Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr.Boss and Willow's schoolfriend, Happy Full Moon too.

Well, as usual I have had a busy week, helping out in a small commercial kitchen making delectable Maine made products.

I spent one day having some cars repairs; the aging Subbie having been making protesting noises out the front end, a CV shaft needed replacing and I was praying it wasn't also the Ujoint going.

Thank goodness it was just the rattling heat shield, which my mechanic removed by cutting my electric fence wiring job I kept improvising.

The CV joint was another adventure-the passenger side is apparently impossible to get to and they threw in their share of improvising, causing me several moments of panic before I decided to retreat into the pile of yesterday's news I had picked up for the brooding guinea keets.


Today I had agreed to work at the goat farm for girls enjoying the holiday weekend.  Piece of cake, right?

Well, B&B guests left both Mr. and Mrs Boss busy, so I was left with Mr. Boss' share of the chores, which include feeding the wethers.

Wethers are neutered bucks, and it is my opinion they never stop growing.  Those boys are huge.  Several of them could easily be ridden to the capital and back, although by the time they reach that size they are rather elderly, they don't lack in spirit when the grain hits the trough.

Mr. Boss, being a tough man, even though into his 70's, chooses to feed the wethers en masse, putting down two window box style feeders on the fence. Inside the wether pen, meaning one has to go into the pen to dump the grain.

This has never really been an issue for me, the boys are pushy as is the wont of goats in sight of anything yummy, but despite being eligble for AARP myself, I have managed fine in the past.

Mr Boss over the years has had his share of tumbles, and Mrs. Boss put me in my place when I once defended a repair I made to a hole when I explained I was worried for Mr. Boss.

"He can take care of himself," she had replied.

This past winter Mr. Boss had a huge gash in his forehead which the Firebird had noticed-when I was in the barn he kept it well covered with several caps until he bent down to pick up the dog dish, the hat slipped over his eyes, and he pushed it back over the gash and I saw it.

He looked at me and I said nothing, (for a change, I am known all around for my big mouth as my reader can readily understand)

Shortly after that, I had asked him, because the chore was falling to me, how he fed the wethers, and he described how much grain, where to hang the feeders, and then said, and "then you just try and stay on your feet!"

So I presumed the gash was a result of the boys and the ice and so on, in my own head.

At any rate, now you have the background information, today I had to feed the wethers.

I suppose I made them wait a bit longer than they are accustomed-I had asked Mrs. Boss if I should feed them right away or clean first, and she had said to clean first.

Well, being dandelion season, also known as "pis en lit" or pee the bed, the barn was soaked, and I spent some time before I got around to feeding the boys.

I went through my usual routine, and when I dumped the grain into the feeders there was a crush of 6 big- well over 200 pound-boys with horns... with me in the middle.

One of the places a feeder is hung is a two foot high bit of hog panel. One or more of them gave me a big shove from behind, and I went head first over the hog panel and saved my head by catching my palms on the cement on the other side.

Then I was in the inglorious position of feet on one side, hands down on the other, feeder under my stomach, and ass up in the air, with 6 hungry horned wethers trying to get the grain.

I couldn't go back with them behind, so I decided to pull my legs over the panels.

The first leg immediately became entwined in horns.

It felt like two separate goats' horns, and they were fighting over the grain under my stomach and here I was on my palms over the fence, ass up in the air, leg stuck between horns.

I thought of the guests having breakfast in the gazebo, "oh, breakfast AND a SHOW!"

Finally my leg was released and I finished crawling over the fence, picked up the grain can, and hobbled out of the pen without looking back, trying to laugh and not limp and muster as much little dignity I had left.

Mr. Boss seemed quite cheery when he poked his head out later...a nice little birthday present, Karma for calling your 70+ year old Boss unsteady on his feet.  Took awhile, but I think we are even now.

I told Mrs. boss what had occurred later, and she said, "no one said anything!" but then added, "It was quite the mob scene!"

I noticed the guests taking photos and video with some high-end equipment as they were leaving later, so I may "end up" on You-Tube in the future.  Literally.


Once all the farm chores were finally finished, I had to hurry home to take the Willow to a birthday party, which had come with the instructions, "bring bathing suit and boots."

The Willow is not a strong swimmer despite my efforts, nor had she had much riding experience other than one trip on the farm mare when the grandchildren visited,

"hold the reins like a hamburger," I told her-as I  had been instructed.

So I was a bit apprehensive.  I have found that a lot of parents were not subjected to the same safety standards to which I was growing up.

We have had rain all week, and rain today, so I called before the party for directions and to find out if bathing suit and boots were still necessary.

I introduced myself over the phone and asked to whom I was speaking and managed to find out it was indeed the girl's mother, whose name I was never  able to obtain.

I got directions, was left feeling a bit out of sorts, but attributed it to the fact there had also been a slumber party the night before and assumed the mother was short on sleep.

I thought I was lost, but we did arrive and I went in and introduced myself to the group of adults, never receiving a name in return, but being assured that was the party location and the girls were in another part of the house, I left promising to return at the time directed on the invitation.

At the appointed time I arrived and picked up the Willow, and she was no sooner in the car than she had her own tale of woe, involving another party-goer.

Several of the girls had gone to the barn to see the horses, and the Willow, being an experienced farm girl,had put on her boots.

Another girl, who had spent the night, had soaked her boots the night before, and today went to the barn in flip-flops.

The girls went into the stall.  The nervous mare stepped on the foot of the girl in flip-flops and tore the toenail right off her toe.

The birthday girl's mother did not, nor any of the adults, go to the barn with the girls, and one of the other girls carried the injured girl back to the house.

The other girls tried to call the injured girl's mother on the phone, and after several attempts, finally reached her and she said she would be there AFTER she went to the store.

The injured girl was still there when I left with the Willow.

Then I learned that Willow had, at some point, been on the back of BOTH the mare AND the stallion-with no saddle or halter, while they were in the barn.  No hard hat.

I was thankful I had told her that if she did get on a horse, to take a handful of mane and hang on, that it wouldn't hurt the horse, and if she fell off her butt or feet would land first, and no matter what, not to save herself with her hands (as I had done earlier in the wether pen).  I had a friend break an arm falling off my mare because she put her arm out.

So, call me an old stick in the mud, but I was taught, by professionals:

1.  ALWAYS wear a heeled shoe or boot in the saddle.

2. NEVER get on a horse without a hard hat or helmet.

3. NEVER get on horseback in a barn.

4. NEVER get near a horse with open toed shoes or barefoot.

5. If you have to walk behind a horse, speak and stay as close to their behind as possible, because if they try and kick you they can only bump you with their hocks.  You don't want to be three feet or more away because that is the impact zone.

6. Don't feed a treat to young ones from your hand, they will become nippers.  Put it in a bucket and let them eat from that.  If you do hand treat, keep your hands FLAT and fingers out of the way.  Fingers look like carrots!

These are safety rules for a REASON. Right now there is a young girl that will have a permanently disfigured toe because those rules were not followed.  And it is only luck that is the only girl to limp away with an injury.


Happy Full Moon

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