The large rickety barn door on the Maine farm creaks open.
Rattles, groans as you lift the latch holding it shut. To pour, splash, invade the shadows inside. During the early morning sunrise of long not so powerful rays this time of year.
The winter farm gate keeper, motel manager for four legged guests causing sunlight to enter the rows of standing stalls on one side. Larger category eleven and twelve roomier box stalls along the opposite wall of the barn. It’s feeding, haying, graining, watering time on the Maine farm.
You don’t get a morning off when you sign up for the raising critters life style of country living in Maine. Up before first light means you toddle off to bed a little earlier. To avoid the need, cattle prodding from an alarm clock. The animals expect a wake up visit. Turn, glad to see you for breakfast, any meal during the day.
Your pair of peepers squint, adjust to the lack of barn light before the old fashioned, outdated twist electrical switch is reached.
Stepping in,closing the home made door barely hanging on the hinges. As you gawk. Survey what some of the horses got into for mischief overnight. Checking on the mother due to be in boil water, tear up sheets, hard labor soon if your calculations are right. You and the vet have a little bet on that miracle of life about to be delivered on the Maine farm.
Watch the last standing stall on the right. That appaloosa kicks, bites, slams you into the wall if you don’t pay attention. There is a lot of room for improvement in his stable table manners. Like some people, his ears are always back, teeth bared, lips quivering. As he horses around, acts up for the wrong kind of attention. He’ll take whatever kind he can get, deserves. On the menu.
The second Maine farm barn box stall hay burner is very social.
But boredom, neglect, confinement causes its horse like human dysfunctions too. You add galvanized sleeves to the nibbled, exposed wood sections of the stall but good luck with that. You can’t wrap it all in metal.
Therapy for skinny rescue horses, learning what type of country music they enjoy. Getting them saddled up, out to trail ride. Or at least on the revolving end of a brightly colored lunge line into the fresh air. It all helps create peace, contentment. Breaks up a long Maine winter for the handler and horse combined.
After so many flakes from square bales are first, slowly lowered to avoid breakage, then oh crap happening. Losing one side, or both un-gluing of bailing twine packaging. Stored in the stable’s adjoining big Maine farm barn hay mow loft. Stacked, racked, jacked up the conveyor off the truck or tractor wagon. After compression into short rectangles, collected and parked inside on the hottest day of the Maine summer.
After the hay dealing meals from your wheels, the right mix of grain, and hold your horses on the watering to absorb, not flush all those nutrients on purpose delay. It’s wheel barrel time.
To clean out what went in from the other end.
Filling, emptying multiple, endless wheelbarrows of cedar shavings and straw. Getting a barnyard work out more of a healthy habit when the mercury is sinking, sitting low in the tube. More so in the winter when it is too cold, or raining. Too windy for the steeds, horses, ponies to be out in the open weather elements. Even with a lean to horse hovel, three sided run in to avoid the worst of it.
The spring, summer, fall turning out, emptying of the stable means a reprieve. Less runs up and down the fertilizer pile. The one you really have to give it all you got during take off. To make a run for it. A quick heave ho, put your back into it lift off. Up the series of planks, the twisting narrow roadway airstrip.
The steaming, growing taller organic food for the vegetables. Forming out behind the Maine farm barn. Less visited when grass is green, growing. But used as the take it easy. Helping the horses avoid too much rich clover early on when like drunken sailors of eat, drink and be merry. That’s part of one grazing session chapter. Talked about, studied in your Maine farm operators job description manual too.
Moderation, good luck teaching that to a a Maine farm pleasure horse.
Who wants another apple, carrot, rub behind the ear. To be curry brushed, tail and mane combed out from those burdocks. All the time. That tangled in their coarse hair needing soaking in the pail of water to loosen up, disintegrate and let go. The feet one by one to be tapped just so, lifted. Picked up, held between chest and one arm. Hoof picked with the other while checking for ailments. Scrapes, dings, grazes, bites needing salve, love and attention. As you reach for the Bag Balm green square tin of protection. That helps when it hurts.
Ride me, take me for a spin those big brown eyes, sometimes one with an non matching different looking pale blue gray lone, maybe a pair of watch eyes pleads. As Flicker, Trigger, Big Lady or Briar snort, stomp, push up against you and act frisky. Wanting, needing to run, fill those big lungs with fresh air. Kick up their heels like you and I need to do as often as possible. Did you grow up around, do you now own horses, other critters or want to be on a Maine farm for the simple country living lifestyle?