Monday, July 12, 2010

the sunflower thieves

The drama unfolded on Friday evening. We decided to open up both gates to the back yard and let the horses wander in and graze down the grass while we made dinner and waited for writing group weekend to begin.

I watched as a little red sorrel donkey realized the gate was open and made a beeline for the backyard. Cody came in next, gleaming chestnut in the setting sunlight. Keil Bay followed, his red bay coat looking even more red against the green grass. Salina and Rafer Johnson brought their black and gray colors to the scene.

The painted pony stood by the gate which Salina was guarding, not realizing the other one was open and he could have gone around to get in. He stood and stood, watching her intently for the one moment when she might let her guard down. I should mention that Salina had her blind side to the gate where the pony was standing. She had no way to "see" him, but she knew he was there, and each time he even leaned forward to take a step, she flagged her head at him.

Eventually she let her guard down for a split second and he darted through, smart enough to get 15 feet or so out of her way before dropping his head to graze.

This is our normal evening routine: horses grazing, donkeys grazing, various cats lying about. It was peaceful and they were all enjoying the grass.

I kept glancing out at them, not because they needed watching so much, but because every single one was literally gleaming in the sunshine, their colors rich and deep, and I was admiring the palette they made all together.

Then suddenly I saw a small donkey dashing across the yard with something hanging from his mouth. A huge green something. Upon closer inspection it was a sunflower!

We removed it from him and laughed. A little bit later, I looked out and saw a big black mare standing headfirst in the pinwheel of garden beds. The sunflowers are in the center of the pinwheel, planted in a mound. Suddenly Salina's big black head made a sharp motion and one of the gigantic plate-sized sunflowers came off its stalk. She had the whole thing dangling from her muzzle.

It was getting dusky so we decided it was time for the horses to go back to the barnyard until their dinner tubs. I realized when I looked at the stolen sunflowers that they are going to seed, and the big ones especially have the black shiny seeds that are exactly what we used to feed the horses as a supplement. They loved them then and I guess they love them now, because once Salina nabbed one of the big ones, Keil Bay suddenly got interested in those tall yellow things too.

If I had a big video camera and some equipment, we could have had a Fellini movie on our hands.


Grey Horse Matters said...

That's great! I guess they figured out how to get their own snacks/supplements with no help from the humans.

Great descriptions. It's too bad you don't have a permanent video set up or at least a camera for all this merriment.

billie said...

Arlene, it was pretty funny. Salina is not one to go around ripping into things just for the heck of it - so it was particularly fun to see her go for the big sunflower. I'd never have guessed she'd be the one to do it.

Redford... well, that wasn't so much surprising as just plain funny. He took it and ran, like he didn't want to be caught with it in his mouth.

Valentino said...


I often wish there could be a video camera monitoring my animals who live in the house.

When I come home and there is furniture tumbled, baby gates crashed down, all items from a table now on the floor, (see the cat Lucky Barnett), things such as a whole apple cake eaten except one piece dropped from the mouth of Sweetpea (my lab pit mix) as I enter the room, and the nervous quaking of Q (jack russell terror) awaiting my arrival with dread as she is the only possessor of a conscience...

Mostly I would like to know the sequence of events and who was the instigator. I envision Lucky Barnett masterminding most of the mischief with "felinious" suggestions :)

Glad you got to enjoy your drama unfolding, and not just the aftermath - thanks for sharing!

billie said...

V, we have some of the house wildness too, although since we're here much of the day, we do end up seeing who does what. Just when we think we have a line on who the biggest feline troublemaker is, one of them surprises us and takes that role away. :)

The sunflower caper is one of the funniest ones we've had with the equines - I don't know why, but I never expected it, and that's what made it so much fun.

Valentino said...


The image of horses "picking" horse sized flowers is comical. I love your descriptions :)

billie said...

V, these truly are horse sized! I wonder if Salina thought: finally! she's growing something worth picking!