Sunset is like 4:30 pm in the winter, so chores are usually finished in the dark (persistent procrastination is the topic of another blog, or will be whenever I get around to it). Chores are amusing here; Hay is stashed in all kinds of barns and rooms in barns, connected via obscure pathways, staircases, and shortcuts. Hey, we’re making do with what we have!
As I headed out last night for the lower barn, I debated going the long way and turning on the lower barn lights first, or just taking a flashlight, and the shortcut, down to the lower hay stash, to throw some out to the hordes below. I opted for the latter, as the shorter path (read ‘lazy’) and entered the barn above, from the side.
It’s a short trip through the first room, which used to be very scary before I knew each creak and object; and I stepped into a hole in the wall and onto a lowered ladder with confidence. This leads to the old milking parlor, an unstable floor but useful for packing with hay, as long as one knows where to step. I am brave now! I skipped halfway down before a heard a noise. Standing on what I realize is a very rickety ladder, surrounded by stacks of hay and narrow aisles, I am aware that I am not alone. All those little hairs stand up on my neck. Something is there. Some mysterious huge creature is breathing very close in front of me. Or was breathing, until hearing me, and we both paused, mid-inhale, and waited. And that second became very very long, and every Stephen King story flooded back, and every awareness of being a foolish girl standing alone in a decrepit barn floods your cells. OH, I knew this was a huge mistake. I mean, how long would it take for someone to even find my dead eaten body, out here in nowhere? What was I doing up here in the country anyway? How foolish was I, that now I had caused my own demise at the hands of some scary creature now hiding in the hay stacks?
My heart skipped. Followed by a small snort; was that a horses’ warning sound? A small shuffling…of a hoof? The smell of black hide. And the invisible creature just in front of me took form. “MOLLY?!?”I say, with hope…It was Molly. We both sighed with palpable relief. I am such a wuss.
Molly and Finn had broken into the hay loft, aka the ‘old milking parlor’, and wedged themselves in the stacks for an all you can eat buffet, in an area that they should not have been able to fit. “Didn’t you have enough hay outside Molly?”. Apparently not, she snuffled happily in my direction. Head to head, they could not exit easily or quickly, but stood there pigging out. Fortunate that we all knew each other, and recognized each other, before any of us three bolted. It took a minute to get to the door (around Finnys giant tushie) and get it open again, sufficient to back Finn out, then get Molly to follow. All in the dark. They were amiable enough, too stuffed to care much and just glad I hadn’t been a lion coming down the ladder to eat them. I secured the gate and added another 2 x 4 across the opening. We proceeded to join the herd without incident, altho’ when I was leaving, my heart still a little light, Molly did have a bit of a pout on her pretty perchie face. Lead mares, I swear.