Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Tails From the Farm

Back in Business

It took a few hundred bucks and many hours, but the big machine is repaired and in great running order again … thank goodness. Sure, it cost a ridiculous amount for a short piece of hose and some fittings, then even more when it didn’t fit and another short length had to be purchased to make it work. You see, it’s often a bit difficult to get parts, when what you’re repairing has some age to it. This hose needed to have a particular L-shaped fitting that wasn’t available and though some length was added to the first hose, it just didn’t work, hence the need for the added bit. Thankfully, the addition did the trick.
It’s pretty great to have a handy husband who can pretty well repair or build anything, even better when the kids can pitch in and help. The boychild used to help with breakdowns a good deal, now the girlchild is the main helper. No slouch, she can help with mechanical breakdowns and pretty well anything that her brother used to do. Having a girl who is as handy as her brother is pretty great. There’s no reason, a girl can’t do all kinds of things. It’s particularly great to be handy and self-reliant. To be able to do your own repairs, to not have to run to a shop for every little thing, is not only a huge money saver, it’s empowering.
Anyway, the machine we absolutely rely on for so many things is back in business, and just in time, too. We feed large, round bales. When the machine is down, we can’t put any out and have to feed by hand. Feeding by hand is a lot of work, but even more so when three out of four people don’t feel well. Thank goodness the old fellow is the one who isn’t ill, because there’s no sick, like man-sick. So we were able to put out bales today, and it was a huge relief, not only for us, but for the horses as well. Aurora showed me how she tries to open gates by putting her shoulder into it. Honestly, I don’t know where or when she learned to do such a thing, but she put her shoulder against that gate and pushed … repeatedly. She was just like a person who was putting their shoulder against a stuck door, and putting their all into getting it to open.
“Aurora, cut it out.”
“Feed me,” she whinnies in reply then immediately pushes against the gate again.
“Aurora, stop that. I’ll give you some hay, give me a second will you?”
“Feed me too,” Jim plaintively whinnies. That big horse has a whinny of pure desperation that creates an instantaneous feeling of guilt in anyone who hears it. Obviously, he’s truly suffering in some way. This time, it was because he was hungry. The pair of them are used to eating twenty-four seven. With the machine broke down, they didn’t have a buffet bale to pick from. They had to wait for us humans, to feed them.
“Fine, I’ll feed you,” I said as I hurried to the hay before Aurora wrecked the gate, “Give me a second, will you? That means both of you.”
They didn’t quit until I threw in some hay. It wasn’t time to feed everybody, so I hurried back to the house, before a complete uproar happened. Those darn horses think that every time they see a human, they’re getting fed, and it wasn’t time. As it was, they all hollered after me as I hurried back towards the house. It may be crazy, but they can make me feel so incredibly guilty.
After snow was cleared outside of pens as well as in some of them, it was time to put bales out. Just in time, too. The horses were ever so impatient for big bales. They’re huge fans of all you can eat. I have to take a step back, a day back, as a matter of fact. When I went out to do chores, I saw horses bucking and running like maniacs in excited anticipation. In the furthest pen were Donni and Max, also running mad circles around their pen. Initially, I thought they were simply playing, until I realized that Max was putting the chase on Donni. It was unbelievable, because Max hasn’t been one to stand up for himself. He’s preferred to edge his way in to eat alongside others, and with only Donni to deal with, it had been going fairly well. She’d threaten and posture, he’d stay out of reach, and she’d forget about being witchy. They’ve been together for months now, for the most part sharing feed and the shelter without any real issues. They were the perfect pair to house together, one bossy, one non confrontational, until that very moment. I don’t know what changed, or if some switch was flipped, but Max was chasing Donni around like he meant to do her serious harm.
I had to put a stop to it, and quick. With all the snow that had blown in overnight, the water trough was hidden from view and I could see that Donni had skimmed right by it. As I hurried over with some hay to keep Max busy, I could see that he’d almost put her through the fence as well. For some reason, he’d suddenly decided to stick up for himself, and he was taking it to the extreme. Though the hay did distract Max, if I entered the pen, he immediately wanted to chase Donni. I needed a second set of hands. Sweetpea had run with her father to get the extra parts for the big machine. I hoped they were on the way back. Fortunately, they weren’t far and would be home very soon. With her to help, we could safely get Donni out and moved to a different pen.
Poor Donni, she took one look at sweetpea and hurried to her. Forgetting all about the danger of what Max could do, all she wanted was out. Sweetpea however, was carrying more hay into the shelter to keep Max busy. One step at a time was the safest thing to do. First Max, then Donni could be put back with the other mares.
Well, from the look of poor Donni’s big, blonde rump, Max gave her a good boot for every threat she ever made at him. In fact, he may have kicked her for every threat any horse had ever made to him. It was the strangest thing. It was as if they’d completely changed personalities. So, Max no longer had company, and Donni was back with her friends.
Max is a funny horse. He changes his personality at the drop of a hat, which is very strange for a horse that was for all intents and purposes, nothing but passive. His pen had to have some snow moved in it. The fence along one side had shrunk overnight. The water trough had disappeared under a huge drift, and Max didn’t care that there was a giant machine in his pen. Not only did he not care, he wouldn’t move. I had to warn hubby not to go too close to the gelding. The last thing we need is a vet bill, or worse. It took some shushing and encouragement before he finally agreed to move into a corner and actually stayed there, while the machine lumbered around and did its work.
It’s such a good feeling to know they corrals are full of feed, the fences are safe and Donni won’t get beat up by Max. Everything is as it should be. We’re back in business.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB