I went to the farm an extra day this week and worked in a different part. The twelve year old that trained me and a different fourteen year old were running the big barn where Deb had asked me to help out. Whereas the barn I do on Mondays only has four animals directly associated with it and a couple indirectly associated, this is the barn where all the ponies, the other horses, the mules, the llamas, the emus and a zillion goats live. These two girls had their routine down pat and every time I asked if I could help, I got a sing-song “Nah, I’ve got it” back.
Well, that’s not completely true; I did get to sweep off some mats. For those uninitiated in this task, there are rubber mats in the stalls that are usually underneath the food trough or close by. Horses are messy eaters and and they’ll eat the leftovers off the ground, so it’s necessary to sweep the mats to prevent them from eating sawdust and straw. At least, I think that’s the purpose of the mats. I’ve never actually asked. Another thing about sweeping the mats? It’s a total ocd nightmare! Little pieces of riffraff creep back on them no matter matter how much time you spend sweeping them off. Lacking the ability to just walk away, I can be found going over them with growing intensity until I finally stalk off, forcing myself not to look back and see a determined piece of straw triumphantly take back its spot. Because Lunar knows how much I love this task, she likes to follow me into her pen when she see the broom. While I sweep her mat, she kicks the sawdust right back where I’ve just swept it off. Big giant piles of it! I sweep it off. She kicks it on. I sweep it off. She kicks i-Arrrggghh!
I also offered to take the pee blankets out to hang on the fence. When I asked if I could help, I think that the girl bringing them out of the barn was worried that I might complain about getting dirty. Perhaps my coat is deceiving. I’ve certainly been spotted as an intruder on more than one occasion (many times by the same volunteer) and I’m pretty sure it’s because of how I’m dressed. My coat is a black, hooded, squall jacket that goes down past my knees and keeps me super warm and still looks new though I’ve had it for a while. All the other volunteers wear sweatshirts or ratty clothes. What they don’t realize about my coat is that it’s my “pet sitting jacket”. This means that it’s been a home to all sorts of animal fluids. Too much? Needless to say, handling a bunch of filthy blankets was no problem for me.
While I stood around the rest of the time, being useless, I took the opportunity to take some photos and videos. And away we go!
Out back, I watched for a while as the ponies horsed around (ha!). The whole lot of them kept running back and forth. Some were whinnying and kicking and the rest were running just to stay out of the way. Whenever I’ve passed through the area, they’re just stand there chomping on things, so this was an interesting deviation.
The lineage of ponies is as follows: there is a male, the little tan one, who has a daughter and a grandson in the barn. And then there’s another mare who little tan guy mated with that produced a daughter and they’re also in the barn. I’m not sure which of his relatives made him so angry though because they all look alike. At one point, I watched him back the biggest one into a corner and kick like crazy. Though it may have looked like his young successor had the upper-hand in the video, don’t be fooled. Grandpa can hold his own!
Here are the llamas. Watching them. In the exact same spot. With the exact same dazed look. The entire time. I love it!!
Look at the mug on this guy! Ooh, his ears are pinned back at me! I’m pretty sure we’ll be friends someday. Hopefully.
Emus are strange, strange creatures.
Just a smidge of info on this photo: to the left of the emu is a door made up of plastic sheets that are big and awkward and sort of need to be shoved through. These flaps hit him every time a goat or person goes in or out.
Grooming time! Goats lick their feet like cats do. This fact makes me happy.
As dinnertime draws near, many of the animals start wandering in. Due to the fact that there are about a million goats, they’re the most prevalent random shots of fur in this photo, but look closely and you can also see an emu and a pony. Maybe next time, I’ll get a photo that better represents the chaos, but I’ll have to stop spending all my time petting everyone first.