Monday, January 10, 2011

snow and a disappearing day

Thankfully the snow held off until after noon today, which gave me time to get the horses out for awhile after their breakfast tubs. We took their blankets off so they could go out and roll, and could enjoy the dry day before the wet stuff started falling.

The hoses had been left hooked up and were all frozen and needing thawing. The short hose in the back field was easy, but the long hose in the little barnyard was frozen solid. I unhooked it and stretched it out down the hill, made sure the pump was working, and then went to check the water pump in the barn. The coil hose I have in there had also frozen, but since it's so compact, I brought it inside and thawed it out with warm water.

While I was running around dealing with hoses, the horses went on a parade around the entire property. I'm not sure what they were doing, but Cody was in the lead, then Apache Moon, Keil Bay, and Salina. They were power walking the fence line but there was nothing to be seen or heard, and in fact none of them seemed overly alert. It was almost like they knew they needed to get the exercise in before the weather turned. The donkey boys were still in the paddock cleaning the breakfast tubs.

Daughter and I got stalls mucked and then the barnyards and paddock. Cody escorted me to the back field, the donkeys checked out the muck barrow to make sure it was not hiding anything that shouldn't be dumped, and the other three came and checked things out just to make sure I was doing everything the right way. I spent some time talking and scratching and hanging out with them.

I realized I probably needed to add bags of pine pellets to each stall - of course they were in the garage so I went and loaded them in the truck. One good thing about the cold last night is that the ground is now solid again (only a temporary bliss with saturated earth and yet more snow/ice) so I drove the bags right to the barn door and got pellets distributed and sprayed with the newly-thawed out hose.

While they were sitting I drove the truck out to get the mail - my new Kindle sleeve arrived from Etsy - gorgeous and hand-made, very reasonable price, and even the packaging was lovely - black tissue paper tied with a curly white string. The sleeve had a tag attached by a tiny black matte safety pin, and there were two postcards enclosed - paintings by the artist. Really lovely.

(if you like quilted things - Kindle sleeves, iPhone sleeves, coasters, pot holders, big quilts - go check out Briana Taylor's shop on Etsy.)

Headed back to the barn and finished up the stalls, then went to check on the long hose. It was still frozen but a few snaps against the ground elicited a gurgling sound and then a huge pile of those frozen worm-like things that rush out, making the most intriguing tinkle as they pile together. I got all the tubs cleaned and put back in the feed room, got all the water buckets clean and full, and then topped off the two water troughs. I unhooked all the hoses, covered all the pumps, and noticed the snow was really starting to fall. Daughter's jumping lesson was canceled, my Proust group was canceled, and by this time the herd was canceling their power walking and were all lined up ready to come into clean stalls.

Keil Bay hung his head over and gave his stall the once-over. Sometimes if I keep mucking, getting a little OCD about the last bits of straw or hay or those little bits of manure that defy the rake, he will bang his back door to let me know it's time to move on. Let it go and let him in!

It was 4:00!  Sometimes I don't know where the time goes in a day. But it always feels good when there is yucky weather coming to have everything in order at the barn, and to walk into the house with the sound of 6 equines munching hay still sounding in my ears.

I do not know why seeing a herd of six so content makes me so happy. But it does.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It's always a busy time preparing for a storm and time flies. I'm sure your herd appreciates the comfy warm barn to hang out in while it snows.

We're supposed to get the storm tonight another 10-12 in. I can hardly wait. This weather is starting to get old but I'm looking forward to Spring. It's really not that far away.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Contented crunching, munching and snorting of warm happy horses is so satisfying - especially when you beat the bad weather!

Thanks for the Etsy tip :)

billie said...

Arlene, each time we get snow and now this ice on top of it, I think about folks who get many *feet* of snow a year and I just don't know how you do it weeks on end, months on end.

And when it all starts melting come spring, you must have weeks on end of mud and saturated ground!

We occasionally talk of moving to the NC mountains, where they get more snow than we're used to. But last year and this year we're getting a taste of what the winter would be like, and unless we had a huge indoor area inside the barn itself, as well as a huge indoor arena, as well as a huge outbuilding that could hold a winter's worth of everything needed for horses' care and feeding, as well as a honking big generator, I'm not sure being in the mountains would make up for the winter work and stress.

Stay warm, stay safe. I guess the saving grace is that we do know spring is coming!

billie said...

C, I love Etsy in general but this shopkeeper is particularly good, imo.

ponymaid said...

Billie, I like the sound of your abbreviated winter much more than ours! We are having another storm today and another expected on Saturday. Donkey feet are not designed for walking in this nonsense. How are your donkey lads faring in all this?

billie said...

Sheaffer, each time we get snow (last year and this year it feels like too much snow) I think of you and The Woman and Jack and I just don't know how you make it through what we have to the... 100th degree?

Rafer and Redford surprise me - they don't mind snow nearly as much as rain. And they are little soldiers about tromping around through the melting mud after. I know they miss rolling in the dry dusty spots they have laid out in various places, but the barn aisle will do in a pinch, and they take full advantage of it.

Stay warm and dry.

Máire said...

You are taking me back to our "big freeze" of December. I know all about frozen hoses. I do love you equines' power walk.

billie said...

Maire, that power walk was something. They still surprise me even when I think I have learned their habits. :)

Victoria Cummings said...

I know exactly what you mean about contented horses equaling our own happiness. After all, they are mirrors of our soul, aren't they? I'm still stressing out trying to clear enough snow out of our pasture to give the girls some room to walk around. Spring will be even more miraculous that ever this year. Hope you're feeling better and have beat that cold!

billie said...

Thanks, Victoria - I know you have more snow than you know what to do with up there. There are things I love about winter but this one is being so "wet" I really just want the ground to get dry again - I am ready to move out of this season and on to something different.