Wednesday, October 16, 2013


What do these three tools have in common?

Four other tools...

and a blue feed barrel.

So, last night we were woken multiple times by a horse banging on a feed barrel.  Usually, we can just open a window or shine a flashlight in the general direction of the barn, and the noise stops, but someone was on a mission last night.  My husband thought a horse was trapped in the fence panels, so we hiked all the way out there with our flashlight and much to my embarrassment, the neighbors were woken too.  I could hear one of them giving the other a play-by-play description of everything we were doing.

The horses were fine, but Bombay figured out that if he tugs on the feed barrel enough times with his teeth, the nuts and bolts loosen, and he can push it with his nose and slide it along the railing.  Normally, this would just be a fun game of abacus for him, but on this night he was trying to get to hay that fell underneath the barrel, and he couldn't contort his limbs well enough to reach, as long at the barrel was in the way.  We solved the problem of the banging by kicking all the horses out of the stalls and closing the gates so that they could no longer access the barrels.

I had hoped that would be the end of it, and we could now get some sleep, but then the dogs woke us up several times barking at something outside the window.  I gave up on sleep and just sat up watching TV.  Suddenly, the house started cracking and I heard footsteps on the back porch.  I turned on the porch light, but saw nothing.  A few minutes later I heard footsteps on the front porch.  I looked out and still saw nothing.  I'm pretty sure it was a large animal as opposed to a human, because a human would have stolen the tools we left out.

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty ill this morning from not getting much sleep.  Scrappy is also still ill.  I'm just leaving a leash on him because he's got diarrhea from eating out of the garbage and has to go out every few minutes.  I'm trying to potty train him again.  Sometime over the past few months, he has stopped letting me know that he needs to go outside, and started running into a carpeted hallway to relieve himself.  I caught him red-handed today, and scared the poor dog.  He startled, stepped in his mess, and tracked it throughout the house.

But, I know you all don't read my blog to hear about diarrhea and my life-long occupation of cleaning carpets, so I'll get on with the best part of the story.

I took some tools out to the barn to tighten down the nuts and bolts on all the feed barrels so that everyone in the neighborhood can sleep tonight.  Rock's barrel was particularly difficult to tighten because it had two different types of screws and hadn't been tightened in a while.  I was bending over the barrel ratcheting a bolt on the outside while holding the end of the screw on the inside of the barrel still with a screwdriver when Rock walked up behind me, draped his head over my shoulder and pushed his chest into my butt.

I didn't complain or shoo him off, because I've kind of been swinging back and forth between these hot flashes and cold spells of menopause, and I was feeling a bit chilled at the time.  His fur was quite warm and he was gently huffing his hot breath in my ear.  Lostine wandered over and grabbed my wrench with her lips and tried to help me turn the bolt.  Then Gabbrielle walked up and put her teeth on another bolt I hadn't tightened yet and tried to tighten it herself.

When I finished with the one side, Rock reached down and tested the tightness of the barrel by pulling it up at the lip with his teeth.  It banged and shuddered, so I knew I had more tightening to do on the other side.  Rock discovered the pliers in my back pocket and tried to figure out how to use them.  Then Rock started giving me a massage, rubbing his muzzle all over my back and head.  Gabbrielle was licking my hand.  Lostine sniffed around to see if I dropped any hay during this project.

I wondered why Bombay wasn't in the midst of this silliness, but he was off on the other side of the arena participating in his own silliness by swinging a torn up Jolly Ball in circles with his mouth.  I moved around to the other side of the fence panel and bent over the barrel.  Rock now had my arms and hands on his side and he began licking them.  Gabbrielle found the screwdriver in my back pocket and pulled it out.  Then she dropped the screwdriver, grabbed my shirt and pulled it up to my neck to see if I had anymore tools hidden under there.  Rock tested out the tightness of the barrel one last time when I finished and stood up.  That thing wasn't going to budge, and I got his stamp of approval.

I was very appreciative that none of the horses tried to bite during all that nuzzling.  Rock has come a long way in learning better social behaviors.  He's a very loving horse.  I thought he was never going to show Lostine any respect after all those months when he chased her around and bit her repeatedly, but now they hang out together like Rock is the mare and Lostine is the foal.  He protectively wraps his neck over her and she follows him around like a puppy dog in love.


fernvalley01 said...

your "helpers " are priceless

Cindy D. said...

Good help is soooo hard to find! You are quite lucky! LOL