Breakfast companions

One snort could geyser my hot brew.

Sue Wunder
Mary (l.) and Buck hoover their grain.

The broadly undulating back pasture is a lovely setting in which to enjoy a cup of coffee and biscuit early on a warm morning. Charlie totes his folding chair from our cabin; I opt for the grass, eye-level with the chicory, which always seems to draw its most intense blue from sun-drenched drought. Sipping from our mugs this morning, we watched the light spread slowly and inexorably over the 40-acre expanse and scanned the sky hopefully for any signs of rain.

The shadows that converged on us came not from any clouds, but compliments of Buck and Mary, our Belgian draft horses. Early risers like us, they ambled up nosing for carrots and grain, which we often carry out to them. To their disappointment, they found we were empty-handed save for our mugs and a few crumbs.

Not that that prevented them from hanging out with us for a companionable 10 or 15 minutes. Buck nosed the steam from my cup as if it might at any moment give off the familiar oaty fragrance he coveted. Mary planted her big hooves on either side of Charlie and stared placidly off into space as he moved his bare feet back under his chair. I sipped and shifted my cup from hand to hand as Buck's big lips played around its rim, knowing one good snort from the horse would geyser my hot brew over us all. Both animals' faithful winged attendants found welcome new territory on our bare arms and legs.

Reverie over for me, I stood and led the horses back to the cabin for their morning treats, giving Charlie another few minutes' peace. After feeding them their carrots and pouring grain in the old wheelbarrow, I finished my drink on the cabin steps.

Charlie sat serenely stretching his legs in the distance. Buck and Mary hoovered up their repast, their versatile lips brushing and polishing the old wheelbarrow's metal bottom to a dull burnished sheen.

It wasn't exactly a climatically controlled Starbucks experience. But I can get that anytime I drive to town. As a way to start the day you can't beat breakfast with a couple of draft horses. Flies and all.

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