Sunday, February 9, 2014

Double headers for this weekend warrior

I saw this sunset's glimmer through Harley's window as I was feeding last Monday night. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight" right? I grabbed the camera, hoping to catch the color before it faded away. This was the calm before the storm that hit Wednesday, closing all the schools and many municipalities, mine included--yipeee, a snow day!

But having a snow day doesn't mean we can sleep in and sit around in jammies. Nope, off to the barn to feed and turn out the horses. This was the view by late afternoon when I returned to bring the horses in for the night. The snow continued on into Wednesday night dropping around 10 inches. By Thursday, the roads were nearly clear and the snow had settled and drifted leaving a winter wonderland over the seacoast. Our farrier called to reschedule his visit planned for Saturday. That left us with a full day to play in the snow!

Saturday we went cross-country skiing with our friends Hank and Lili in the woods behind their house. We had an awesome run down the trail through the old quarry. We saw tail and wing prints from an owl or hawk hunting a mouse, and lots of porcupine trails amid the quarry blocks.

We got back to the barn with enough time to get in a short ride. John had worked Ruffy earlier in the morning, so we took Rolex and Harley on a little jaunt up the power line and down through Orris Falls. Earlier in the day, the Great Works Land Trust had led a guided hike through Orris Falls; the hoards of snowshoers leaving a perfectly packed trail for skiing or riding.

Our little side trail appeared to have only been traveled on by deer. Their trails crossed ours, back and forth, a few times leading our horses astray. I think the deer were watching us as we moved through their territory in the late afternoon. Harley and Rolex stopped a number of times to peer off into the woods. We saw nothing, by the horses sensed something moving in the woods.

I planned to do a repeat of Saturday's fun on Sunday, only maybe doing a different loop. Harley was full of beans, walking back and forth while I tacked up. Since he was going solo, he was in "worry mode"; translates to, "We must get this over with as fast as possible and get home." He was fine going up the power line, and even along our favorite side trail. But once we hit the main drag to Orris Falls, he began his hissy fit. It was his way or the highway for me, as he tossed his head, backed up, pulled around, and generally acted as pig-headed as can be. When Harley is like this, it's either time to get off, or just go his way and stay safe. I opted for the latter. He pranced nearly the entire way back to the road. I did manage to make him halt a few times and back up, much to his displeasure, displayed by a distinctive tail swish. When we reached the gate at the trail's end, I decided to hop off and walk him home, self-preservation being my main concern. He had to get in one last hijinks, whirling around after a car pulled into the parking space by the gate. What a goober!

It was scary out there, Mom. Can I go see my friends now?
Back at the barn, I tried to let him dry off but he was too worked up about going outside with his "sisters', snorting (see the steam in the picture), and pacing. So I took off the cooler and tossed the bugger outside. Time to switch socks and boots and go for a ski; enough of this horsing around!

I retraced my morning travels with Harley, only instead of prancing, I glided along and was able to stop and take pictures--something I could not do on horseback today! The woods were so peaceful and sparkling. Thankfully, the snowmobilers roared by earlier, so I had the woods to myself. This is the trail leading from the power line at its junction with the short trail up to Big Bump. Looked like only a few snowshoers had been up there.

I had a lovely schuss down this hill which Harley loves to canter up--either way, it's a blast! I always savor a nice downhill run.

Here's the snowshoe super-highway, the main trail through Orris Falls, perfect for skate skiing and fast downhills! I'd love to get in some skijoring here now that it's perfect.

This might be the beginnings of a pileated woodpecker's work judging by the rectangular shape of the hole. I've seen pileated woodpeckers swooping through these woods many times.

Walking back up the road, I stopped and tried to call the horses over. Harley was afraid I planned to ride him again and hung back, but Rolex, curious girl that she is, meandered a little closer, followed by Harley and Ruffy. Vance couldn't care less what I was doing, preferring to hang out in the shelter.
This photo shows my two loves: horses and cross-country skiing!


  1. The woods look fab in the snow - so clean!!

  2. You might get two of these comments - my first one went missing!

    That snow is just lovely - ten inches! Wow! Sweet Harley and is steamy dragon breath - just adorable! Good for you - skiing and riding - the best snow day ever!

  3. Full of beans is right! Oy vey, those are not enjoyable rides when things get so dicey! Glad that you stayed on and you got another horse day in! Can you believe the storm? I did have to go to work and it was quite treacherous getting there. Bah! I would rather be riding in the snow. You pictures are so ridiculously fun to look at. The shot with the skis! Woot woot! Yes, we can do a little bit of everything here in the northeast! Living the dream! And that red sky! Gorgeous. Hope you have the woodstove popping today--more old man winter. Spring Spring, wherefore art thou?

    1. At least a few more weeks until spring, and then it's sugaring season! I'll cross my fingers you get a snow day for this next storm headed our way.

  4. Awesome pictures! Sounds like you got a ton of great time outside despite the snow. I love riding in the winter - snow on the ground just muffles all the other sounds and it really is magical.


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