This week started out really rainy! I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do at the barn but I went anyway. I’m slowly getting to know the routine and the chores that are needed so I don’t always have to ask for guidance. But at the beginning of the week the stall were all clean, and you can’t groom horses in the rain or do most of the other outside chores. So I tidied up a bit in the break room and called it a day. Later in the week the weather was better, although still kind of cold and windy, so I was able to meet a few more horses and do some grooming.
I also learned a lesson in gate etiquette. I was helping tack up some tarps across the fence posts in one of the donkey pens, and when I left the pen and secured the gate I pulled the chain just a bit too tight. Sherry, one of the regular staff, asked me to come over and look at the chain and I realized that I had pulled it too tight and it couldn’t easily be pulled loose so the gate would open. Yikes! I locked Sherry and Angelica in with the donkeys! Luckily, they were able to get the chain loosened, and it was a good lesson for me to pay better attention to how a gate is secured. After all, as Sherry pointed out, they don’t have to be locked up like Fort Knox. :-)
I did a bit more rail painting with the oil and with the wind that day I did a good job of getting oil splatters all over myself. I also spent some time working on the potted plants near the front of the facility. It never hurts to make a good first impression for people driving in. A well-tended facility lets people know that you care, and that means you care about the animals, too.
To that end, I helped Sherry clean up around the outside of the barn where a lot of dirt and hay accumulates. The stalls were being rented for the weekend for a horse event next door, so we were making sure everything was ready. I also filled the pond, which is a giant green water trough that sits in between one of the pens and one of the pastures. I’m gradually getting to know where things are and what needs to be done. There is never a lack of chores! Since so many people were going to be driving in Debora had me take a big bar magnet on roller wheels and roll it over the whole parking area to pick up stray nails and pieces of metal. I love this thing! I want one for my house. You just roll it around until you’ve picked up a bunch of metal, then roll it to the side, pull up on the handle and all the metal bits fall off. Then take it back out and keep rolling!
Laura Weise is a Wings volunteer who lives in Stevensville and will be bringing you stories of life at the barn.