Friday, August 1, 2014

Bats In The Belfry, Skunks In The Barn

This morning I struggled to wake at something like a reasonable time, only because I had a pony club activity to get to. I stumbled downstairs and typed into Google, "Is it normal to sleep this much after a concussion?"

Because whileI have always been a pretty strong sleeper, this right here is becoming ridiculous. I slept 9 1/2 hours the first night in New York, 8 the second (only because I had to be up at 5:30; I slept more on the plane). Then in Linville it was a whole marathon of not getting up before lunch, though also I did very little from a physical standpoint--a bit of tennis, and a short stint on the lake on a stand-up paddleboard, and that was all. Since then I've been sleeping in like I'm being paid to do it, sleeping from 10 at night to 8 or 9 in the morning, repetitively, and being tired during the day, and yesterday I was just cashed. I slept most of the afternoon. Then all night. Then woke tired.

According to Google, yes, this is completely normal after a concussion such as I had. I just need to sleep. So, okay. This morning our pony club walked hounds with the local hunt. We walked about 2 miles, nothing you could call strenuous, and it wore me out. So I took a nap. I'm wondering how long this will go on. Last time I had a concussion--a much milder one--I think I remember it took 2 weeks before I felt completely normal. I don't remember sleeping this much, but there you are.

Meanwhile, some sort of critter has been getting into the barn at night. In summer we bring Syd and Shakespeare in during the day, and put them out at night (the others are on full turnout). Shakespeare is our 31-year-old pony. He's lost weight due to not having any back teeth anymore, so for the last several weeks we've been feeding him a pellet mush in addition to his usual hay mush. The pellets are a mix of Senior horse feed, Omega-3 fat pellets, and rice bran pellets, with some salt thrown in; they look like dog food. I mix them up in a bucket and had been leaving the bucket, plus another bucket full of a mix of alfalfa cubes and chopped hay, outside Shakey's stall every night. Mike or Logan, who own Syd, bring the horses in each morning, and they pour water onto Shakey's feed to soften it and give it to him.

We'd been noticing some spills in the aisle, and also some spills in the stall if Shakey didn't finish everything. Mike thought we perhaps had a fox visiting. We've seen foxes on the farm before. The back door of the barn is normally shut only with a metal gate, so that the cats can go in and out. It would be a thin coyote who could make it through the bars, but a fox would have no trouble.

The farrier was here Wednesday and he figured our night visitor was a raccoon. He offered to trap the raccoon and take him back to his ridge. I said, what, so you can eat it? and he said he was not redneck enough to eat coon. Squirrel, yes. Coon, no. Also no to groundhog and possum.

We decided to put Shakey's buckets in the locked tack room to discourage whatever it was. I don't like coons, and I really don't even want to feed foxes.

Last night my son took a girl out to eat, and afterwards she wanted to come meet the horses. They opened the barn door and flipped on the main light.

A half dozen skunks ran for cover. Many of them chose as cover Shakespeare's stall.

The good news is that none of them felt harassed enough to spray. The bad news? I've been fattening half a dozen skunks, y'all. And I never heard tell of a person redneck enough to eat them.