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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March enters like a lamb

We may have another three weeks to go until spring officially arrives, but all this thawing and melting is afflicting more than one species with spring fever.
Last week, the Farmer and I were at our regular riding lesson, but the horses had a few surprises in store for us. My assigned horse, Abby, was in heat. Taking me for a trot around the ring was the last on the list of things she wanted to do. She fussed when we tightened her girth, repeatedly stopped to chat with other horses, and when I gave her the signal to trot, she decided to show me a canter. I had to hang on for dear life.
My inner thighs hurt for two days after that lesson. I discovered muscles I haven’t used in years.
Deb says I did just fine. I think I’ll give the horse a week or two to get normal again before I climb back into the saddle.
On the homefront, we have two cows that are supposed to have been bred back in July, but they are taking turns dancing with the new bull as if they are in heat. Unfortunately, the bull has not figured out that he is supposed to take the lead in this particular dance. And the cows are much bigger than he is. I hope they don’t hurt him or damage his ego.
Thank you to everyone who sent a name suggestion in for this new addition to the Fisher farm family. My favourites were: Coal, Angus, and Romeo. The Farmer says that the name Romeo brings to mind an image of someone in a smoking jacket, with a cigar and a pizza. I’m not sure where the pizza comes in...
I’m leaning toward the name Angus. The bull is a black Angus, after all, and I grew up listening to the music of Angus Young and AC/DC. Young Angus. It’s as good a name as any.
After breaking out of his bull pen within hours of his arrival, Angus has settled in quite nicely among the cows. Despite Betty’s bullying and head-butting, he likes to stay with the herd. Mocha is his favourite: they are always side-by-side.
We have another month to go before the new calves arrive, if in fact either of our cows are pregnant. It’s so hard to tell, and they are acting so strangely around Young Angus, I don’t know whether they are expecting or just plain fat.
It will be a nice surprise if April rolls around and someone gives birth.
We had the rams locked up into December, so we shouldn’t see any more lambs born until the snow is all gone. I’m looking forward to a lambing season where we don’t have to worry about frozen newborns. It will be nice to start them in the pen with their mothers and then turn them out into the new green pasture when they are weaned at eight weeks.
Our horses, Ashley and Misty, are acting quite spirited these days also. The warmer weather puts a spring in their step, and leads to mischief.
We have survived our first winter with all the animals together, in the same fields, eating from the same feeders. The hierarchy has definitely been established, with the big Belgians ruling over the cows, sheep, and donkey.
They seem to know that spring is coming. There is a lot more vocalizing going on, as if they are asking each other, “did you hear that bird? What is that smell?”
On sunny days, the horses lie on the bed of hay that the sheep have pulled from the feeders, and put their noses right down on the ground. The sheep lie in a domino chain, each one with her nose on the back of the sheep in front of her. I tried to get a picture of this but they had moved by the time I returned from the house with my camera.
We live in the best country in the world, and I wouldn’t trade the four seasons for anything. They help to mark the passage of time and to instill memories. And this past winter was more of a lamb than a lion. It wasn’t bad at all.

-30-

1 comment:

Shirley said...

Hello:
My sister Gloria lives in Carleton Place and previously in Kemptville, ON.
May I have your permission to use your article about the horse and the photo of you?
I am compiling the April issue of my nature group's journal called, Feathers 'n Petals which is a reader contributed monthly journal.
Thanks very much. E-mail reply to:
shirleymflanagan@aol.com