Barnbrain while feeding…



Today is the Wednesday before Xmas and most of you are really very busy.  Your minds are creating list after list and the end of the day comes much to quickly…

Me, too.

However, I do notice that my Holiday Hectic mindset changes when I feed.  When I feed, I make different kinds of lists in my head.  I tell myself different things and I grumble about stuff that I forget about as soon as I re-enter the house.

Feeding is like a huge mind-altering lightswitch.  When I exit the house my Dawnbrain turns OFF and my BarnBrain turns ON.  I work and observe at a different frequency.

To prove this, I decided to bring my camera out as I fed this morning.  It was still early, so please excuse the lack of light in many photos…

I step out of the house with Nomar leading the way... I start my count: Onetwothree horses, fourfivesixseven horses...



(Stepping outside of the house in the appropriate garb according to the weather and ground saturation…)

Me:  One, Two, three, where’s…?  Oh yeah, OK four, fivesixseven, eight, nineten and where’s… OH NO is he down?  “PONYYYYYYY, ARE YOU OK?”

Dodger:  (He stands and looks at me):  “What?  You weren’t here and I was napping while I waited.”

Me (relieved):  Eleven.  OK.  Check.

I continue to walk to the barn singing my feeding song.  It goes something like this:

“Hi Finny, Hi Baby, Hellloooo Everyone, Hi Mamma, Hi BG, Hi Everyonnnnne…”

As I sing my song, animals scurry about from all hidden sleeping spots of the ranch.  Dex catches my eye to check-in and then prances off to do his morning thing.  Nomar runs up behind me and rubs his head on my swinging hand then trots off.  Shiva runs past all of us as he steals poll position to the barn.  Shiva likes to steal anything he can…

There are kitties scurrying into place from everywhere (we have 6 barn cats).  Some are clawing up trees, some are walking the tightrope fenceline, the rest are trying to trip me.

Kittens run in from all directions!


I reach the barn and replace my singing with chatter.

“How is everyone this morning?  I’m good.  Are you hungry?  Me, too!…”

(Check barn waterer – it’s good, click on barn light – nothing happens because it is too cold for them to work, open tack room door, flip on light and turn on radio, open hay stall gate, grab two flakes, feed Mama and Baby)

I reach the barn and Wrigley makes sure I see him before he runs to his eating position. You never know, I might forget to feed him if I don't see him...


Here is the first tricky part of my morning… How to throw the hay to Tess and Wrigley so that I don’t smash it into their faces as they jockey for position.  I swear… after all of this time of being fed, they still think it makes sense to put their faces exactly where my throwing arm is readying my toss.  This is when I try to fake them out.  I motion left but throw right.

–Works every time.  They run to the right and dig in while I throw the other flake left.  Done.

(Trip over barn cats, make sure Dex is back and in the barn with me by now, take the nasty thing out of Shiva’s mouth, grab two more flakes for Finn and BG)

Finn and BG, patiently waiting in their feeding positions.


I bring two flakes out to Finn and BG and make sure they look fine – as I do this, I glance over to Remi/Dodger/Slick/Norma pasture and make sure all 4 faces are looking at me.  Good.  They are all there.

Back to Finn and BG who are very mannered and waiting patiently.  Finn stands for his flake which I place before him and BG stands for hers which I throw to her.  I then lean down for a kiss from Finn.   He always give me a Thank-you smooch through the fence boards.

I call to BG and she shows me her face which I check for new rub marks or any bites.  She is low man right now and I need to make sure she is holding her own.

I glance towards Remi's pasture to make sure they are all there. Sixseveneightnine.


(grab two more flakes for Gwen and Sam, venture outside the barn into the pasture with Tess and Wrig)

Me:  OK you two, I’m standing behind you, don’t kick me.

Tess:  What hay are you bringing to them?  Is it better than what you gave us?  If so, leave it here.  I command you.

Me:  Well, uh, it is a new bale and … (Tess grabbing a bite of the new better flake)  HEY!  HEY!  BACK UP!


Me:  You are right.  It is better.  I do see more alfalfa in it.  OK, you can have this flake, too.

Tess:  You are forgiven now go away and let me eat.

Me:  OK Your Highness, OK.

(picking my way carefully through the mud telling myself not to slip, “I love my boots” mantra, picking up hay strings as I go)

At this point, I turn around and see Sam who is upset that the flake intended for her is now being devoured by TessWrig.  So, I get another really nice flake and throw it to her.  I tell myself I need to figure out a way to comb out her nasty mane knot… someday.  I really need to work with her more…  I glance at Gwen and tell myself that I need to put her on a diet.


As I make my way on the FeedPath, I check my trailer tires. All good.

Back in the barn, I grab three flakes and trip over another cat who is kamakazeeing me, hoping that I will feed out of sequence today.

I head out to the Remi/Dodger/Slick/Norma pasture.  I know I must feed Remi first or feelings will be hurt.  She paws as I arrive.  I stuff a flake through the boards.  Slick sees his chance and grabs at it first.


Slick (munching): What?

Remi (giving me her best hurt look):  You don’t love me best.  If you did, I’d have my flake in front of me now.

Me:  Oy.

I leave them and head back to the barn for another flake.

(need to turn off barn water – done, avoid several cats at my feet, wonder where Buff kitty spent the night… hope he shows up)

I grab another flake and head up to Rojo who is waiting patiently with huge, wide eyes.

(walking up steep hill, DON’T TRIP, check trailer tires as I go – they look good, DON’T TRIP, oh, there’s Skittykitty… she is such an odd cat…)

I throw the flake to Rojo who looks appreciative.

(check his free-feed minerals, move them out of the rain – again)

I head back to the barn to feed the dogs and cats.

(are they all here – yes except Buff, I have too many cats)

Here they all are... waiting their turn


I try to remember which dry food I fed last time and then grab a different bag as I approach the kitty bar.  They all jump up in anticipation of wet food and then look at me heartsmacked that I am feeding dry.

Every day.  Same thing.

Cats:  Wet food, pleeeeze.

Me:  I only bring out the wet food if Buff is here.  You know the drill

Cats:  We see him!  He’s here, right over there, yup, that’s him! … now feed us wet food.

Me:  Good one, not falling for it though.

The kittybar. I have too many cats...


I go back into the tack room to feed the dogs as I trip over 5 cats who are trying to make me give them wet food.

I measure out all canine medicines and put down Dex’s bowl inside the tackroom so I can shut him in there so he doesn’t eat everyone else’s food.  He knows.  He is waiting.  I tell myself that I need to clean up the feedroom.

Dex eating in the feedroom. I tell myself I need to clean up in here...

As I step into the aisle to feed Nomar and Shiva, I note the fence I need to fix.

(Sigh, should I fix it AGAIN knowing that they will just break it AGAIN, is it dangerous? did I shut off the hot water heater in the barn?  how much hay do I have left?  I have too many cats.)

The broken fence that I've fixed a million times - they just keep breaking it to get to the hay. sigh


As I head out the barn, I call Shiva.  He has to be inside if Dex is out.  I shut out the barn lights that have just now come on – figures.  I unplug the Xmas wreath for the day.

(do Finn and BG have enough food?  is Dodger eating?  I’m worried about Dodger… I better have the vet out to check on him.  He is off.)

I head back to the house with Nomar and Shiva trotting ahead.

We walk back towards the house. Shiva in the lead.

I see the rose bush that my Mother gave to me that we planted aside the front door.

(that bush doesn’t look good.  she will be upset with me.  good thing we are going to her house for Xmas so she won’t see this…)

I open the door to the house.  Shiva trots in.  I shut the door behind me.

As I take off my barn gear, I once again transform.

"Poor Rosebush - Mother will be upset", my last thought as I re-enter my other world...


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2 comments have been posted...

  1. Mary Ann Martineau

    this morning I cried as I read your Blog…for years I owned Rush Creek Farms in Southern Minnesota. I loved it didn’t mind at all getting up at 5:00am to feed and check barn..Had Too Many cats…4 sometimes more dogs, 2 goats, 2 rabbits…and 15 horses, sometimes more sometimes less… I too went over the barn needs as I went thru..noting what needed fixing and checking to see if all the faces were all in their places….Miss it so much, even shovelling 24 inches of snow to get into the barn, even skiing down to the barn after a HUGE snow fall….OH I So MISS It….all things …

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