This was another week of holiday doings but somewhat less so than Christmas week. The lengthening days are definitely noticeable now and it is better for us. Stumbling around in the dark is no fun. That is, of course, why they invented flashlights and we do use them, though sparingly, so it will be nice when 12 hours of daylight roll around. More daylight allows us to do more too.
Our one big accomplishment this week has been to bring some of the large (4 foot by 5 foot, or in the popular parlance 4 X 5) hay bales to the farm. These bales were down the road about a mile or so and we decided on using the horses to go get them. Normally we can put four of these bales on the wagon but because of the possible slippery conditions on the hill leading down to the barn, we decided that three would be the most we could manage safely on the slippery hill. Further consideration made us decide to drop one bale at the top of the hill from each load and then go down the hill with just two bales. So at around 800 pounds per bale the load going downhill would be around 1600 pounds and then there is the not inconsiderable weight of the wagon itself. The horses have to hold back all of the weight on hills as the wagon has no brakes at all. I should devise a scotch block affair to put under the rear wheels but even this simple device is pretty complicated in use and we don’t have the time to work it up properly. As it was, on Sunday, bringing the last loads down the hill, the horses were sliding on the hind feet, but only a bit and they were still in control. But that is uncomfortably close to falling. For the very last trip we did load 4 bales but have left the wagon at the top of the hill to wait for a better day.
The horses were very badly behaved and quite unexpectedly so, though after several trips up and back along the road, they were at the end, much better behaved. The problem was that they would not stand well, especially when being hitched to the wagon and this makes a dangerous business of what should be pretty routine and easy. We did nearly have the wagon wrecked on the first attempt. We managed though, unhitched them each time then walked them away when the wagon was being loaded as the tractor doing the loading seemed to be unsettling to them too.
Aerron’s dog McKenna died this week. She had been diagnosed just 26 days earlier with cancer of the spleen. There was not much that could be done except to give her pain relief medication and to be with her and comfort her, especially near the end. Dogs become part of the family and are always missed when they are gone.
Other things happened too but can’t remember in time to write it all down. HAPPY NEW YEAR.