We arrived on Faial island in the Azores, on Tuesday 10th January 2017. The reason that we came was to house and pet sit for Lesley and Alan Woodward. They have a beautiful house, 4 horses (one a foal), 3 dogs (one 8 month puppy and two older dogs), a cat and 11 chickens.
The island is beautiful and green and when we flew into the airport on that first day, we had a nice view of the south and east of the island. We have subsequently discovered that, like the UK, this place is green because it rains a lot. A LOT!!
The island which is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is a main stop off / over point for cross ocean tourists / sail boats. We have also discovered that the Azores are renowned for their wind, as we have had weeks of being battered by gale force winds, day after day. Not a whole lot of fun as they were strong enough at one point to blow the foal sideways into me.
SO, we get up at 07:00 hrs every day and go out to deal with the animals by 08:00 hrs. It’s light by that time as the Azores are a part of Portugal and they are 1 hour behind London and 2 hrs behind Malaga (where we live).
On the way to feed the horses, we feed the chickens and the dogs. Then Sue does the feeding of the horses and I do the “poo picking” and electric fence. Feeding consists of giving the horses some grain and then nets of hay which they pick at for hours and it keeps them busy.
Sue has to fill the hay nets (10-12 / day) from 1 tonne bale, which is hard, back breaking work. Sue uses about 1 bale a week. We then tie the filled hay nets to various posts around the area and the horses gradually empty them during the next few hours. After grain feeding the horses, I get the wheelbarrow out and go around picking up the horse poo from the paths and grounds. Just to give an idea of the task, there are two heaped barrow loads in the morning and one in the evening normally, to be collected. With all the rain that we have had, the grounds are generally muddy, so pushing a barrow around in that is quite hard work, as the land is not flat.