Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Birthday boy Halawa Moon

Who is that scruffy looking gelding? Harley turned 12 on Sunday, although he may never age into a mellow guy. It doesn't seem like I've had him that long, yet we've covered a lot of territory over the years.

We had another blustery day with winds gusting towards late afternoon. This always perks the horses up--rattling and creaking branches, leaves blowing, barn creaking--an excuse to spook! Any of the melting that occurred on Saturday iced over by Sunday evening. John and I attempted to ride up the power line. Bare ground on the west-facing slope quickly turned to hock-high snow where it had drifted into the hollow all winter. We turned back and checked out the Orris Falls trail. The soft snow from the previous day had turned to ice making for treacherous riding. So we opted for the road.  A couple collecting sap into a tank on their truck bed offered interesting ogling for Harley. We asked them how the season was going since it's been too cold for the sap to run. They said the run was finally beginning! I think maple syrup will have a premium price tag this year with the wonky weather we've had this March.

Spring seems a long way off when looking at all the snow still out in the woods. Yes, there are bare patches, and melting has spring freshets running, but every night, the mercury plummets, yet again.
The foot traffic through Orris Falls all winter compacted the snow so much that it will remain icy for some time, especially under the hemlocks.

This time of year, everything looks moth-eaten; the snow, the horses, my clothes...all ready for a fresh breeze to melt away the grainy, dirty snow, and carry away the loose hair in the horses' coats. It's time for me to wash the winter togs and hang 'em on the line.

As the snowbanks recede, roadside trash appears, broken bits of cars, knocked loose, bouncing over the frost-heaved pavement. Dead branches, blown down in the winter winds litter the trails and roadsides--what I call "kindling from heaven". Manure piles appear from under the many layers of snow, telling me it's time to get out there with a pitchfork and clean up the paddocks! Layers of sand over ice over shavings need to be raked up from the barnyard. And the horses need non-stop brushing as they shed their winter fuzz. I'm looking forward to seeing my sleek shiny boy after he gets his first bath of the year!

The hard winter took its toll on the wildlife this year. We had some severely cold temperatures that surely stressed any old or sick deer. Riding through Orris Falls, I saw this partially cleaned deer leg up in a tree. I'm not sure if a hiker's dog got it, and they put it up there; or did an agile fisher cat possibly drag it up into the tree? I'm sure the crows will have it pecked to bare bone soon.

As the ice lets loose in the waterways, brooks begin to jump their banks and melt even more of the snow and ice away. Vernal pools are in the making as low spots fill with water and rivulets pour into every crevice. As these "crevasses" open in the ice, the horses stop and peer into these black holes, snorting with surprise. And if the ice shelf gives way...grab mane!

Spring is coming at a reluctant pace this year.


  1. Happy belated Birthday, Harley Boy!!!!!

  2. Yes! Happy Horsey Birthday!!!
    WA Is 19 ! Hard To Believe.


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