|Snowy sunrise in the pastures|
Sunday's plan was to get a permit to burn a brush pile in one of the pastures. We also needed to boil down gallons of sap for maple syrup. And we hoped to squeeze in a ride. To expedite things, John decided to take the sap over to the barn where he rigged up a "sap drip system" that kept a rolling boil and a continuous flow into our "evaporator" pot. While this was going on, we had a bonfire going that needed our attention due to the constant wind. Plus we did some spring cleaning at the barn. Grain bags were baled up for our local dealer (anniversary gala with deals on grain when you bring in bags!), the loft was swept out, and lumber located for fixing more fencing. Harley, my cribber, always finds the soft, rotted boards to hook his teeth on.
|Portable pickup sugar shack|
Once Rolex was dry, we decided we still had enough daylight for a short ride. John wanted to try the trail beyond the ring area. We saw a red-shouldered hawk lurking by the pond, probably hoping to snack on a duckling. Mama wood duck paddled around with two ducklings behind her, seemingly oblivious to the hawk. Once we rode by, the hawk flew up into the trees. Snow still covered the trail in the woods, especially where the hemlocks grow tightly together. At one point, Harley had to nose his way through dense hemlock saplings. Rolex wasn't having any of that--Harley disappeared on her! So we turned back, trotted back to the ring area, and both horses broke into a canter. Harley wanted to really go, but I held him back as he performed a sideways canter and tossed his head. They both felt really good, so we decided to go down the road to Orris Falls and dip their feet in the brook. Harley took a look, but went forward, Rolex too, with further urging. Not bad for horses that haven't been ridden in two weeks.
We got back to the barn as the sun was setting--7 p.m. Harley and Rolex finished their dinners and everyone got blanketed for the night. We packed up the portable sugar shack, shut the barn and headed for home to finish off the sap and have some dinner.
Tomorrow promises to be another fine warm day for riding, and maybe a bath for Mr. Muddypants!