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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Diary of a winter day

12:30 p.m.

Winter, ah! winter.  I find myself wondering why my son has my snowblower and I'm shoveling out.  How did that happen?

My horses spent the night under the barn.   I know this because I got up at 3:00 in the morning, wondering if both the barn doors were open or if I'd closed one of them, wondering if they were in and I could close them both.  Only one was open, so I struggled my way around the barn, down the hill, and there they were, contentedly munching away.  The goats were snug in their stall, out of the wind  the blowing snow.  Of course, being the curious souls that they are, they had to investigate.  "What are you doing here this time of night?  Is it time for grain?  Can we help?"  I told them no and locked them in so they wouldn't follow me.

There's something to be said for these big old barns. I'm able to fill the under-barn feeders through a trap door,
Ready to fill the feeder.

Both feeders filled and ready to close the trap doors
and the critters are out of the wind there--and boy! is it ever windy! 
Blowing snow--click to see more detail
The horses finally traipsed through the drifts to come into the barn, which is filled with snow from the wind blowing through the door, left open because they were under the barn.  Bad horses!

The sun came out for a moment, peeking around the clouds, but I don't think it's any more excited about the blowing snow than I am, for it went back into hiding once again.  I'm just about ready to tromp out there again, dig the path again, put out more hay, and fill the stock tank with water.  I can hardly wait.

2:49 p.m.

I'm dug out for now.  With the wind, that may not last long.  All my barn chores are done and I can once again relax.

The barn was empty once I got out there.  Signs of critters were everywhere, but their presence was missing.  Would somebody please tell me why goats will leave a snug barn with two feeders that they have all to themselves and brave the elements merely to eat hay under the barn with the horses?
Hoofprints in the snow
Breaking trail
I'll give them this:  once they saw me wading down to where they were, and heard me calling, they realized I had broken more trail for them.  They did not want to face the wind, and face right into it they must to get back inside. 
Under the barn
The goats stand on the large slabs of granite
while the horses make do from the ground floor

They surprised me.  I had seen Violet turn around and go back under the barn,
Violet and Cassie, thinking about going to the barn
But a few minutes later, as I was ready to roll up the hose and finish up, here they came, just as pretty as you please, as if it were the most natural thing in the world--which, of course, it is.

Hay everywhere. BAD horses!
By then I had filled the under-barn feeders, topped the stock tank, picked up most of the mess the horses had left, made ready the grain for this evening and dug out my car. 

When I left the barn, it didn't look like the goats were interested in venturing forth again,
There's something about a large receptable that Beatrice can't resist.
And when there's hay in it, neither can Cassie.  Musical feeders, anyone?
but they do like being with the horses.  I'll find out at grain time.  Until then, I'm staying in.

8:30 p.m.

I grained and milked the goats at 5:00.  When I went out later, much to my satisfaction, the goats were in, snugged away in their stall, even though there was no trace of the horses.  How they can stand those 35 mph gusts of ice north wind is beyond me. I refilled the feeders through the trap door and left them to their own devices.  Me, I'm settling in for the night. 


  1. Oh I don't envy you having to work in all that snow! I LOVE your barn with the trap doors to the feeders!

    1. Me, too! The feeders and trap doors are a God-send. Those old Mainers knew how to build barns. I often wish, though, that my grandfather hadn't taken off the extension that connected the house and the barn.


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