I will not lie to you: It’s been hot here– hot and humid and relentlessly so until just yesterday when tropical storm Emily swept through, dousing the Tampa coastal area and Orlando, but leaving us dry and cooler than we have been in weeks and weeks. It makes me feel a bit guilty for complaining now, but not so much so that it will stop me. We are hip wader-deep into a Florida summer and everyone has been showing the effects of the heat. It is my job to make things better and I try, but I am getting grumpy in the process which doesn’t really matter because my animals are self-centered and demanding — exactly as I’ve taught them to be — so life goes on just the same, grump or not.
The horses are hardest hit as they have the least amount of reprieve; the barn, even with all fans blasting, is only degrees cooler than outside. They prefer the shade of the big oaks and seek barn shelter only under threat of the afternoon rain storms.
Boo and Belle are a different story. Because of his metabolic condition, Boo has a hard time thermo-regulating and extremes of weather are no good for him. So, in addition to the stall fan, Boo and Belle have a “swamp cooler” fan. If it’s running, they are in front of it and lately, it’s been running 24/7. Boo also gets regular full-body clips to keep his thick coat of hair (again, a product of his metabolic disease) sheared off and alcohol/water baths in the afternoon. You find all of your scratched bug bites and skin cuts from the day when you give an alcohol bath to a pony, but at least they are cleaned up in the bargain.
Beamer, my beautiful, black beauty is now my sun-bleached blonde. I don’t know why his coat is so affected by the sun, but the difference is startling. He doesn’t seem to mind though, as long as I still scratch him in all the right places.
And the dogs, well, they are most affected by the afternoon thunderstorms which were coming in on a daily basis for a while. Wrapping everyone up in their thundershirts and settling them in is a production and I never seem to time it right for them, but my very good excuse is that I had to run down to the barn to shuttle the horses into the barn before the big rains hit. By the time I am back up to the house, I am hot, sticky, dirty and usually drenched and the last thing that feels good is to lay down on the ground or the couch to be covered with a bunch of shaking dogs. But, grumpy or not, I do it because we wouldn’t all fit into the shower anyway.
The good thing about all of this rain is that the grass is green, green, green and growing. That’s the bad thing as well. The horses can’t keep up with the pasture growth so it needs to be mowed, some big section of it at least once a week.
The donkeys get a little grumpy about that. They think they should be given a fair chance at eating it all. Here are Elliott and I in a show down about what will happen to the grass. Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.
The other bad thing is that the grass is too rich for Auggie and so he has to wear a grazing muzzle for parts of the day. He is totally unamused by this and usually I find him standing dejectedly in the open stall…..like this…instead of out in his paddock slipping blades of grass through the opening in the middle of the muzzle. Auggie is an impatient fellow. And grumpy, like me, with the situation.
Bruno is not grumpy exactly, but Bruno does not feel well and the heat doesn’t help. He insists on making the morning trip to the barn with me, but spends most of his time watching the world go by while tied to Marco….
Or resting in the enclosed barn aisle while I get my chores done.
Bruno has one more month left before the more invasive part of his heartworm treatment. I am hoping to keep him steady and happy until then because, once the treatment starts, we are all going to be a bit grumpier. He will hurt and not feel well at all and must be confined completely. No trips to the barn. At least he will be in air-conditioned comfort in the house, but he will be out-of-sorts about all of this, I am sure. Gosh, I am getting grumpier just thinking about it.
Well that was a lot of complaining, and perhaps I feel a bit better now that it’s out of me. Mostly, the change in weather has lifted my spirits. I am so hoping we can hang in that space for a few days. It almost makes me ambitious. In fact, I think I will go down to the barn right now and shoo Boo and Belle outside for some fresh air, maybe get some playtime in with Auggie. Grumpy can only last for so long before someone calls you on it.