Life Is Never Dull At Mudville

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The barn on the homestead was built approximately eight years ago and is home to my miniature donkeys, Samson and Delilah.Construction started in January that year. We didn’t have much snow so the trucks could make it up here on top of the hill without too much trouble. As work progressed into the early spring, the ground began to thaw and the mud season arrived. With the mud, came the huge trucks with loads of gravel for the lane going back to the soon-to-be barn.

That’s when the “fun” began! It was a rather wet spring so there was mud everywhere. One of the gravel trucks got stuck in the mud near the barn.

One of the people working on the barn is a neighbor who has a construction company. Thankfully, he was able to bring a huge tractor up the hill and pulled the mired gravel truck out of the mud. The rest of the huge trucks, including the crane that would be used to put up the trusses, made it up the hill and to the back of the property.

The builder is a friend of mine, and the hill and the mud became kind of a joke with all the people working on the barn.

The homestead was given the name “Mudville,” a name that has stuck to this day! It’s affectionately called Mudville by everyone around who knows the story of the barn. A friend of mine does slate paintings and did this one for Mudville!

It’s a nice cozy barn for Sammy and Delilah, who’ve been with me since 2006 when they arrived as two scared, small, 4-month-old babies!

We get their hay and straw from a good friend, Gary, who mows and bales the front pasture for us. It’s always good hay that Samson and Delilah devour at feeding time. They have hearty appetites; too hearty according to the vet!

But Sammy is kind of my “problem child.”

Last week, John fed them in the morning at the usual time, putting flakes of hay in each of their hay racks. He said Sammy kind of backed away from the hay rack and didn’t want to get any of the hay. He did eat the sweet feed.

That worried me … was he getting sick? Was there another dead snake in the hay? Poor boy, he’s had hay flakes twice that had a dead snake inside.

By mid-morning, he still hadn’t eaten his hay while Delilah had eaten all of hers from the rack. That worried me even more. The same thing happened in the evening when we fed them.

The next morning, he still hadn’t eaten any hay from his rack so we opened a new flake and gave him fresh hay. The poor boy was starving and immediately began eating the new hay! At the same time, Delilah stopped eating the hay from the original bale. She isn’t that picky but when she stops eating something, there is definitely a problem.

We gave her the same hay from the new bale and she ate all of it out of the rack.

There is definitely something wrong with that bale but I don’t have a clue what it could be. There were no snakes, mice or other critters dead in the bale. They both seemed to say “thanks for giving us good hay.”

I’ve had a lot to learn, never having lived on a farm and never having an animal other than my pooches.

When our Amish farrier, Johnny, was here a couple of days ago, I told him about the hay. He said, “They just know” something isn’t right and won’t eat it.

Another lesson learned! Trust Sammy and Delilah’s judgment.