springtails, put in an appearance. A coating, almost like a blanket of soot, covered part of the tarp, as they hopped harmlessly on the plastic. I know some people may be horrified by this, but I've never seen them inside, only on snow and puddles in late winter/early spring. Don't worry, they don't bite! I'm not complaining--I like a long, cool spring! No need to rush into summer. Let's savor the warm days, the few annoying early black flies, and the lovely spring wildflowers.
This time of year, I need to keep hopping off Harley so I can photograph flowers. Poor John gets stuck playing "groom", holding my horse while I crouch on the ground, trying to zoom in on the magnificent wonder of the wildflowers.
The trail pictured to the right is one of my favorites. The footing is perfect and I've never seen a soul out there--only snowshoe tracks once! In fact, it gets so little traffic, it hardly looks used!
This was one of those cool 50 degree days when a flannel shirt is still required, but it's warm enough for the black flies to be a problem, hence Harley's head gear!
And the view from the other direction: a handsome guy on a classy looking Thoroughbred. Our horses' head nets seems to always be askew!
Spring fever has everyone feeling a bit rowdy. Even steady Rolex has exhibited some spookiness, something I just expect with 'ole Harley. "What's that in the woods? Oh no, a stump!"
Some spring beauties: Wild columbine--hummingbirds love this flower. I've put some in my garden and it spreads nicely! (Note: I purchased the plant; I never dig up wild plants.)
Another fragile, easily missed flower: Dwarf Ginseng
And in a nice wet, boggy spot: an island of Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Violets.
Time spent in the saddle and time spent out--it's all good. Just ambling through the woods, enjoying the sights. A broad-winged hawk flew overhead and we spotted a porcupine squatting in the crotch of a tree, having a siesta. I don't think the horses even noticed the spiny lump! John stopped for a little tack adjustment and it looks like Rolex is learning to ground tie. She's such a smart girl!
As the week progressed, wet weather closed in, forcing me to work on my indoor painting chores, and John had a couple of kayaks in the repair shop. The first S.M.A.R.T. ride was coming up on Sunday, but first I needed Harley's new Easyboot Backcountry Glove shoes to arrive. So we diligently did our chores, watched for UPS, and kept an eye on the sky, waiting to see what the weather would be for the ride.
Sunday dawned foggy and drizzly. I went out early to feed but by the time I arrived back home, we decided to skip the ride. By mid-afternoon when I finished my painting, the sun started to break through. Although it was a little late for our own version of the ride, we had hours of daylight still ahead. So we tacked up Harley (complete with new boots) and Rolex and rode the still-marked beginning of the S.M.A.R.T. trail ride. This entailed riding down the paved roads a ways, and over two bridges. Harley was amazing! I expected to be leading my balking boy over the bridges. He was leading the way--my brave boy!
We explored some unknown terrain through some mucky bogs (the Easyboots stayed on--they get a thumbs up for deep mud) and eventually came out on a recognized trail. In fact, the horses knew which way to head home, although they kept trying to take the direct route which involves deep water and bushwhacking! After all the rain, the mosquitoes were plentiful, and thirsty. Our horses sweated off the bug dope, so we needed fly swatters to sweep them off their necks and backsides. I subjected everyone to a quick stop while I photographed a patch of gaywings--such lovely flowers, I couldn't miss the chance. They hold a special memory for me from a childhood book "Signs of the Fairies" where this flower is a "fairy airplane".
After a solid three hour ride, both horses and riders were ready for some dinner. Our ponies got extra mash tonight. Harley got an extra peck on the nose for being such a magnificent leader! Back to work on Tuesday. Oh to be able to just ride all summer long!