Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring must be coming...

UPDATE: Red-wing blackbird on my front walk today!! They are one of the first nester's to return in the spring! I saw robins awhile back, but many of them do not migrate--so this is a definite!! Just like all the buds the deer have eaten off my tulip poplars...

Reno has started shedding. I remember he did this last February too. I was shocked at how early it started. But I suppose when one's hair is 3" long, one must use the time wisely. This must be the reason he rolls in mud everyday. I dutifully use my old pin hairbrush to break up the solid masses of mud caked on top of his back. Much of it ends up in my mouth, no matter how hard I try. I dig and rake and spit. And the next day, it's the same. On the same side. Even as far as his cheek. I do not brush his cheek while he is eating or three pounds of dust falls into his bowl. When I am "done" (a relative term), I see a silhouette of dust outlining us on the ground.

Yesterday was warm and sunny--my favorite combination. So I did what all spring-lovers do--I emptied the horse water tank, scrubbed it and refilled it. Here's the "plug" that comes with the tank heater. Plastic (read fragile), and tough to get at. Also, recently tightened by Handyman (read impossibly tight for female hands.) How do you get at that thing?!

Enter my new favorite tool:(besides my Muck brand boots and my 20-year old ATV. And the lids that snap on my 5-gallon buckets. And my dog that cleans the kitchen floor for me.)

What do you do with that thing--you ask??

Open says-a-me! Voila! Ah, there's nothing more cheery than 15 gallons of COLD water filled with 4 months of hay detrius, horse spittle, old leaves and some vile form of algae that can grow in antarctic conditions. My assistant for the day was PRINCESS--the large pony who thinks she's a dog.

She did the requisite shove against my bum while I was leaning over a tipped-up tank, almost sending me headfirst into the fence and muck that was pouring out. Then there was the lipping of the sleeve. The request for carrots and the sniffing of the empty tank. She is such a charmer. But what a gut! This gal has bellied up to the hay bar a little too often. I don't think there's a wii fit board that'll work for her.

When I brought out the clean water, she was all about sipping each dose as it was added. Handyman needs to do a little adjustment on that fence section behind the tank. The bottom plank is too high to set the bucket on unless I want to pour it down the waistband of my pants. The top plank is literally 1/2" too close to pour the bucket between the planks. So it works out like this. Open the bucket on the ground. Lift carefully to waist height and pour 1/2 between the planks. Then tell Princess to get her big mug out of the tank or be doused. Then lift the bucket to chest height and pour over the top of the entire fence. Now do this eight more times!

Gives the old reconstruction a workout! Everything held--don't worry! ;)

And the better news: My handy-dandy tool has a little brother:

Then again, it might make a terrific crop!

I wanted to get this task out of the way because there is rain forecast for today and tomorrow and then snow for the weekend. If the tank's going to refill on its own, thanks to Handyman's ingenuity, I wanted it to be clean. Princess gave her opinion on the clean water with a happy lip curl--"Weird Mom! It doesn't taste like fermented hay anymore?!"

Today's job--empty muck tubs and clean barn. Did I mention there was another barn "invasion" this week. This time it was #2 who left the people door open. When we drove in, I could see the big guy in the barn aisle. When we got there, he was wedged between the hayloft ladder and the people door (blocked by #1), with the worktable immediately to his left. The saint let me squeeze by him and unlock the big sliding door. He wasn't sure about jumping out, but gave it a shot and thought it was so fun, he bucked too on his way by. I love that horse!

There had been an open bale of hay on the 2' high stack of rubber mats. The bale was, of course, scattered all around the pile of mats. And there were two piles of poop on the mats! I wish I had a camera going in there; watching them standing on the mats like circus ponies. I guess I need to start showing in trail classes.

1 comment:

This DVM's Wife's Life said...

I saw a robin Sunday morning and I was soooo excited!
Your water tank set up is very cool. I love your handy gadget but really love how your barn roof gutters fill your tank. Clever!My horses have a self-filling horse waterer, but I know what you mean about how dirty they get. Right now I can't drain my because snow and ice are blocking the drain, not to mention it is just too cold for that anyway.
Your Corgi dogs are adorable!
I've enjoyed visiting your blogs.