Last night, it was -1 degrees when Matt and I went out to say goodnight to the horses. In freezing times like these, I think it's important to note the good things about it - especially when I'm grumbling about not being able to feel my hands, or tromping through knee deep snow to dump the wheelbarrow.
What do we do at night check, you ask? Well, we head out anywhere between 9:45 and 11, depending on my schedule for the next day - whether I have to be up early or not. We wander out in our PJs, boots and winter coats, and since it's winter, we carry hot water from the house to the barn. I do a quick cleanup of the stalls, Matt refills water buckets, and we make sure they have enough bedding and hay to keep them warm and entertained until the morning, when I go out to feed them.
Top 10 Things I Love About Night Check:
10. Seeing Topaz being nice. She's still a cantankerous gal, but at night check, she knows her goodnight carrots are coming, so she'll take a minute to snuggle.
9. The quiet. Usually, there's not a soul outside at the hour we go out, so our neighborhood is a hushed, serene place.
8. The workout. You wouldn't think I'd be thrilled over cleaning stalls 10 minutes before bed, but it really puts the seal on my already overly physical day, so it's lights out nearly moments after hitting the pillow.
7. The moon. I've never been more aware of the moon phase as I am now. Waning Crescent, waxing crescent, full moon etc, and even the moon's position in the sky.
6. Coming back in the house. On freezing nights, I can't get into the house fast enough to warm up! It also means one of my most favorite things - sleep!
5. Matt's help. Since we moved to TMF, almost every night without fail, Matt has dutifully come out at night to help me and greet the horses. He carries heavy water buckets and helps dole out hay. It cuts my work time in half.
4. The Perfect Excuse. At a lame party? Dying to leave, but can't figure out how to get out of there? You need some horses. Night Check is the best way to not overstay your welcome! (Note: we haven't had to use this but for one or two nights, but it's been very effective!)
3. The stars. They're gorgeous and I can finally pick out a few constellations. Easy ones, like the Big Dipper and such, but they're so bright and beautiful. Some nights I just look up for a moment and take it in.
2. Matt and Siggy. When it's carrot time, Matt spends a few minutes canoodling with Siggy, and it's so nice to see him enjoying the horses I love so much. Siggy even gives him kisses and makes a face that says, "Pleeeeeeeeease Dad, can I have another one?"
1. Zeus and his antics. While I'm in his stall, every night without fail, Zeus will try to garner my attention in order to get extra love or, even better, extra carrots. I'll turn my back to get his feed bucket, turn around and there he'll be, taking a bow (a trick I taught him), or counting his blessings (pawing the ground, another trick). This is all without my cueing him, and what makes my heart melt is that he keeps his eyes on me, as if to say, "Mom, are you watching? Look at me, aren't I cute?" I can't help but give him a hug and tell him he's a good boy.