Equine era ends in bucket of tears

Equine era ends in bucket of tears By Robert F. Karolevitz Because of the forthcoming move to town, it has been necessary for us to downsize.

That means getting rid of lots of junk accumulated in 37 years at Cedar Crest Farm. Generally, that hasn�t been too hard on either Phyllis or me � that is, until we had to part with our burro, Molly, and our two miniature horses, Foxy and Matty.

I took it in stride, with World War II stoicism; but for Phyllis it has turned on the old water machine, more tears than when we took our wether lambs to market and eventually to slaughter.

The first to go was Molly. She had come to our place when we had sheep. Phyllis made the mistake of saying we need a �guard dog� to keep the coyotes away � and Phil Dohn, our friendly pharmacist, heard her.

�Aha,� he said. �I�ve got just the ticket for you.� It seems a little jackass (my words) was available, and Phil offered to go halfies with Phyllis on the purchase.

The only thing is he bought the back end, and my wife got stuck with the eating half. In the 20 years or so that we�ve had her, I have shelled out lots of bucks for oats, alfalfa, and salt blocks for her (the burro, not my wife) � not to mention the dollars spent for the farrier who trimmed the animal�s hooves every couple of months.

She (the burro, not my wife) did a fine job of keeping coyotes away, but in recent years � when we had no flock � Molly had become only a pet. And an expensive one, too!

Besides that, she wouldn�t let me come near her, even when I had treats for her. Consequently, I�ve condoned the braying beast just to keep my wife happy.

Then it came time for the tiny steeds� departure. Phyllis insisted on seeking a �good home� for them. All I wanted was to unburden myself of their feed bill.

Granted, they were good conversation pieces, but I wanted more. All they did was get fat. Breeding was out. So was renting them to a petting zoo so they could earn their keep.

Phyllis, on the other hand, considered them part of the family, and I � being a dutiful husband � caved in to the higher authority. I finally realized that the only reason for keeping them around was to bring joy to my spouse.

And now they are gone. Come to think of it, I�ll miss them, too. No longer will they whinny for the wind-fall apples I used to feed them. No longer will they follow me around the farm like a couple of puppy dogs.

I don�t have to clean out the barn either, which � thanks to them � smells like horses and not like pigeons. That was a plus in their favor I didn�t think about.

I also won�t have to spread the baled wood chips which I bought in order to give them a nice cozy place to sleep. I wonder if they appreciated it?

When Foxy, Matty, and Molly left for their new homes, Phyllis, understandingly, shed a bucketful of tears. And, I�ve got to admit, my eyes were a little moist, too!

� 2005

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