Snow Storm or BUST

Monday, February 2, 2015

Last week meteorologists went crazy predicting snow. We were supposed to get a TON of it. Everyone hunkered down and battened their hatches.The power company warned about power outages; town officials advised putting together an "emergency kit" for the house and the car. A travel ban went into effect. I half expected Anderson Cooper to show up for live coverage.

And then....not very much at all happened in western Mass!!!! LETDOWN!! I guess Boston was hogging the storm.  But because of the travel ban, we got a snow day from work. YEAY!!!!

We did a fair amount of romping around. But none of it involved my brumby. That was Tuesday.

By Saturday I was at the farm.  It was dastardly cold. And the windchill was offensive. I mean, it was VERY OFFENSIVE. After having a debate in the barn with Bill over the integrity of snow plow drivers (or, one internet sensation of a snow plow driver anyway), I tacked up Lilly and we headed out.

In the woods, it was still supercold....but the windchill was better. Bundled up to the nines, I felt perfectly warm. It is always pretty easy to have a rollicking good time out on the short trail no matter what the season. I think Lilly agrees.

 On Saturday, the snowmobilers were all over. I haven't seen one all season and in one day we saw about ten of them. This picture was taken on the short trail and three guys were just shooting down from the direction of Quartz Corner. I tip my hat to them; every single one we saw that day slowed to a stop as soon as they saw my brumby and me and then waited for my signal to proceed with slowly. Lilly was perfectly calm around them, but honestly you never really know how a snowmobile-horse encounter might go. I appreciate their willingness to respectfully share the trail.

We had a great ride overall. To see my GoPro video of our gallop up the short trail, just click here! It is pretty awesome.

Sunday's temp was about 15, but the wind was tamer. I got to the farm earlier than usual: I had a superbowl party to go to and I still had gluten-free quinoa muffins to make. First Bill and I clowned around with the camera in the truck window.

And then we took off.

 The snowmobilers were out again. Bill wanted to cross the Thibault pasture and give the horses some more exposure to them. I was against it. Why invite disaster? An open field and a cluster of noisy snowmobilers did not seem like a great idea. But I did it anyway.

My brumby was perfect. Bill was on Ruby and she was not perfect. But I mean, who can compare to Lilly? Ruby was a hot potato. She just wanted to run.

Before leaving the snowmobiles and heading for the trail, Bill traded Ruby for Pokey.

 We ended up in the Big Pasture. It's empty now since all the horses are nearer to the house for the winter. Oh look, there's my GoPro in the shadow!

Pokey kept whinnying, thinking the herd was out there.

Lilly was great. I always feel better on the trail. A big open space is not my favorite place to be. But she was very well behaved. The good thing about all this snow is that if you do fall, you get a comfy landing spot.

 Then we decided to take the tack off and let Pokey and Lilly get some wild yahoos out by running wildly all over the BP. There are few things as beautiful as a horse in a full gallop.

For a supershort video of some of this horsing around , just click here.

Remember the snow-storm-that --wasn't from last week that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, it finally decided to pay us a visit!! Today it was blizzardy all day long! Getty was not loving my snow day as much as I was.

Even though I did not make it to the farm, I did get to see my neighbor's horses having fun in the snow.  

Me= Happy horse owner, snow reveler and satisfied Patriots fan.

Jolly January

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I decided a few weeks ago to join Facebook, thinking maybe I could Facebook instead of blog. But after one Facebook post I realized that microblogging is nice, but not super nice like blogging. The real thing. Here's what Lilly thinks of social media.

It's been really cold around here a lot of the time the last few weeks. We've also had a lot of icy rain so the road and the woods have been treacherous. This means not a lot of riding for me. But a little weather has not been so successful at curtailing picture taking!

In spite of the cold, I am sticking to my guns about no blanketing of Lilly. But look! I have not needed to. My brumby-turned-wooly bear is doing just fine in the frigid temps.

Last weekend Mother Nature ensured that the conditions were too dreadful for safe riding. First she coated all of our snow with a day of icy rain. And then she probably laughed when I couldn't make my annual Martin Luther King trail ride. Infuriating.

I spent the afternoon rolling around in the snow trying to get a few good shots of the horses. I carried this plastic cow head all over trying to get the perfect shot. One thing about rolling in the snow with a plastic head: it piques the interest of all the brumbies milling around. They went from being very interested to alarmed to very interested to bored.

Ruby refused to leave me alone.

This is the top of Ruby's head which makes me laugh. She looks like a muppet or someone from fraggle rock.

Another darling muppet.

So this weekend the weather was very nice. Except for the wind. The dastardly wind. And there was still ice on the road. But if you managed to bundle up sufficiently, the temperature was just fine. Today I went down into the pasture the get Lilly and discovered the horses had snuck into the ring and were naughtily nibbling sumac trees.

In two days, it is predicted that we are going to have a blizzard! I have heard words like HISTORIC and BIBLICAL applied to the coming storm! When I got to the farm today, Bill was busy getting ready.

I see that Boston might get up to 36 inches of snow. Out here where we are, it looks like 12-24 inches are on their way.

After tinkering with the giant tractor, Bill had to mend the fence down by the ring. The one that had allowed the horses to be where they weren't supposed to be.

Then this tractor came out. More pre-storm chores. I said to Bill with a chortle: No rest for the wicked!!

And then he had to help Lilly since she was missing a shoe.

 I gotta say, Lilly's feet are looking really great right now. They even look a little concave! This is great. It goes to show you that shoes are not all bad. In Lilly's case they are practically medicine for her feet! She'll stay shoe-free at least until the storm is over. Maybe longer. It will all depend on how ouchie she looks. Some years she has been shoe-free all spring and into June.

Spring and June? What are those?

 Oh look, there I am jumping for joy again. Wouldn't you if this were your horse? Your beautiful and tolerant horse?

Parting shot:

Jodie's hilarious little mustache!

Getting Wild in Western Mass

Monday, January 12, 2015

I love that my new knife for the trail is PINK.  So far the only thing I have used it for is cutting stubborn ribbons off of Christmas presents. I am sure Lilly approves of its color.

As usual, we got the day started at Elmers. I ordered the usual: eggs bene sans muffin and a GF blueberry pancake. Same thing every time. I know it sounds like a lot of food for one person. But in these frigid temps, I need a lot of fuel to keep me warm! After that gobblefest, I headed over to the barn.

It was so cold that every time I took off my glove to snap a picture, my hand almost froze off. And every time I began to snap a picture Pokey had to come nosing around. All of the horses are friendly but Pokey is the most inquisitive.

But is that Pokey? I can't even tell. I do have a video of Pokey wanting the camera all to himself. Click here to see it!

I took several photos down by the gate to the part of the pasture that has been closed off. Eventually I had several spectators.

Bill came out and thought that if the closed off pasture wasn't too slippery still from the icy weather a week ago, we could open it up and let the horses run around out there. They haven't been able to run around too much lately thanks to Mother Nature and her dastardly weather conditions. That's Bill's new GoPro camera on his helmet!

As soon as the gate was opened, it was nearly a stampede of horses setting themselves free!

They had been pent up in a smaller pasture for a while and had a lot of energy to kick around! Thank goodness it wasn't too icy for them. because it quickly became crazytown out there. Pokey jumped up off of all four feet and did a binky mid-air! Click right here to see it!

I don't see them get this way very often.

Bill yelled for them to not trample the fences!

Meanwhile, Lilly and Qtee had been watching from the pasture across the street where Lilly has been feeling ornery because she too wants to to stretch her legs, When I put her across the street with the others, first she did some roly polies. 

Then she noticed that everyone else was in the open field. I thought: Oh no. Here comes trouble.

She was not going to let this opportunity to literally kick up her heels pass her by.

There was much squealing, snorting, and double barreling. Yeeeehaaaaaaw!!!!!!!!

 And then, all quiet.

On that note, good night!

November, December, May!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

People who have reading glasses are always losing them. I am like that with my camera. I am always losing it. This is probably because I carry it around with me everywhere, just like someone would a pair of glasses, which means there is never one place that it will be found in. It could be anywhere. When I can't find it, I panic. I am lost without my camera. Maybe it is like a pair of glasses in that it allows me, in a way, to see. However, although I'd like to blame my short lapse in blogging on having lost my camera, I'm afraid I do not have such an excuse. I have not been blogging because the short number of hours in one day is daunting to me, and because even at my age, I have not learned the art of excellent time management. It is a subtle art indeed.

But we all have our weaknesses. Take Mother Nature for example. She cannot decide if we are going to have weather fitting for December or for April.

Before Christmas we were having the most wonderful snowfall. And who doesn't want a little snow in December? After all, can Santa's sleigh really fly without snow?

The truth is, the snowfall was so pretty, the season rivaled the summertime for the best time to be out on the trail. It wasn't even so cold that you needed hand warmers in your mittens. On some rides, I wasn't even wearing mittens.

It just couldn't get  any better. This is winter riding at its best: Snowy. Magical. Beautiful and bug free.

But just in case there were going to be any non-magical hunters in our midst, I made sure that Lilly looked as un-deerlike as possible. In fact, I made her look like an equine fairy. All she needed was a little wand.

It was like riding through a fairy tale. Not the German kind where people are mean and scary.

In all the beautiful riding opportunities, I met no one out on the trail. This is not so unusual. Typically I do not encounter anyone out on the trail. It's just me and Lilly and my terrible singing voice. I don't ride on public land so the few people I have seen over the years are either people who actually own the land, or people who happen to live on Bill's road.

This picture is from the Short Trail.

I took a photo from this exact spot in October when the leaves were changing color. Monet-like, I decided to capture the same image under different light. Just as beautiful in December as it was in October. I must remember to get it again in June, my favorite month of the year.

Then Mother Nature pulled a fast one. Just when all the children were probably starting to feel confident that the various snow squalls would ensure Santa being able to buzz around on Christmas Eve, before Christmas Eve had a chance to arrive, it got balmy.

All the snow began to melt. It got very dirty and ugly looking, and then vanished into thin air.

Lilly said, Mmmmmm! Fresh green grass! It must be July!!! Maybe the weather was a Christmas gift for all the grass eaters. But meanwhile, people were surprised and confused. And the question begging to be asked was: How will Santa get here with no snow?

Well, Santa made it all right. He brought Lilly these boots in her favorite color.

And I got this hat from Bill. When I wear it around the horses, I wonder if they think I am him.
Probably not.

I refuse to complain about these springy temps. Although I do love snow and wouldn't mind a blizzard or two, I am taking full advantage of the situation. The last two weekends I have been on the trail having one awesome ride after another. Here is Lilly drinking some snowmelt along the path.

Here is some witch's butter that is usually frozen to death around this time of year (Lilly got curious about this photo I was taking and ended up eating this stick, mushroom and all)...

And here is some coyote poop that we just observed today. That is,  I think it is coyote poop. I am not a fecal expert. Thank goodness.

It was so warm while riding yesterday I had to take off my coat and leave it on a tree. When we came back through, Lilly snorted at it. She's right--it does look weird.  It looks like a midget having a time out.

Stay tuned to see if our early spring continues and the skiers start to get madder than hornets.