As you can see, this is not some tumbled down barn in the middle of nowhere. I am helping out at a place that, in and of itself, is an architectural wonder. In fact, Architectural Digest featured the building in their June 2010. Here’s the link: Mossy Creek Stables. It is a joy to drive down the dirt driveway every morning and see this structure and the life within.
The five horses are usually out of the barn, happily grazing in their paddocks when I arrive. As I turn of the lights and gather my tools, I’m greeted by the other residents whose paddocks are just outside the doors.
These are a just a few of my new “customers.”
Charlotte and Butler are the two rescued pot-bellied pigs. They aren’t sure what my purpose is in their lives and are a bit suspicious of my attempts at friendship. I love to pretend I’m not paying them any attention, while they grunt and snuffle through their hay. One of them, I prefer to think it is Charlotte, is brave enough to take treats from my hand. She shuffles over to me and her wet, wide snout carefully picks the carrot chunk from my outstretched fingers. The other, let’s just say she is Butler, refuses to come close enough, yet, she can catch a flying carrot chunk before it hits the ground.
The mini donkeys all came from the farm where I board my mares. Lilly is the spotted donkey. She is bold and curious toward me and rules the paddock. Donkey La Rue is the darker male. He brays sorrowfully to me as I clean the stalls where I can open the top of the back dutch doors. I coo softly to him, a tale of how handsome he is and he replies in harsh loud tones. Madaline is the “in-your-pocked-you must-have-treats sort. She looks longingly at me as I hang out over the door and converse with D La Rue. When I go out to their pen to distribute their “snack” hay before leaving, Madaline is the first to come up to me, all wet nose and big ears, to see what I have for her. I went from a six-figure job with Wall Street customers, to no-figures job and the most personable customers in the world. The gentle rhythms of their little lives do not involve stress or crisis.
My muscles scream from the exercise they haven’t had in many years. I used to shovel four stalls every morning on our Lunenburg farm. Years before, I shoveled stalls at the race track in Trinidad. I am an amazing barn cleaner. But that was many years ago and it is taking me some time to work back into the physical side of my daily chores. The psychological side comes so much easier.
Lessons learned in life and going back to what makes your day start right. At any price.