may have seemed unrelated to central themes at the time. With the expansion of the entire Saga, over the years, it has become obvious that filling in some of the gaps in the story for overall better understanding of the individuals, their families, and their interactions would be useful to The Homeplace Saga body of work in total. The first thirty episodes ran in parallel with the timeline of the “Christmas at the Homeplace” novel. This episode represents stories following the end of the novel. These will run in parallel, starting with January 1997, with stories previously published on the home blog that ran monthly with new stories into early 1999. This provides the opportunity for new insights of events to be shared.

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      7 months ago from Hollister, MO

      And to you and yours, Bill. Have a great one!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy Thanksgiving, Bill, to you and yours!

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