Many horse owners pamper their animals like babies. I’m lucky to have a horse who prefers outside to in, wooly coats to blankets, and who, even with a fresh bale of hay in the feeder, will still pick straws out of the wheelbarrow while I’m cleaning stalls.
Although our barn at the last place was small, by the time we left I’d configured and reconfigured it enough times to create adequate space to give everyone a comfortable stall on the most horrible of nights. Even so, Willy would chomp at the bit to get back outside when I locked him in. There were nights when, left to his own devices with a run-in stall free for the taking, I’d see him standing outside, icicles hanging from his belly and freezing rain weighing down his whiskers.
Upon purchasing our new farm, I was excited that with a barn almost the size of my previous one and another one about 5 times the size, I would have more than enough room to set things up the way I’d always wanted. Still, the big barn needed a lot of work, and best intentions didn’t get it finished before winter came early and intensely in December. Even so, we managed… the goats were confined to half of the small barn at night, and Willy and Chloe had the benefit of the other half of the barn as a run-in. The one serviceable stall in the big barn was reserved for Galina. Even with tons of snow and freezing rain, that arrangement worked.
But 2014 has other plans for my little animal arrangement. Tonight the temperatures are supposed to dip way south of zero. I don’t worry about Willy in his bear rug of a coat, and Chloe would also be quite content in the run-in half of the barn. But there are goats due to give birth, and on nights like tonight, I can’t leave the doors to the barn open in case they finally decide to pop and the kids freeze. This seems to be the way this farming thing goes…the constant putting out of fires, real, anticipated, or otherwise.
So tonight, the first night of 2014, Chloe has a new temporary stall next to Galina in the big barn. Willy is confined to the run-in in the small barn, and with any luck, the goats will be plenty warm…just in case. Willy is not impressed with his arrangement. Chloe is also a little annoyed. But at least I know nobody is going to freeze.
One more disaster averted (I hope). Bring it on, 2014, I think we’re ready.