Monday, October 6, 2008

Poor Gibby

On Sunday, poor Gibby didn't get much of my attention, and he had to put up with dog trials going on across the street. The dogs were all Border Collies, and the sheep are the sheep that should be living next door to my barn, but aren't because the babies were dying. The shepherds guided the dogs with high pitched whistles and I'm sure that sound carried across the road to poor Gibby, alone in his dog pen.

Today, I had to drive down to the livestock auction to buy some hay. My horses forage in the pastures all winter, unless and until the snow is too deep, then I have to provide their forage in the form of baled hay. Last winter, I cleared out my hay loft and fed them that old hay, cleared it to the point that there are only about a dozen old bales stacked up in one corner - those are there for the cats to tunnel into. So, now that the weather is cool enough, it's time to acquire enough hay for at least a few months of feeding. I was shocked at the price of hay - I used to refuse to buy any for more than $2 a bale, today I paid $5.30 per bale. A very pleasant man, originally from Ontario, helped me load my 25 bales - which was wonderful because I learned that I'm not as strong as I used to be, but I had to unload the bales and put them into the barn by myself. Poor Gibby got to watch me from afar - I couldn't let him loose even though there were no hunters around because the lumberjacks were in the woods cutting down the trees.
I drove back to the woods to see how the work was coming. I got there just in time to see a beautiful old tree fall. It was shocking to
see the big earth mover in the woods. It was being used to drag the big logs out to the hay field. I saw only two big logs out there when I parked my truck, and I watched the third one dragged out. That big machine made a wide road through the woods and the fallen trees had already left a wide opening in the canopy so sunlight was hitting where it hadn't been seen for many years. I'm wondering how the wildflowers will be effected next spring - I haven't been back there for several springs, but I used to love watching the trillium and jack-in-the-pulpits give way to a carpet of adder's tongues.
When I came back for the evening feeding, Gibby really let me have it - jumping at me in a way he never has before. When I opened the gate and clipped the cable to his collar, he took off in a run as usual, but then came back and jumped next to me like a jumping jack, making a little cry deep in his throat. He even took my hand and then my wrist in his mouth. I think I was being given a really strong lecture. I played kong toss with him as long as I could stand it, several times he stopped playing and threw himself next to me to be petted and hugged. Then I deserted him to feed the chickens. He grabbed his long stick and started flinging it around, so I was glad I wasn't within range.
For the first time, Patches didn't spend her time at the farm barking at Gibby. I don't know what caused the difference today, but it was certainly much more pleasant - I could hear the gathering of the large flock of birds in the top of the huge old black walnut tree next to my house. It sounded like hundreds of birds, but they were so high up in the tree I couldn't see even one. They gather there for a couple days every fall and have done so for forty years, but I've never learned what kind of birds they are.
I'm going to have to spend more time with Gibby tomorrow, even though it's Bingo day and I have to go to the bicycle store to pick up my tricycle.

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