It's three o'clock in the afternoon.
The air is still and warm.
It's the kind of blue-sky, bird-song day that has us seeking shade.
I sit beneath Sampson, our 250+ year-old pine tree that stands outside our barn...
on an upside-down five gallon bucket.
Hose in my hand, only inches from my knees stands a very patient little horse...
Hot weather is here to stay, but our Littles have not yet completely shed out their winter coats.
I have decided to take matters into my own hands and remove the last little bit of winter
with the clippers.
Leaving the fringe on their bellies to serve as a fly barrier,
I remove as much hair from their backs and sides as is possible.
Where hair had been, lies winter's accumulation of dust and dirt.
Hence... bath time.
Red is first.
He's not enamored with the hose, but peppermint treats soon calm him
and he holds still enough to allow for a shower and sudsing.
Bath finished.... he is rewarded with a little hand grazing.
Hand grazing serves two purposes... reward and a bit of extra time for drip-drying.
The drier he is when he returns to the dry-lot,
the less likely he will decide to roll in the dust - negating the last half-hour's work.
Clean and no longer dripping, Red returns to the dry lot with the rest of the herd.
Ollie enthusiastically volunteers to be next.
He stands perfectly still as the big, noisy clipper removes what is left of his parka.
As Red watches through the fence, I start on Ollie's bath.
Ollie needs a bath more than anyone.
Spring grass has given him a case of diarrhea...
which he proudly carries, dried and crusty, on his legs and in his white tail.
I hose and suds, and hose and suds...
brush and hose, brush and hose,
suds some more...
After about a half hour of work his tail is finally clean.
I work conditioner into the long hairs until I can easily pass a brush from top to bottom.
His tail is once again white and silky... and the rest of him is clean as well.
Of all the horses, Ollie has always had a bit of an attitude.
It's the byproduct of being an orphan... no Mama to instill manners.
His earlier years (he's nine years old now) were much worse.
His demeanor in those years would pivot from pleasant to grouchy
at the drop of a hat... and with no provocation.
But now... he's older and wiser and much easier to get along with.
In fact, he's often the easiest when it comes to grooming.
This little guy is scared of absolutely nothing,
and so he stands still and just lets me fuss with him until I am finished.
We hand-graze and drip and then return to the dry lot to finish drying in the sun.
(While Red takes a nap in the newly chipped pine.)
Yesterday was a busy day on the farm.
Sampson's younger brother, who had lived in the front pasture until dying last year,
had been cut down this spring.
became my newest fairy garden
and his limbs were chipped
to be used as bedding in the dry lot.
There's nothing like napping on fresh-smelling pine chips.
And now the front pasture is neat as a pin.
While Hubbs was busy chipping up the pine branches,
I hauled and shoveled 3000 pounds of landscape stone to fill in
the newly dug walkway to the greenhouse.
Our project list is almost finished...
and it's a great feeling!