Many times when I rode Polly, or hitched her to the wagon and went off down the lane, I could be followed by Mutt and Rabbit. The rabbit would only follow to the end of the lane, then he'd hot foot it back. Not all dogs of the neighborhood were as tolerant as Mutt.
One summer day I got on Polly, called Mutt and Rabbit and headed for Grandma's house where cousins Roy and Ernie lived. Now my Morn had
told me not to go there that day, but at age six I was master of my own time,
Grandma's house was about 1/4 mile as the crow flies and very visible from the kitchen window at home. There was a post in the yard at Grandma's, a most convenient place to tie the pony, at a location also visible from
the afore mentioned kitchen window. In about 10 minutes after arrival at Grandma's, I recognized a familiar car in the driveway and a familiar
yet somewhat hostile, face at the wheel. My Mother. After the Ensuing confrontation, which was more a con-rear-tation, all three of us, Polly, Mutt and I headed for home. Polly was on the gallop, pounding my already sensitive posterior and Mutt led the group, tail down and wild eyed. Only Rabbit demonstrated good sense that day.
In the winter, the barn was full. There were 5 horses, 50 or so cows, calves and bulls, 20 sheep, some hired hands, Dad, Grandma and usually some kids. Only some of them were tied there. Polly was one of them. Dad had bought some hay racks from Hartman's Dairy when they sold out and nailed them up in the cow stable. That was polly's home, next to the weaned calves. It got cold in western Pennsylvania but not in the barn. With all those animals, it was really quite comfortable. Polly's hair was more like wool and about four inches long. She would be warm in a refrigerator.
On a farm with a lot of animals, one gets acquainted with the passing of the stock. Some die, get sold or are put into the larder. That's just how it is. Polly was no exception. She was in the pasture, fat and sassy one day and the next she had died. There is a funny (weird) thing about the place in which she lay down. She had taken her hoof and dug up the turf, ditch like in a circle about 10 feet across then layed down inside the circle and died. I have heard of similar acts by horses in the open, upon death, but its the only one I ever witnessed! I would like to know why they do that.
I mentioned a while back we had sheep on the farm. There were usually only 15 to 25 head but the wool and lambs paid the taxes I guess, so we had them. We were never without the danger of losing them to packs of dogs. No, not wild dogs, the neighbors pets, who would chase the sheep for excitement. We lost a bunch, and always at night.
To help in their protection, we belled several of them so when they were chased at night, being in the orchard as they were, we could hear them. When the bells sounded, everyone ran for a gun and out into the Orchard. It was years later when I "pulled Alert" with aircraft and learned how to "Scramble" that I truly appreciated the scene at home when the sheep bells sounded. Just like a chinese fire drill.
The orchard, of course, was always close grazed, so it was the prime area for luxuriant growths of thistles. When the bells went off there