Friday, June 06, 2008

sounds of summer

This morning when I went out to the barn I realized we've gone full-blown into summer routine and its unique chorus of sounds. First out the gate is Rafer Johnson's bray, which is a combination of "good morning" and "I'm ready for my breakfast!"

In the barn, the new nest of swallow babies chirp madly because they too want breakfast. Fortunately someone else is in charge of that, and her flapping wings are, for now, the next note in the unfolding barn song.

On these warm summer mornings I turn on the fans, and once I flip the switch, the barn fills with the low rush of air blowing. We have three big industrial fans, which are hung up high so they create air flow without blowing directly into horses' faces. The effect is nice, and it keeps the barn comfortable. The sound ends up being much like that of ocean surf - it takes on a constant, background quality that can be quite soothing and hypnotic.

Once I get into the feed room, Keil Bay's melodic voice is the next bit of music to my ears. He has a very special whinny that conveys his eagerness for breakfast and love of all things "food."

Like Keil Bay, I love the little sounds of black oil sunflower seeds being scooped, the shhhh sound as I pour in the supplements, and the snap snap of carrots being divided up between feed tubs. The apples make a satisfying thump.

Depending on how slowly I'm moving, there may be a loud BANG when Keil Bay uses his knee on the stall door to hurry me along.

Even with the fans going, the crunching sounds of four horses and a miniature donkey eating their breakfasts are clearly heard, often in sync. Salina does a brief trumpet call if she finishes before I close everything up in the feed room, signaling that she's ready for Rafer Johnson to return to her side.

After breakfast there is munching of hay and mucking of stalls. The mucking is a relaxing WHUMP sound that becomes more and more muted as the wheelbarrow piles up. By the end it becomes silent. Walking the wheelbarrow down the hill, birds sing and insects buzz, although in the growing heat of midday, things can get very quiet out in the open.

It always amazes me as I walk back up the hill when the blowing of one or more of the horses carries so that it seems they're right beside me.

In no particular order, the morning chorale continues with water from the hose falling into buckets and tanks, the brushing of coats and velcro'ing of fly masks, and the soft whoosh of herbal fly spray being applied. The barn doors on the sunny side of the barn rumble closed, and the metallic clank of the backyard gate latch signals the end of our morning song.


Grey Horse Matters said...

The description of your morning ritual had me feeling I was right there with you, hearing all the sounds of a lovely morning. Have a great day.

billie said...

Thanks, Arlene. You too. It's a HOT day here and looks to be a week of it for us.

the7msn said...

You described that morning song so well, I can practically dance to it. By the way, your horses' breakfast sounds better than the one I eat. You can come cook for me anytime!

billie said...

LOL, Linda - it's almost true about their breakfasts... the supplements, the BOSS, the little bit of feed, all of it is pretty much human grade and smells quite lovely. I wouldn't have any problem eating it if push came to shove!

They every one lick their tubs clean, so it's working pretty well.

My breakfast this morning was Trader Joe's Maple/Pecan granola with yogurt and berries. A favorite of mine for warm weather.

Matthew said...

What a delicious symphony of words, Billie!

billie said...

Thanks, Matthew!

Rising Rainbow said...

Here, we are doing the opposite. Our temps are cooler than normal. Yesterday it was in the mid 50s. Today it might make the mid 60s which would be our first near normal in a week.

billie said...

Oh, MiKael, I could do with a little cooler than normal right now! I just looked and the thermometer outside says 101.8 and it's only 2:30 in the afternoon. Hottest usually happens around 4 p.m.