I'm a hick, plain and simple. I've tried to take care of my self, even though I don't do all the fluffy stuff or buy all the fancy creams and mud masks. I thought I was doing a good job of keeping up on the new fangled trends, but I found out recently that I'm out of the loop, and I have no idea what I'm doing. My daughter's have set me straight.
It has rained in Indiana for the past three days. When you live on a farm, your life revolves around the weather report, rain or shine. When it rains, it pours in Indiana, and it always pours when we have the most work to be done out side. I do all of the feeding on our farm, so I'm usually the first one out in the rain, and the mud. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a bad back and bad ankles. I have trouble walking on a good day on dry ground, let alone trying to walk carrying buckets of feed in the mud.
Now, the area of farm that I'm in the most are two feed lots located on the south side of our very old, very large barn. The small lot is a "dry ewe" lot. This means that feeder lambs and ewe's that are not nursing lambs get fed out here. I can get into the lot through the barn by going east along an isleway, then through a swing gate that opens into a large pen. Then I make a hair pin turn to the right, duck under a 2 x 4 gate support and out into the lot where a bunk feeder is located. This is the same buck feeder that I have seen the bottom side of several times, thanks to mud and very hungry sheep. Today however, was a safe day. I only have two ewes in this lot since I sold the market lambs last week. Ha! I'm safe, and there is not chance I'm going back to the house wet and injured. Now there are several things wrong with this statement. One, I'm not done feeding. Two, it's still raining. Three, I still have to feed the horses in the big lot. And four, the day isn't over yet.
The ram and the other breeding ewe's get fed next. They are located in the north end of the barn in a large pen that is half inside, and half outside, but their feeder is inside. Once I get throught the gate, I generally ok. The problem begins with getting through the gate unscaved. One the ewe's (10 of them) and the ram figure out that I'm there with two buckets of feed, they all rush the gate. So, there I am, trying to get in while 11 very large sheep are trying to get out. I must look like the only salmon swimming the wrong way in a one way stream. My barn coat is salmon red, so this is a very good explanation of what I must look like to the mice that sit on the raffters and watch me do the feeding. I haven't figured out why the sheep rush out of the pen yet. They turn right around and come back in once they figure out that I still have the buckets of feed. Sheep aren't the smartest animals on the farm, but they are fun to raise. When I get their feed in the feeder, and get the water tub filled, I head to the chicken house to gather eggs, feed and water the hen's. This generally goes off without a hitch. Then I return to the barn and mix the horse feed.
Feeding the horses is adventure on a normal day. But, add mud, rain and three large animals, and it becomes a circus. We have three horses, and for the most part they are well mannored. My horse is the largestest of the mob at 17 3 3/4 hands tall. Stormy is a little hard to move around. He has a huge hind end and he has not idea where it's located. This has caused problems in the past. Cheyenne is 21 year's old and a beautiful bay appalossa mare. She doesn't look or act her age, and when she's hungry she tends to get a little nippy. Whisper is our newest little filly. She is just two, and only green broke at best. We rescued her. A man bought her as a weanling, thinking his 13 year old daughter could break her and have a good 4-H horse when it was all said and done. It turned out to be more work then they planned on, so the turned Whisper out into a steer lot and forgot about her for 2 years. He gave her to some other people who had horses, but they decided she was only worth being sent to the kill yard. A friend of mine heard about her, and brought her to my house. I wasn't really in the market for another horse, but Felicia loves Appaloosa's and Whisper is all App right down to the spots on hind end. Cheyenne's spots don't show up, so having an Appoaloosa with spots was just what she wanted.
From the moment you enter the horse lot, you are taking your life in your own hands when feeding alone. Imagine carring three bucket's of feed, while one horse tries to stick his huge head in the bucket while walking on your feet. Then add two mare's who are bucking and nipping at each other while running circles around you. Add some mud flying through the air, and very lumpy, rutted ground that's impossible to walk on when it dry out, let alone when you've had two plus inches of rain. I thought I was home free, sort of, because I had managed to get all three bucket handles in one hand, and I had Stormy by the halter in the other. I was making good progress toward the horse barn when out of no where a horse came sliding right at me. It was Whisper. When she ran past me with Cheyeene chasing her, we were in good shape. But, then she decided to make a sharp left turn and come back to me. Well, this is a normal every day thing she does. She thinks I will let her get her head in a bucket if she whizzes past me, turns left and run's at me. I'm not sure what she thinks this will do, maybe scare me into dropping the buckets, but in five months this hasn't worked for her yet. Anyway, when she normally does this little trick it's dry, and the gound will stop her in her tracks. But oh no! Not today. No! Instead, when she wheeled around she was a little closer than she expected, and when she spun to the left she lost her footing and was now headed my way on her right side. Well crap! Now what do I do?
That was a very short thought, because by the time I finished it, I was flying through the air, followed by a loud thud, and few unkind cuss word's, and a quick glance over my shoulder to see who was going to run over me. Stormy was headed right for Whisper and I. I ducked! I couldn't really get much lower, after all I was already laying in the mud, flat on my back. Oh lord! My back! I'm in pain! I'm covered in mud. Where is the feed? Where are the horses? Can I get up?
Of course, getting knocked down was the easy part. When I finally got to a sitting position, I realized that I was not out of the wood's, and that I was not yet safe. When I fell, and when Whisper stopped sliding, I was sitting right against her stomach, between her legs. Thank goodness she wasn't trying to get up yet. I rolled around and layed on her neck to stop her from getting up until I could get up on my feet. The only problem was, I couldn't get up. My back was out.
I have three buldging disc and one herniated disc in my lower back. I lays on my siatic nerve, and was causing me tons of pain at this moment. After a minute of getting my bearings, I was able to coax Stormy over to where Whisper and I were laying. Since he is so big, I thought if I could get ahold of his halter he could yank me up off the ground. The plan sorta worked. He got me up, Whisper got up, then Stormy turned and knocked me back down. At least this time I wasn't going to be smashed or kicked by a downed horse. I thought "this is ok, I can work with this". Wrong. In all of the confusion I lost track of the feed buckets. Luck me! They were right next to me, and there were still three hungry horses very near me. Yep! This is it! I'm finally going to die. I did what any insane person would do. I grabbed the buckets and threw them as hard as I could. The horses went for the buckets, thank God.
Now that I was realitively safe, I had to get up. I thought about using my cell phone to call for help, but I was to embarrassed. Instead, I decided to crawl to the picnic table. I finally got to my feet, and made my way through the mud back to the house. When I went through the back door, Tom and the girls started howling. They wanted to know what on earth I had been doing. What could I say. I told them that I wanted to see what all the hype was about taking a mud bath. The girls laughed so hard they almost peed their pants. Once they got calmed down, and Tom helped me up stairs and into a hot shower, they felt a little guilty for laughing at me. I told them I was always behind the times. We all got a chuckle out of my mis-hap. I'm fine. My back has been out for a week now, but the work goes on. I'm getting a little better. And, I'm still working in the mud, but now I know the correct way to get a mud bath.
I think I should start a new trend in mud bath's. I'm sure my mud has more minerals and protein than the average mud does in a spa. Maybe I should start charging for the "farm mud bath experience". I could leave the horses and the feed bucket's out of the experience, however, the horses do a lot to move you around. Awwwww, life on the farm. Now you know why farm wifes have such beautiful, smooth skin.