|Temporary jacks and catwalks at corners|
|Entrance through dairy door|
John got out of work early on Saturday to start building a ramp. First, he created a platform coming out from the barn. This was completed in the near dark. We ran out of daylight, and with no power in the barn, we had to call it quits. Once again, the old men walked up onto the deck and in. Rolex, again, went gamely through. Ruffy balked a bit, but jumped up. Harley though, was having no part of this. It became a contest of wills, so I put on his rain sheet, turned him out, and went home, praying the rain would hold off until Sunday. I had a rather restless night, worrying about how I would get my stubborn boy into the barn. Around three a.m., it started to rain and that made me more restless. Was he warm enough? Were there enough leaves on the trees to give him some shelter? What if I couldn't get him in tomorrow night too? By six, I was up, drinking coffee, listening to the rain, watching the temperature (a chilly 40 degrees), and fretting. With no power, the barn would still be dark, and there was no point trying to make him go into a "cave". John and I gathered up our tools, warm clothes, rainwear, carrots, etc. and headed to the barn by 8 a.m. There was Harley, at the top of the hill, looking for breakfast. We decided to give it another try, now that he might have had enough of the rain and be hungry. No go--he still balked, although I got him close enough to sniff the deck. That was it--he'd need a sedative to convince him to walk in. Off I went to get some acepromazine from the vet.
|Nearly completed ramp|
Gator snorted a few times and looked at it while I tapped him on the rear to "step up", which he did in a gentlemanly manner. Vance walked right up too. Rolex clattered her way up, but even with sedation, Harley started backing away. John brought Ruffy in next to him and she balked as well. The two just stood there as we tried to coax them up with carrots, grain, sweet whisperings in their ears, and gentle urges.
John told Beth to bring Rolex back out and maybe they would follow her back in. No such luck! Rolex stood on the platform as if to say, "What's the matter with you two? Come on, I'm hungry!"
We tried this twice to no avail. By now Harley looked like he was half asleep, but not so woozy that he couldn't still try and back up. We began to make a little progress with John waving his jacket behind him and me urging from in front. He clattered his way up, then stood inside and snorted. We made it! Now, it was just Ruffy. We tried the same approach--jacket flapping from behind and me on the lead rope. I think Ruffy realized that it was o.k. at this point, and clambered up too. They both got lots of strokes and carrots for their bravery, and finally, dinner. Let's just hope we don't have such mule-headed behavior tomorrow now that they've been up the ramp. We'll have to practice. I realize it was all new and scary, and patience was what worked in the end. This will be our only alternative until the floor is rebuilt. In the end, it will be good experience for them all, but I'll be happy to have a solid floor and easy access again soon.
With everyone in for the night, out of the drizzly rain, I know I will sleep tonight, as will Harley!