Sunday, November 16, 2008

The bringer of food

I love winter. Actually, I really do, but it does have some serious drawbacks. Like darkness... and mud... and ice....

This winter J has decided to try something new. Rather than set the round bales out in the feeder one at a time, free-choice, they're to be located so that the hay needs to be fed daily. Her theory is that this way the horses will waste less and not get quite so rotund.

Which is fine, but I've now become the bringer of food a bit early. Usually I earn the title later in the winter when it gets really cold and the horses start getting grain to supplement their hay & pasture foraging. This year they cottoned pretty quickly to the sound of the diesel engine in the drive meaning head for the feeder.

As I've mentioned, a couple don't play nice - BAD SUNNY!!! - at the feeder, so I usually spread a couple of piles out somewhere dry for the mares lower in the pecking order. If I'm lucky, the wind disguises the noise of my arrival enough that I can get their hay spread before the whole herd appears. If I'm unlucky, they here me, it's dark, and I'm wielding the pitchfork a lot more gingerly while they mill.

And of course, right now all the snow and rain we did get turned into sloppy, soupy, DEEP mud which is just lots and lots of fun to navigate, especially with no light.

Yesterday was a dark day due to an overly lengthy, but long-promised shopping trip to Sioux Falls so H could find some warm weather clothes. T had volunteered to feed for me, but called about 5 pm to say they'd just gotten two deer, so would need to take care of field dressing & hanging before he took care of feeding....

Hurrying teenage girls in the mall works only so well, so it was 7:30 and black as tar before I made it to the farm. I do have a trouble light in the truck, but I tend to blind myself & them with it if I'm not really careful. I muddled (& mudded) through. There was just barely enough light from the rising moon (very pretty, too!) to count noses & make sure all were present & healthy.

Today was at least daylight, and I was able to get them mostly detangled & demudded - keeping them at least semi-clean is going to be a major battle unless it dries up some soon.

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