I got to spend a relaxing weekend at home this weekend, just me and the animals. Paul was on a camping trip that I declined to attend...too many ends to tie up with leaving a bunch of critters at home, and I just needed a break.
It was fantastic. I hit the "Grand Re-opening" sale at the Farm Store in Chehalis for some supplies and got a major hook-up on dog and cat food and treats, thanks to the vendor tables there. Free stuff is always a bonus! After that I headed up the freeway, back of the car loaded with dog food, chicken layer pellets, a new feeder and a hoe (oh, how it shines!), and met my mom and step-dad at the Olympia Farmer's Market. I loved to see all the local (to me!) vendors selling their gorgeous wares in the stalls...farms from Adna, Elma, Chehalis, Tenino and Yelm were duly represented. I bought some greens from Tenino and some jam from Chehalis. Yum!
I got to spend the rest of my time outside at home (in between coordinating loads of laundry). One corner of our yard remains in shade most of the day and was just screaming for a lounging space, so I moved two lawn chairs, a little table and two footstools there, and spent a couple hours both days relaxing with my magazines, enjoying my surroundings. (And giggling as the dad kitty-corner across the street yelled - "That's it, EVERYONE out of the pool" about 20 minutes after putting the thing together!)
Being home and outside in view of the paddock gave me some valuable time to watch the cows without them realizing they were being watched. As I posted previously, we've got our hay in, and that's primarily what they're eating now, since the pasture pickings are very slim. (Unless you like brittle grass.) Wednesday they were barely interested in the flake Paul set out behind one of their favorite trees, and the bale we set out Thursday took until Friday afternoon to disappear (and that's a relative term...there was quite a bit of waste on the ground; we need a hay feeder). Now it's the cat's meow (or cows' moo?).
Friday evening I drug out a fresh bale, removed the strings, and cast it about in a poor imitation of Sheila the other day (I lack horns, of course). When I returned from the farmer's market Saturday, they weren't eating the hay...no, they were looking guilty and suspicious over by a corner of the barn. What's up? I scurried over there, and discovered that I'd forgotten to close the stall door (where most of the hay is), and one or both had pulled a bale out of the stall and around the corner, and both had eaten about a third of it! I ran them both off a few feet, pulled the strings around what remained, and put it back in the stall. This time I closed the door tightly. Sheila was like, "What the heck? Where'd that hay go?" She walked back and spent some time checking out the door. I'll bet she was really wishing she'd had opposable thumbs, or a buddy who could open that darn door. Ha!
Yesterday afternoon, I looked up from my outdoor reading to see Bridgit's backside sticking out of the barn (yes, the barn door I didn't think she could get through). The little dickens had figured out how to get her front half in far enough to pull hay out of the ends of the bales stacked inside the main part of the barn. Drat! I shooed her off (took some doing, she didn't want to go), and slid a giant, awkwardly cut piece of plywood in front of the door. As of this morning it was still there, although I'd be surprised if she doesn't figure out how to knock it over.
The girls are getting their fill of fresh greens this weekend. I ripped out the expired pea plants and tossed them into the compost bin, which sits dangerously close to the paddock fence. I gave Bridgit a few stems (Sheila was too far away to notice), and she got so excited that when I failed to follow suit with more nummy green things, she stuck her horns in the wire fence and rattled them around at me! Sheesh! Eventually she got bored, and since I had a bunch more pea plants to pull and was sweating up a storm, I walked away. Later, I discovered both Sheila and Bridgit leaning over the fence into the compost bin, pulling out mouthfuls of pea plants! Sheila's the only one big enough to get a good reach, and once the pea plants were done for, she was right back in there, seeing what her big, rough, powerful tongue could reach. I handed over some field bindweed (morning glory relative, only white, and a big ol' pain in the butt), and that kept her busy.
Paul came home from the camp out last night with three garbage bags full of corn husks and silk. He dumped a pile in the paddock (Sheila came running, her ear-whisps and dossan (bangs) whipping in the wind), and that kept the girls occupied for about 30 minutes. Little do they know there's a bunch more where that little snack came from. Bridgit got so excited at the sight of the pile of green stuff that she jumped and kicked like a calf. It was so funny!
I'll post pictures tonight...you need to see the full effect of corn silk hanging out of their mouths!