Tuesday, March 16, 2010

watching the grass grow

I think that's what we're all doing on November Hill these days. The horses and donkeys are all still eating their hay, but often enough I find them investigating green stuff coming up in various places. Yesterday I found numerous piles of manure in the paddock by the gate to the front field, which is off limits until June. A clue that I need to reinforce the gate in case certain ponies decide to shove through.

It's amazing how quickly the fields are greening up. The combination of regular rain and sunshine these past weeks is obviously a potent one for pasture.

Yesterday was like a domino run of little episodes that made the day seem like a game.

I was in the barn doing chores when I heard a tapping sound from inside the feed room. I thought it was my daughter, who is fond of sneaking up on me and making little noises. At some point it went on too long to be her, and I went to check it out. A small bird was building a nest inside my riding helmet!

In the afternoon Rafer Johnson joined my daughter in the arena for her second ride of the day, and he found the dressage whip lying on the ground. My daughter called out to me that he was using the whip to draw in the arena footing. Now we have a budding equine artist on our hands!

Overall, a fun day with the animals.

They're all in good spirits, and doing lots of marching about the back field. I've got the arena gates open on both sides so they can have a complete circular route, which gives them a bit more marching room with the front field off the rotation. It also makes riding time more interesting, with lots of possibilities for adding to the arena work.

Tomorrow we're getting a load of screenings so I can resurface Cody's stall. Once I get his finished, we'll open it up and then close down Keil Bay's stall so we can work on it. Stripping the stall, closing it off to the horses, and giving it chance to air out, dry out, and me the chance to get in and do some deeper wall cleaning, is a big chore but very satisfying.

And discovering a very local quarry with amazing prices ensures that I will be working on a number of barn projects I had put off  thinking a big load would be both unwieldy and expensive.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like the spring has arrived and everyone is busy as bees, including the birds and equines. Stall stripping is a chore but worth it in the end.

Today is our first day of sun and 50's temps in a long time. We had quite a storm over the last few days wind whipping at 70 mph and rain. Luckily we didn't lose many trees but the roads look like a disaster. Glad you're all enjoying yourselves.

Jenn said...

You know you haven't ridden often enough lately when a bird builds a nest in your helmet! :P

I have SO much gravel/rock work to do this spring/summer too. Unfortunately, we don't have any nearby quarries so the delivery price alone is nearly as much as the product! And we are still far, far too muddy to even begin thinking about it. *sigh* I'm ready for some dry dirt and yes, even dust!

Christian said...

Keep up the good (barn) work!

So happy to have found my way to your blog... in a roundabout way as is usually the case with the internet.

I would like to ask if I may link our blogs... mine is Calm, Forward, Straight...

It's about my ottb Val and I becoming partners through classical dressage... and what it's like to be a rerider / first time horse owner. It's also a way for my sieve-like (getting older despite my best efforts) brain to absorb what we're learning together.


billie said...

Arlene, here's hoping you get some springtime up there! The wind/storm sound overwhelming - it's been a long winter.

billie said...

Jenn, fortunately this was not a finished nest! But it is indicative of a riding hiatus, which will hopefully end soon. I've ordered a Thinline saddle pad and am waiting until it arrives to get back in the saddle.

I only just discovered this quarry. You would think I'd won the lottery - that's how excited I was. Easily made happy, I guess!

billie said...

Christian, welcome, and I love the title of your blog. That about sums it up when it comes to riding basics, doesn't it? And of course it's so much harder than it sounds.

Will look forward to reading about your progress on your blog!

jme said...

our grass is greening up a bit too, and for the first time in months the horses went out in the morning, walked straight past the hay i had put out for them and into the back field to hunt for grass!

i love the bird building his nest in your helmet! i haven't used mine in so long, i hate to think what might have moved in ;-)

billie said...

j, it's funny about the nest - i've been doing sandplay therapy with my clients for so long, and a nest is a very positive symbol, so it never occurred to me until jenn's comment that it might be read differently than nesting/birth/new life.

i sort of like the idea of that good energy around my helmet, although hope i don't really need it, if you know what i mean! :)

ponymaid said...

Billie, beware of raw egg on the noggin. Oddly enough, given that we are so far north of you, we have been having very much the same weather, and the woman has been toiling away at many of the same tasks. We will of course have to pay for such an early spring. Oh well, it's unheard of for us to have the first haze of grass as early as St, Patrick's Day. Please keep us updated on the helmet nest.

Victoria Cummings said...

I wish I had a local quarry with good prices - what a find! We're seeing nubs of green coming up, but Siete is out there nibbling as fast as she can. I'm going to have to limit her grazing as soon as I get the barn and corral cleaned up after that whopping big storm we had. Sounds like you're well on your way with spring cleaning.

billie said...

Sheaffer, the nest was not far enough along for me to feel badly about dumping it out! I did say to my husband that the inside of a riding helmet makes a pretty perfect nest, and that we might consider mounting old helmets up in corners of the barn for visiting birds. :)

It would be just like me to march out, slap my helmet on my head, and end up with something oozy on top. No doubt I would then shriek and fling the helmet off again. In my mind the only thing I'd be thinking upon feeling something mushy would be that a gigantic spider was in there half squashed. As you can see my spider phobia runs deep.

billie said...

Victoria, I have no idea how I missed this for the past 5 years. I have actively asked, googled, scanned yellow pages, etc. I guess the time is right, because now that I have found it, there are countless projects we can do.

I would so love to find a little mini dump truck needing to be rescued. :)