The former owner of the land where I live had a huge black Percheron named Bud, who stayed around for about a year, until a new home could be found for him. Bud provided local color for the patrons of the restaurant across the road, who often strolled over to gaze at him after their meals. His constant grazing kept the field clear; his favorite snack was purple thistle flowers, which he would delicately separate from the rest of the plant with his lips. He was glad to come and say hi in return for a carrot.
His feed was always available in the barn, to which he had access through a half-ruined wall. But except at feeding time, he preferred to be outdoors. He liked to stand facing the wind, especially in a snowstorm, a habit that once led someone driving by to call the SPCA. They in turn called me, to make sure we weren’t mistreating the horse.
Nope. Bud just liked extreme weather.
After he left and the ungrazed field became unwalkable, I consulted the Soil Conservation Service in Augusta about what we might “do” with our precious ten acres. The man I talked to suggested a couple of possibilities, including clearing it and seeding it for hay, though its scrubby swampiness made that a dubious proposition. At the end of our meeting he shrugged and said, “You know, you could just let it sit there and hold the world together.”
Which it still does, as several pictures in this gallery testify.