Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Boarders without borders

The boarder population here at Back Acres is an amazing bunch. Not only do they pay their board well and faithfully, they step up to the plate in ways which never cease to amaze.

Example: this past Thanksgiving I had the chance to celebrate the day with life-long friends whom I rarely see. I have known these people since I was nine years old - a large many-branched family with lots of cousins of about my own age. There are several family compounds, so to speak, and the one in question is in Sturbridge on a recently-acquired farm. I really, really wanted to go - so beginning in late September, I started trying to find Coverage. Seemed like it was fine: my right-hand person for morning chores - who lives locally - was willing to house sit so I was all set.

Er, not really. Upon checking in a few weeks prior to the holiday, everything had changed and her entire family was going to Boston to see the oldest daughter. So now what? My housemates? Also away to family in RI. I could't think of anyone else to ask, and had resigned myself to the bitter pill of being where the buck stops, when out of the blue - during a discussion of holiday plans - a boarder father volunteered to house sit and wade in for chores! His daughter has a horse here, and he thought it would be fun (!!) to bring the family and stay two days and a night on the farm. His daughter works here weekends anyway helping with chores, so it didn't seem like much of a stretch to him.

I was temporarily speechless - what a huge favor! That gesture only left the remaining coverage at issue - Wednesday morning chore help (since my regular would be gone by then), and additional help for the chore shifts while I was away. I wanted some backup for my house sitters, since there is an awful lot to cope with, inside and out. The daughter is a good little horsewoman but she is only twelve and I wasn't comfortable without another horse-savvy adult around.

More miracles ensued. A neighbor/boarder volunteered herself and her two kids to help me do Wednesday morning chores (which were more extensive than usual since my housemates were away), and yet another boarder volunteered to come on Thanksgiving evening to help lead the horses in. Another neighbor/boarder came Thursday morning and Friday morning to help do morning chores and set-up.

Help just boiled out of the woodwork. The instructions ran to three pages - between meds and feeding for the three inside dogs and four cats, the goats, the chickens, and all the special instructions for each horse, but everyone concentrated wonderfully and neither I nor the listed vets got any calls during my absence. You would think I was going to the Sahara for a month, but I was away for twenty-seven lovely hours and it felt like a week.

The above is only one example of boarders wading in to offer help on every level - with chores, with conversation, with observations and advice - they are wonderful, individually and as a group.

Life is good.