Wednesday, September 23, 2009

we have sunshine and wine

It rained most of yesterday, all night last night, and when I woke up this morning I hoped the sound I heard outside the open screen was not rain. But it was.

I had my coffee and tried to gear up for a mucky gray day with horses and donkeys who wanted to get out and graze.

Surprisingly, against all weather forecasts, the sun came out. I uncovered the hay, threw open the barn doors, and let things dry out while I did chores. And then left everything open so it could continue to dry as the day rolled on.

One time I thought it might rain, so I went out and took precautions, but it was a false alarm. The sunshine returned quickly and this evening I was lured out with a glass of wine and my camera, to see what might present itself.

First, Redford came out to join me and met Dickens along the way. Look at those donkey ears!

As you can see, they have become good friends:

Finally, they finished their hello and joined me at the picnic table:

Redford decided that if Sheaffer and Jack are vintners sampling apples, he is ready to sample some of the final product:

Then Dickens went for the wine:

By this time, Rafer Johnson appeared. He'd rather share a snifter of fine brandy with his mentor Sheaffer than sample the wine. Dickens can't help himself. He's a camera hog:

Meanwhile, over at the round bale, Redford illustrates how to be king. I love this shot because it shows Rafer Johnson's unique mane coloring - click on the photo to see his black "points" along the mane. And it shows Redford's snow white belly alongside his dark donkey cross:

My daughter took the camera and captured her pony and the sky:

And then her pony's handsome face:

All in all, a big beautiful day.


Anonymous said...

This post is exactly why I keep coming back to read your blog - the animal interations, and photos that capture the essence of who they are are soothing and heartwarming...which I definitely had needed today. Thanks so much for sharing.

Appreciated the tack room cleaning, and hoof updates as well. I can handle the bugs and spiders as long as they're not in my clothes, but not webs on my face or hair.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Just another peaceful day at November Hill. It's wonderful to see the pictures of all the critters so relaxed and happy and curious. Dickens is a camera hog but he's so cute and such a natural in front of the camera who could resist snapping away.

billie said...

Thank you, Wendy. As you know, it's easy enough to get caught up in all the things we want to get done with the horses, so I try to regularly walk out to the barn and just sit there and let things roll.

You would have appreciated something that happened yesterday morning - Cody has been getting some remedial trailer loading work off and on, and yesterday while he was in the barnyard with the herd, and I was cleaning stalls, I noticed he was sticking his head into the back of the trailer.

He looked over at me as if he were suggesting I open it up, so I did. He had been having some anxiety about loading so we'd backtracked him to simply standing at the open doors, and yesterday he facilitated this on his own and stood there curious and calm.

I was tempted to try and load him but decided we both needed to just enjoy the success of the moment and not push for more.

One of those times when my agenda and the flow intersected!

billie said...

Arlene, yesterday was one of those days that feel like a poem. All I wanted to do was sit there and soak it in.

I forgot to put it in the post that Salina had asked for the fly mask early in the morning and because I'd already washed and put away all of them but Keil's, I put his on for her.

And promptly realized that she likes the bigger size better - she left it on all day instead of taking it off! Next spring I'll have to get her a new one in the warmblood size.

Michelle said...

That sounds like an amazing day...reminds me that I need to "soak it all in" more often...I tend to get so caught up in the "doing" that I lose track of the "being." Thanks for the reminder. =)

billie said...

Michelle, I can get caught up in the doing too. Fortunately for me, the positive reinforcement for just sitting back and being is right in my own back yard!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's so interesting about Cody!!! I really enjoy stories like that (as you know :)). My horses were demanding to be let back in the barn while I was doing early chores - sweeping and what not, and (this was yesterday), and it was about an hour before I feed them, but I thought of you and how your horses hang out with you for chores, and just let them in with me while I worked.

They just took turns hanging out with me, staying out of the way for the most part while I swept. Hope asked for some massaging and affection...I'd caught myself assuming they thought of me as a food dispenser, and neglected their need of me as the 4th horse/horse mother/herd leader/walking masseuse.

billie said...

Wendy, I am sure you're MUCH more than a food dispenser!

We have a very nice set-up (I can't take credit for the design, but I have enhanced it somewhat) for allowing horses and donkeys to freely hang out with us.

It makes it very easy to see things like Cody asking for a bit of trailer work on his own terms, and the funny thing was, the donkeys and the pony came over afterwards and self-loaded just to show they could do it.

We do so much of our daily chores and horse care w/o tying or using halters that when people come over who aren't used to horses we get a bit discombobulated. :)

I know in a big barn setting where there are lots of horses and different people handling them this method might not work at all, but for us, it does allow the horses to express themselves and their personalities that much more.

Being able to do this has given me such a different perspective on their minds and their way of being. Contrary to popular belief (not among those who read and comment here, of course) horses are not only interested in eating and manipulating/running from us to get out of work.

I've said this before and it makes me smile to say it again - if we had a big back door that opened flat into the back yard, I have no doubt they'd come right into the house to investigate what it is we do in here. :)

ponymaid said...

Billie, how we enjoyed your pictures and story. I am so proud of the young donkeys working so hard at developing their palates - with the help of Dickens, of course. Tell me, in the shot of Dickens upside down and reaching for the glass - has he, errrr, already sampled the fruits of the harvest?

billie said...

Sheaffer, I wondered if anyone would notice the empty glass. You can attribute that to the camera woman. :)

This morning when I went out, the donkeys had closed Salina up in the middle stall, after which they turned over all the water buckets in the barn aisle, tipped the blue barrel that I keep by the pump, and dragged several brushes and a hoof pick out into the barnyard.

This is what happens if I am a moment late with breakfast!