My husband and I adopted two horses from a rescue in Rockwall, Texas a few months ago. We already have 6 donkeys, lots of dogs, 2 inside cats, a barn cat and her unofficial friend, and 4 hens.
Some people wonder why anyone would want so many animals. My question is why wouldn’t anyone want as many animals as they could have? I have always loved animals- really any kind of animals. Heck, we even have coyotes in the woods behind us. One day one was in my yard looking for food. What a beautiful animal she was. But,she was starving and a mama at that. I did not occur to me it was a coyote until I realized how scared she was. Coyotes are intensely afraid of humans. In fact, the only time they come out in the day is if they are hungry or sick. She finally scampered off, too afraid to take the food I offered her. I can honestly say I have only been afraid of one animal. A boxer. I was jumped by a boxer when I was a little girl and I’ve been afraid of them ever since. I’ve never gotten close enough to another one to resolve my fear. Maybe one day.
My husband, Stephen, used to be the one to feed the donkeys . He also fed Prince, the barn dog and Barn Cat. I thought the object of having a barn cat was to eat the rats, but I was mistaken. I took care of the inside animals…until… we adopted Licorice, the Tennessee Walking Horse and Houdini, the miniature horse. They changed my life … and my mind.
I wake up about seven in the morning and begin feeding the animals before tasting my morning coffee. I feed the donkeys, the horses, water all animals, check for eggs, wash out the henhouse and freshen the water kept for the dogs. Then I just go about my day. I don’t mind waiting a while for my coffee. Most days, the animals start my day off perfectly, so no worries.
I go about the day, cleaning here and there, maybe folding clothes – maybe doing nothing, if I choose. At one o’clock, I watch General Hospital- a show I’ve watched for over 50 years. Yep, I’m a charter member of the club. At four o’clock, I’m in for an hour of Judge Judy. Judge Judy is my hero! She says what she means and means what she says and that’s something these days. After Judge Judy- feeding time.
I’ve really gotten to where I love this time with my animals. Since Houdini is a bit heavy for a miniature horse, he only gets grass or hay , but I must tie him up while Licorice eats pellets because he loves to eat her food. She is a feisty 22 year old horse and needs to have the additional pellets to keep the weight on. While she eats, I go feed Bambi, who has just become a mama donkey for the second time. The other donkeys get hay – pellets in the morning, but not so they become overweight. It is never good to have an overweight donkey. After I feeding everyone, I sit in the pastures , watching Licorice eat.
Licorice has a funny little ritual during feeding time. When I bring her food, she waits at the gate, nickering- welcoming me – the food. She turns circles at the gate until I whisper gently, “Back girl- get back.” She backs off from the gate while I open it and set the food down. She dives in, nosing some of the food out of the bowl, and stomping her right leg. Pawing the ground, she eats her food quickly. She is not a dominant horse and she will walk off if Houdini say, were to walk up behind her. She is much larger than he, but he’ll get her food. I sit in my lawn chair and marvel at this animal. She is majestic.
After eating, Licorice saunters over to the salt block, and licks for a good two minutes before she gets a long drink of water. Back to the salt lick, and back to the water. She eats a little grass and then comes to my chair for a pet on her brow as if to thank me for feeding her.
So, the truth of the matter is that my afternoon ritual
especially, is the most relaxing part of the day. There is nothing quite like sitting in the pasture, hot wind blowing in my hair, watching my animals being nourished with food while I am being nourished by God.