Mr O has finished work, so now the holidays can begin. And they began with... more snow! The horses are bored with it now, and have got into the routine of only going out in the mornings while we muck out. It was white with fog again today. The horses retreat to the very back of the field by 11am and refuse to come down when we call them, so we have to walk all the way up there through the snow, and drag them down. But they don't eat or drink up there, so I have laid the law down with Barnaby and explained that he and his men would be coming in, so I can be a good provider to them.
After the 'warming Max's rug' scenario the other night, I have increased the horses' feed since the snow started. I want to know they are going out and going to bed with something filling in their tummies. Honestly, it's worse than having kids. But I have noticed here, more than at Lorna's, that the horses expect Barnaby to provide for them, and he in turn, expects me to provide for him, and I intend to live up to his expectations and be a good leader. I have noticed him looking at me affectionately this last few days, so maybe it's working. I rugged him up last night and he looked back at himself as if to say, 'Oh, is that what I'm wearing?' and seemed quite pleased.
They have been coming in with ice tightly compacted into their hooves, and I have had to wrench it out with a hoofpick every day, otherwise they are sliding on the floor, and it can't be very comfortable for them, can it? Yesterday I picked up Zak's off-fore and noticed a deep cut in his hoof. I've realised it's a bad overreach. I bandaged it up yesterday, having put wound powder on it, so we'll have to keep an eye on it, as it's quite deep. I don't want it to get infected.
I have emptied Zak's uneaten feed onto the lid of the dustbin, which makes a very good bird table. There is something about his feed (it's for weight gain) that must be very appetizing, as Tessa will tip his bucket over and eat what's left in it, and I tip it on the ground for the chickens to finish up, so I thought I'd make use of it and give it to the robins. I was filling the water buckets from my kitchen window and opened the curtains while I stood there, to reveal Tigger on the dustbin, chewing thoroughly on the bird food. I love my cats, but I want these birds to stand a chance, so I shoo'ed him away.
Not long afterwards, the first robin appeared, then the second, then the third! What is going on? And then, to my surprise, a big, fat mamma blackbird appeared and scattered them. She looks 'heavy with child' to me, and is clearly eating for three. You don't mess with her. The poor robins don't get a look-in. So today I have scraped the snow off the garden table and put extra feed on there, as the blackbird can't guard both places at the same time, so the robins will still get something to eat. Today Mr O realised what I was up to, but it was too late. He'd commented on how fat the robins looked, and said he wasn't surprised if they were scoffing Allen and Page Weight Gain. It's a wonder they can take off, they're so podgy.
After we'd got the horses back in, we ventured out in the snow, across the first field to the dry stone wall, where I made Mr O climb over the electric fence and cut me down some holly. We got enough for us and for Missis. We waded back, having risked life and limb, and I arranged the holly in my galvanised bucket, which is now in the sitting room, looking exactly like a Christmas tree. I might jazz it up a bit if I get time, but it looks very good. Missis managed to get me some mistletoe, which is hanging in the sitting room window, so everything is exactly how I wanted it now.
We went out for some last minute food shopping at the supermarket, and then went up to Highfields Farm Shop. I love it in there. They sell venison and wild boar sausages and haggis. We bought a huge pork pie, and some sausages and bacon, so we can have a big breakfast after we've mucked out tomorrow. The snow on the way back was horrendous. The fog was getting worse, and had come down to meet the snow, so it was just a wall of white everywhere. I'm glad we stuck to the main roads. We won't be riding tomorrow, that's for sure.
I have a feeling I have enjoyed the preparations for Christmas this year more than I am going to enjoy the day itself, as we won't be seeing the grandchildren until Sunday. Mr O rang Abby and Ebony answered the phone. Ebony asked, "Is that Father Christmas?" Mr O said, "No, it's Grandad." Ebony said, "Oh, what do you want then?"
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