Friday, May 8, 2009
The Life of a Farm Girl
I'm sorry for not posting frequently...school and animals are keeping me busy. Thus the title of this post. :) My life has been a wee bit challenging lately, but the Lord has been helping me to persevere.
...Alright, on with the post. How many of my readers live on a small farm or at least own a horse? Well, I own three horses, two goats, five cats and one dog. With all of these crazy animals...life is never dull! Usually, every morning and evening, I go up to the barn with my brother to feed the horses and goats. Eeeven though I really DON'T like going up there in the morning, (sometimes the evening, but I'm awake by then:) It's fun to hear Silkie neigh at us when we approach. As soon as she lets off the alarm, the goats are bleating their lungs out...it's almost like their passing the word: "It's feeding time, everyone!" And then in the evening, if we're fortunate, they'll be down at the very bottom of the pasture, and Nathan and I will be at the top. Nathan has the most realistic goat "baa" that I've ever heard! He'll stand up there and call them with his loud, long "baa", and all three horses and two goats will come running up that hill faster than you can turn around. It's so breath-taking to see those horses come running. They're so fast! If I'm in a giddy mood and if the weather's nice, I'll go running towards them, and, well...won't stop. :) Silkie will however, at least I can trust her that much. She's usually the one I go running at, and we'll both come to a rough halt not a foot away. She absolutely loves it when I do that. Then she'll start shaking that dirty-white colored mane and start kicking up her heels and turn right around and chase Belle. It's an amazing sight to watch Belle run. She has a beauty all of her own. A Paint Horse is much like an Arabian; they hold their tails very high when they run, and hold their heads up. The pick their feet up very nicely, giving them a "show horse" appearance. Her and Silkie will go ripping across that pasture, kicking at each other and running as fast as they can go. (It's kinda intimidating to be standing there surrounded by bucking horses!) Red, on the other hand, will run most of the way, but because of his arthritis, he'll slow down and go to a trot, and then a walk. (You should see him when he's feeling good; that horse can run like the wind! Once, he outran BOTH Silkie and Belle.) He'll come walking up to me, that huge, heavy looking head of his swaying from side to side and his feet dragging the ground. (He's got fairly big hooves.) For some unknown reason, he doesn't like to have his face touched very much, but everywhere else is perfectly fine with him. I'll hug his neck and sometimes, if Nathan is willing to help me, I'll get up on Red's back and we'll run the rest of the way to the barn. (After he's had a short rest, of course.) If Red starts to run, the others join...it's almost like being in the middle of a small herd. We'll get up there and push the goats into the shut off side of the barn. (The barn is not quite finished, but we have two stalls open. The rest of it is closed off by a two big red gates.) Red will put his huge head over the gate and wait...sometimes, as soon as I open the tack room door, he'll take that upper lip and swing it open. I go in the tack room to get the feed while Nathan is on stall duty, and give them a heaping scoop each. The feed smells really good. We give Silkie and Belle sweet feed, which is most DEFINITELY sweet. (It has molasses in it!) And then we give Red a senior feed. It doesn't smell as good, but it does have that musty smell that dominates every barn. I tell you, those horses will KILL to get to that sweet feed. Silkie especially; that horse has always been like that. She'll push anything and everything out of her way to get to it...including my poor brother! Anyway, that's my everyday feeding life. Now, there are the times when my dad, brother and I will go up to work at the barn. That's usually fun. We'll go up there and...once again....Silkie will be getting into trouble. She is the most curious horse that I've ever seen! She'll put her front hooves on the gate, and put all of her front weight on it. Then she'll suddenly jump off, and that usually results in popping the gate off the hinges. (Crazy horse!) If we get hey or sweet feed, we'll put it in the back of the pickup truck, and back into the barn. We'll, there's a pile of wood there, so we can't back all the way in, just about half of the way. Some of the back is still visible, and Silkie will go right up there and start eating the hey if we have it, or tearing up a bag of feed. A work day is hard, especially if we're getting feed/hey/supplies. One time, we got hey AND feed....well, that didn't work so well. We were driving up a hill, and we had to have the back of the truck open because the hey was piled up so high and the only place for the feed was on the tailgate. Not good. TWO bags of feed slid off and one busted on the road. Thankfully, this wasn't a busy road, just one that leads up to our house. Nathan and I jumped out of the car and ran to the bag, trying to scoop it up before a car did come. We finally got the bag on the back of the truck, but it would fall off again. Sooo...I had to ride with my feet on about 5 inches of tailgate and lean over other bags of feed to hold the one that was sitting on a low bale of hey. Fun, huh? :D Then again, there's always the times where I just go up to the barn every now and again to just sit there and watch my horses. I either bring a good book, my camera, or my sketch pad. I like to just sit and observe, or draw a picture of them. It's nice to see God's creation in action. I love to watch the goats run up on the log pile and butt horns, or "wrestle" around until one falls off. I even love to just walk around my pasture and enjoy the scenery, or run around in the rain or snow. Yes, farm life is very wonderful at times, but it also has it's downsides. Going to feed the horses in 20- degree weather isn't very fun...nor is it going in 80+ degree weather. But, it has to be done. (I'm going to have to tell myself that more often!) The flies are terrible, and mucking out the stalls in hot weather like that is...well....stinky. Taking care of sick horses in no fun either. All three of them have been sick at different times and each one needed care. Silkie had colic once, and I had to walk her up and down that steep pasture for about forty-five minutes until the vet arrived. Then she had to be held down while the vet put a tube up her nose...which was VERY hard. Belle had a bad cut on her shoulder, and it had gotten rather infected. Once again, the vet had to come out. It was very hard to hold Belle down while the vet worked in the wound to drain it. (A horse is EXTREMELY strong...if she decided she wasn't going to take it period, I wouldnt've been knocked over and trampled.) Red has probably had the worst two cases of all of them. The first time, he had hurt his knee badly, and just lay in the hot sun groaning. It was in the middle of summer, and he just would not get up. He was standing when the vet came out to look at him, but afterward he just lay down. I would go up there for about thirty to forty-five minutes at a time and just sit with him. The poor baby would just lay his head in my lap and groan. It was very sad, to say the least. I thought he was going to die. I would take a five gallon bucket of water and bathe his neck, head, sides and knee to keep him cool. Every now and again he would lift his head and drink some. Later on he went in the shed and lay down. Silkie was standing over him literally keeping guard. I took a bowl of hot water up there to bath his knee, and boy did he enjoy that! His groan changed to a more pleasant groan, sort of like he was saying "that feels good". It was not fun to sit up there in the hot sun and get badly sunburned, nor was it fun to sit down in the muck of the shed and bathe his leg. (The bathing part was sort of fun, though:) And of course we've had other mishaps with our animals. I can think of another not-so-fun event that will be coming up in the near future: my dear old Red is almost 29, and thirty to thirty-one is the oldest a horse can get under ordinary circumstances. He's in very good health for his age, but who can tell what the next few years will bring. On a happier note, I've decided to post some pictures of my "farm-life" and dear animals. Yes, those crazy horses can be a pain, but I love them to death. Here are some pictures. Thanks for bearing with me through such a long post!