Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There's something relaxing....

About standing in the semi-dark listening to the sounds of steady munching. Having said that, I suppose the relaxation factor does depend on one's perspective & position....

If I were, say, one thin plywood sheet away
from a mass of hungry army ants,
I'd be screaming my head off.

But in this case, leaning against a fence rail patiently waiting for the grain-eating four-feets to reach their bucket-bottoms, I have to go with relaxing. There's just something about capping my work day with the whole horse-feeding routine that's quite pleasant. It's cold - last night in the teens - thankfully above zero! - and fairly dark, especially down near the hay bale where the yard light doesn't reach.

But the horses are always thrilled to see me.

Moving around I make sure to talk to them, letting them know that yes, it is me and I have a pitchfork, so they need to move, shift, and not run me down. Grain now is enough of a routine that most of the lucky recipients are waiting at their buckets. The other four are still none the wiser, and don't venture up beyond the hay. Only Foxy, too timid to risk Sunny's teeth by waiting at the gate, needs to be collected and walked past the red menace - he won't bother her if she's with me.

And after the hay is spread across the width of the feeder - and set out besides in two distinct and distant piles to prevent squabbling - and the four getting grain have their rations... After I've spread hay for ther weanling calves in the next lot - when they can't reach their hay, they collect a the fence and stare at me with those big sad eyes while I feed the horses.... While I'm waiting for the grain to disappear so that I can open the gate and let the eaters out, I pull bits of chaff and twigs from manes and tails, fluff coats and de-mud, or chores done, simply lean on the fence listening to four sets of teeth contentedly grinding grain....

It's very peaceful.

Yes, I still have to drive home and figure out something for the rest of us to eat for supper, but I can do so knowing that all of the horses are healthy and happily buzzing through their hay. It's a nice feeling.

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