Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines from Mother Nature--another blizzard comes our way!

The face that makes my day, a happy Halawa Moon
Mother Nature is sending us her Valentine by way of another blizzard today. As I left work, the snow began to fall in earnest, sticking to the road, warning us to get ready for yet another few days of shoveling. With all the snow we've had, I should have been on my cross-country skis by now, but it seems I've spent all my free time cutting back snow banks, clearing my drive, clearing off the roof, and keeping paths open at the barn. Without a working tractor, it's been a tough winter for moving manure! I never thought I'd be using snowshoes to tramp my way out to the pile with a wheelbarrow!

The horses have fared well, still keeping on their weight, an enjoying their winter follies. They love playing in the snow, bucking, rearing, crow-hopping, and playing tag. We have tried to squeeze in rides whenever possible,  between snow storms and sub-zero winds that send us scurrying for shelter. People ask me how the horses like all this snow. I think they actually love winter. They've been taking snow baths on a regular basis, keeping pretty darn clean.

Fortunately, the snow storms thus far have only brought cold, dry snow which makes it easy to move and not too hard to drive in, although when too much accumulates, it can be a test without four wheel drive! Our farrier, St. Butch, made it to the barn last week between storms. The horses hadn't been worked in a while, so we wanted to get them out for a little exercise before Butch arrived. Harley promised a wild ride as he pranced sideways out the barn door. I asked John if he wanted to take Harley for a spin through the deeps pasture snows before I tried to ride him--take the edge off, so to speak. Well, it's a good thing he did! Once they reached the bottom of the pasture and turned towards the barn, Mr. Prancypants began to go sideways and throw in some bucks. His speed was thwarted by belly-deep drifts, and one episode of snow-snorkeling. After about three trips up the hill, I was ready to get on for a short trail ride. Here are some of the best photos of John and Harley blazing through the snow.

My Fuzzy B, ready for me!
As you can see, I think they both had a good time. Harley certainly wasn't worn out, although he did puff a little with the effort. He still had enough energy to prance his way home once I got on him. Despite not much riding, the horses exercise themselves between equine antics, and just moving through the snow up and down the hillside. And I know Butch appreciated our efforts!

This seems to be the daily view I'm see on my way to work.  Snow drifts, snow in the road, and shrinking roadways. The drift on the right side of the road is so high, I can no longer see over it, even from the truck! Whatever happened to snow fences? I remember seeing them all the time in Vermont when I was a kid. We sure could use some this winter!

I think the owners of this home should let us live here if for no other reason--I could keep the door shoveled clear! Oh, and it's surrounded by lovely fields with access to many trails. You could have a great outdoor course here!

I've had to clear the doors free from snow drifts a couple of times. It doesn't help that the snow gets plowed up against the sides, but I want to be sure we can get in and out freely and safely. I hacked these snow banks back yesterday, but the prevailing winds have a way of sending the snow right back. One has to test the winds before deciding in which direction to chuck their shovel loads!

Since it's an old barn, it's drafty. This can be a good thing; fresh air lessens the chances of respiratory ailments. But it can be a little disconcerting to listen to the wind curling around the back side, making the old beams creak. Even the horses sometimes stop chewing when a particularly strong gust buffets the doors.

I had to laugh when a fellow equestrian from South Carolina posted a comment about the strong winds forcing her to put on an extra shirt and chase down her dressage ring letters that blew into the woods. She expected some rebuttal comments from those of us up north faced with single and sub-zero temperatures, the same gusting winds, and 3 feet of snow. And I'll bet she's never had to dig her way to the manure pile through snow drifts on snowshoes, or delivered hay via a sled! Or maybe she has and that's why she resides in South Carolina now! Yesterday, in preparation for today's storm, I tramped out the manure pile trail (if I step off the path, I'll sink thigh deep in snow), again ...

....and cleared the snow from the gates and watering tank. It's a long stretch down to the water these days! You can barely see the tank, submerged in the snow in the corner.

After all the barn work and "equine errands", we went home for more snow removal on the house and garage. I tossed some knee-hi's full of salt up along the gutter, hoping to melt some of the ice.  I'd be lost without snowshoes to climb up the shoulder-high embankments to get to the bird feeders, clear the roof, and use at the barn! Three cheers for the Sherpa Snowshoe company! Even though they are no longer in business, these old troupers are still going strong!

Yup, we love winter in Maine. And so does our Kentucky-bred girl, This Chic's Got It, fondly known as Ruffy. Here she is, booting down the hill to see the gang and kick up her heels.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't fancy that much show myself, but you guys know how to handle it AND have a good time at the same time.
    Nonetheless, I hope it clears up soon for you


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