It was a different kind of a weekend for both Diva and me as she was left in the care of her Auntie Sue and I headed down to my sister’s house as she and her partner were going to a wedding. Little did I know that it would be the smallest of their menagerie that would give me the most trouble.
I travelled down on the Friday night and Michelle and Paul were up and away early on Saturday after seeing to the early morning needs of their animals. The first creatures I had to look after were their two dogs: Basil, a Saluki, and Bertie, a Bedlington terrier. I had walked them with Paul before they set off, and I have to say the dogs were very hard work to care for – not! Honestly, they just slept and slept and slept! They changed positions and, occasionally, the chairs they were on and that was it! They only moved when I got their leads to go for a lunchtime walk.
My real chores started in the evening. I checked the two thoroughbreds, Treat Yourself and Mr Syntax, out in the field. They were content and had lots of hay still. I then mucked out Florence and Jackson, who were having a day in to help keep their waistlines in check with the autumn flush of grass. The feeding requirements of the thoroughbreds and the native/cold blood pair couldn’t be more different. The latter get plump at the drop of a hat and need careful management when the grass is growing rapidly.
With Florence and Jackson done, I was just going back into the hayshed when TeeTee the stable cat objected strongly to not being fed before the pesky horses by lashing out and tugging at my T-shirt. I was just pleased it wasn’t my bare legs! Needless to say I quickly put her food down for her.
My sister has quite a few bantam chickens, both Pekins and the very rare Nankins. Unfortunately, I have a little phobia about chickens which started when I was working on a yard with every shape and size of hen and cockerel running about the place, many of which would attack you as you went to empty the wheelbarrow.
I didn’t realise just how unhappy I was about close contact with them until I went to shut them in their huts for the night. All went well, with sleepy chickens roosting on their perches, until the final hut. The door wouldn’t slide shut properly due to some shavings being in the runner. I opened the roof to push it out of the way to be confronted with a decidedly not sleepy hen who obviously did not want me to be in her house! After several failed attempts when I bottled it each time she took a step towards me, I remembered there was a small plastic shovel in the hay shed. Thus armed I could clear the runner for the door without the hen getting to me. Phew! Rather embarrassing, I know, as they are tiny and Michelle informed me the next day that that hen is the friendliest one of them all! I was just happy to get back on the sofa with the dogs and watch a couple of films. LOL!
As always when I don’t see my own animals, it was lovely to go to the yard this evening and give Diva, Mabel and Julius a cuddle. Having someone you trust look after your animals when you are away is so important, and I know Auntie Sue will look after them as if they are her own, and the yard will always step in too if she can’t help.