Dreaming of the Virgin Islands

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I can't help myself. I am going to begin yet another blog post blathering on about the weather. It has been brutally cold. In the morning when I walk Getty, it is below zero. The windchill is so obnoxious I cannot even list it here. Everything is harsh and sharp and icy. How the horses live outside I will never know. But they are, and Bill reports he has seen not one nanosecond of shivering. They are amazing!

Last weekend, before the cold snap set in--the one that has had me wearing toe warmers in my boots in the car on my way to work, we were able to get a few gorgeous rides in. The next few pictures are from Saturday when Bill (on Freddie) and Jackie (on Pokey) and I set out for a ride on the Parallel Trail.

 These pictures are all about winter riding at its best:  Soft snow, clear trails, blue sky, and temps that aren't so bonechilling you think you might have dropped into hell. No, just the opposite, this ride. Absolutely blissful. This photo details a little creek we need to pass, but the bridge over it is too weak to support horses. Freddie and Pokey were not too sure about going through the water. Lilly has no problem because we had just been on this trail. But Pokey, for instance,  hasn't been out on the trail in weeks. Once Lilly went through it without incident, the others followed trustingly.

That put me in the very rare position of being at the front of the line! Usually me and the turtle-ish Lilly are lollygagging way in the back. Don't be deceived--Lilly can run like a racehorse when she feels like it. It's just that out on the trail we like it slow. We like to take time and smell the roses.

Or, in my case, identify the trees. This one here is a yellow birch. Just when you think you learn a tree (such as a Birch), you discover that there are paper birches, yellow birches, gray, black, and white birches. Same with maples (silver, red, sugar), and many others. I begin to think: I am never going to learn them all. Then I think: Never say never.

But anyway, I was really liking being in front of these guys. It certainly gave me some new views when snapping pictures. You get to see faces instead of asses!

Here's a creek that Freddie and Pokey stopped to drink from before trudging through it. I have been lucky enough to be riding Lilly with no hoof boots on her feet. The ground and snow were soft enough that she didn't need them. I can't tell you want a joy it is to go through creeks and muckkity muck not having to worry about a boot getting sucked off...or halfway off. It feels lighter somehow. I think Lilly feels that way too.

Now here is a tree I did not even know existed until Bill pointed it out: Striped Maple.

 Oh yes, before the cold snap came to town, we were having the times of our lives. We may have even said we like winter riding better than hot, sticky summer riding. Innocents, we were. Lambs at the slaughterhouse, we were. In two days, we were all miserable with cold.

But the animals, god love 'em, how do they do it? On the coldest day of the year, Bill's chickens were out and about!

Bill's son-in-law came over to borrow Bill's truck and said he was not even wearing long underwear!!!! Whaaaaaat???????? He must be part animal! Well, his name is Bear.

OK, here's my last tree of this post, and one of the easiest to identify: Hemlock!

Good night for now! Stay warm.


lmel said...

Good girl, Lily--show them how to go through the water! Don't you feel proud when your horse is the "teacher"? Harley has a few moments like that.
What I love about tree ID'ing in the winter is you have to learn to recognize the bark as well as the leaf buds. Yup, always a learning experience.
Do your horses stay out 24/7 or are they stabled at night? Ours would LIKE to be out, but I know they sleep well inside (sawdust in their tails) and I don't worry about coyotes harassing them.
Great photos as always, thanks for sharing the ride.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

"faces instead of asses" lol!

Our recent cold snap gave me renewed compassion for my (frozen) friends up north. But - rides like you share with us must make up for the bother... lots of layers, popsicle (sp?) toes, (pink!) ice buckets...


Melody said...

It is with great amusement that I see I'm not the only one who takes pictures of frozen water buckets... they are so coloruful after all. Very much part of life this time of year in New England ~ to go with the frozen toes and noses! :))
How is your new rat doing?

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