Friday, May 28, 2010

Morning in the Barn

We were out in the barn early this morning, doctoring the spot Fay has on the left side of her neck.  Fay has skin issues every summer - always in the same place.  The hair comes out, leaving a little cirle of bare, irritated skin.  If the problem is not addressed, the circle grows bigger.   Peroxide and triple antibiotic ointment will clear it up, but it takes a few days of vigilant treatment.  The first treatment must hurt a little because she flinches.  But she stands still and lets us do our work.  I think horses know when you're trying to help them.  After two or three days - as the irritation subsides - Fay starts to enjoy the treatment.  By this time the spot is itchy and having it rubbed with oinment feels good.

When we finished with Fay, we led all three horses to the triangle pasture to spend the day grazing.  Back in the barn, we cleaned and limed the stalls, and spread out the wood shavings to cover the lime.  Lime and wood shavings are wonderful things.  They keep a barn from smelling like - - well, like a barn. 

Then I set to work cleaning the stall waterers while Jerry got on the tractor and leveled the midden heap on the other side of the pasture fence.  The supply of hay that we bought about a month ago has a fair amount of clover in it.  The horses love it, but we're not so crazy about it.  The dried clover leaves are not as neat as long strands of grass hay.  The clover goes everywhere and some of it always ends up in the water vessels.  If the vessels aren't drained and cleaned often, some kind of chemical reaction takes place that does not smell good.

While we went about our work, a pair of swallows was busy overhead, building a nest on a rafter.  The barn has four stalls.  Since we have three horses, we use the fourth stall to store hay.  This hay stall is a Home Depot for the swallows, wrens, and sparrows.  That's where they shop for materials to build their nests.  It's fun to watch them as they pick out just the right piece of hay or straw for their building project.  I sure hope the newly wed swallows like to eat spiders.  The spider population is getting out of hand.  But I guess that's probably the case in a lot of barns.

When we finished our work, we sat in the barn aisle - in front of the big fan - and talked about how hot it is.  I think work in the barn needs to start even earlier than it did this morning - to get ahead of the heat.

No comments: