EVERYONE at my foster home had to help feed the animals every evening. Even my autistic foster brother James. There was no exceptions. Except for Hazel’s 80 something year old mother.
The rule was we didn’t get fed until the animals got fed. We had pug dogs, pigs, chooks, cows, and horses of the Shetland, Welsh and even Clydesdale variety. It was nightfall when we usually finished, and I would hurry so I could be the first one to the TV.
I didn’t like horses so much. Not because I was frightened of them but because they bored me. Only once did I get on a Shetland while I lived there and that was with my foster niece’s encouragement.
My foster mother Hazel would shift the mix of chaff and pellets into individual buckets. From there we walked to the paddocks, and pour the buckets into the feed bowls – occasionally made from old tyres. The horses played intimidation games in the hope we would drop the buckets so they could be fed faster.
Often I would have to top up the water in the 44 gallon drums in each paddock. The water was pumped from the dam at the back of the 20 acre property. It was channeled slowly, which meant the pressure was weak.
It could take half an hour to fill one drum.
While waiting for it to fill I would sit in the dirt and make mud pies.