Monday, January 31, 2011

Last Day in January

Monday, and the last day of the month. Good riddance, too! It's been colder than average, and snowier, too. Usually around here it is dry and sunny but cold, then warms up to rain. Not so this entire season. It's been a long time since it actually rained, not freezing rain, just plain rain. And this afternoon the weather forecast is calling for freezing rain or sleet. Is there a difference?

The day dawned bright and clear. Everything is crunch, crunch, crunch. It warmed up, a little, yesterday. Now everything is crusted over after the night's re-freeze. Crunch.

February is a short month, 28 days, only four of each day. That makes it seem even better, March that much closer. It's not the time, it is the weather. It would be nice to not have to put on TWO coats just to walk outside. Come on Spring!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday! Beautiful Day

Saturday dawned a beautiful, bright day, if you like seeing a snowy landscape! I got my horse-keeping chores wrapped up, straightened up the house and spent the rest of the day over at the old house: Tom painted the basement and I loaded the little horse trailer with EVERYTHING from the living room and what would fit from the basement. The snow is too deep to take the lawn mower out of the shed. Didn't want to shovel the yard and driveway to do that.

The old house really echos now, it's almost stripped bare. When the snow melts we'll bring the big horse trailer over and pick up the patio furniture, lawn mower, and the rest of the stuff in the shed. Getting closer every day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Already? Snow Day?

The snow wrapped up last evening, leaving about 8 inches of drifting snow. It is pretty, but I would rather have skipped it. Everybody stayed in yesterday, all day. Got home around 5:00 p.m. and it was still light outside! The wind picked up, dark descended quickly and the boys wanted grain, hay, and water. I saw no evidence of any of them being unhappy with being left inside all day. I did leave the top of the Dutch doors opened so they could watch the progress of the storm.

I cleaned the stalls, replenished the water buckets, hayed and grained them. I came in to watch the News, it was all about the snow storm (with Thunder and Lightning!) and the horrible commute: trees down, power outages, cars abandoned, hours to get one mile, and like that. Glad we made it home when we did.

Later in the evening, Tom fired up the snow blower and got to work! He cleared lots of area in the Dry Paddock. Our plans were to let them out in the morning into the Dry Paddock, leaving the little ones in the barn.

The day dawned overcast with a hint of blue. By the time my morning barn chores were done, the sky was clear and bright. Snow blindness for everybody! Still breezy, the snow was dense but not crusted over.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last Wednesday In January

It was snowing when I got up this morning - about an inch and a half of wet snow, big flakes. When I finished my horsekeeping chores it was sleeting. The weatherman had predicted it would start as rain, turning to sleet and snow after noon. Well, that did not happen. It was snowing, not raining, at 6:00 a.m.

I saw the weather map, and it looks like this small snow/rain/sleet event will move off, clear up, then snow again later in the day. Five to eleven inches of snow predicted. O boy!

Everybody is in today, and I'm glad of it. They all got extra hay, I opened the top of the Dutch doors and Tom left the barn door open. No matter how much rain/snow/sleet we get, it can not possibly come in through those doors.

Yesterday, some how, KC ripped the bottom strap off of his heavy coat. Darn it! He is not getting a new one, unless there is some extra-special savings from Tractor Supply or Southern States Cooperative. Darn it!

I'm glad January is wrapping up and February is a short month. I'm so very ready for Spring to get here!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday - Freezing Cold

Monday dawned pretty darn cold - 5 degrees, and warmed up to 18! Everything is frozen solid. The dirt is hard, the gravel is stiff and stuck together. I know that Spring will happen, but it is times like this that you have to wonder if we will ever warm up again. If we'll ever ride in T-shirts, or if the creeks will ever thaw out to actually splash instead of crack.

The days are getting longer, but not any warmer. Colder, if that is possible. And calling for snow/rain on Wednesday. O boy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday - and Snow (Again)

Started snowing (again) around midnight and the wind really picked up. The stove vent flapper was rattling all night long. It was so windy that the snow was blown off the patio bricks. A clean sweep!

All the kids, with the exception of Sprite, went through some water last night, too. Some nights it seems they don't even touch the water, other times it is drained like a Slurpee.

This weekend is supposed to be extra cold, too. Fifty-eight days until Spring. Really? The days are getting longer, but not warmer. I'm counting the days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday - Mid-Month

It rained during the night, just enough to warm things up to produce fog. Misty morning, the trees are dripping from the rain and melting ice. The ground is still covered in ice; crunch, crunch, crunch. Slippery in spots because water is pooling on top of the ice.

We left everybody in yesterday and they seemed to enjoy being in, being together. Their stalls weren't any worse for wear, no evidence of stall walking or any other stall-bound habit.

Tom let them out while I cleaned up, filled water buckets, etc., so they did get a chance to stretch their legs. They all came in willingly when I called them back. I can easily maneuver KC around, even without a halter. I can pull on his mane, his coat or just point with my arm. Skip, not so much. Skip usually will go right into his stall, but sometimes he has to do his walk-about, going all the way around the barn, smelling this, looking at that, and nonchalantly walking into his stall. He owns the place, right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday - Snow topped with ICE!

Started snowing last night after I fed the crowd in the barn. It was kind of pretty, but I'm sick of it, already! Tom emptied the manure spreader, knowing it was going to start with the freezing rain. He emptied it while it was snowing.

When I went out to throw hay at 9:38 the freezing rain had already started. It was tinkling in the trees, bouncing off the gates. April does know to be careful when I warn her about the steps. The ice-melt from Home Depot really does work!

This morning everything was sugar-glaze coated. The cars, the gates, the steps, everything was sealed in ice. I decided to leave everybody in today because the minis aren't heavy enough to break the ice and later I thought it best to keep the boys in because the grass didn't show through any of the ice. Too treacherous for them.

While driving in today there were horses out in their fields, but their grass is longer and I feel I did the right thing. I know they will be bored, but at least they won't break their legs!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wire Nuts

Tom bought a large bag of wire nuts from the local lumber/hardware store in town. He has gone through so many, installing outlets in the living room, dining room, kitchen and the electrical project in the barn. Hyatt's is not a big box store, their hours are abbreviated and convenient for the staff not homeowners. It is close to our place, the big box stores are a half hour further.

Irene is fascinated by wire nuts for some reason. Irene seeks them out, finding them in the bag in the basement, on the counter with the wire cutters or in a basket by the radio. I don't know how she knows where they are, they change location as projects resume or get completed. She doesn't seem to care that the wire nuts are red, yellow or orange.

Irene carries them up the stairs from the basement and bats them around the kitchen and dining room. She'll pick them up and hide them in her cache in the stacked framed pictures or she piles them in the middle of the floor in the dining room.

When I pick them up and put them away, she figures out where I've put them and dig them out of the bag or basket. She's determined to corral them in her own way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday - Fun Day!

Another nice day in January, got up early to complete my horse keeping chores with plans of riding with friends in our Park. We have not yet cut through from our place to the trail head, so they met us at our place, were introduced to the 'family' and we all trailered over to the Park.

Had a nice ride in the woods, the snow was not slippery, but K.C. got 'snow balls' in his front feet. He's a trooper, and didn't complain. He was pretty good, but is afraid of the little mare, Shine. She looked right at him and he spooked away from her! He also didn't like her behind him so we had to reshuffle the order.

We rode for a couple hours, until our hands and feet were too cold. We ate a quick lunch then headed out on foot to the corner of the Park that meets our property. We continued our work there, trimming branches and moving downed logs. We scouted ahead to see where our trajectory should go, in the best possible way to be sustainable and not cause erosion.

Our work is cut out for us. We'll need to bring a chain saw to remove the tree-fall and a weed-whacker to knock back the multi-flora rose, the scourge of this particular Park.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Second Thursday in January

There is a Federal Holiday coming up this weekend. I know better than to make plans, something happens and plans are dashed. With three days to use, we should be able to make some headway with the old house and maybe get a ride in?

I'm working on my New Year's Resolutions. I have three, wanted to keep it simple. Some years I don't make any, so there is no disappointment or failure. Other years I do make them, and become obsessed with fulfilling my goals like a nut-case. One year, 2003, I made the resolution to get rid of ALL of our cars. It took almost an entire year to do, but we did it. We then bought two new vehicles within a month. We had a mission and a mandate.

This year I have just three items on my list, but I am determined to get these accomplished. We'll see how successful I am.

Continues cold, it's January!, but the drifting snow in the 'open areas' like the corn field, the bean field, etc., are making deeper snow on the roadways than we actually had fall from the sky. The wind has died down this morning, but supposed to pick up again later today.

KC's heated water bucket doesn't seem to work. I think I did fry it that night last month when the spark and the puff of burnt stink happened. Argh! There was ice in it this morning, while everybody else had none.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday - Same Thing: Snow

Deja Vu' all over again, I opened the door and the steps and patio were covered with snow, again Ground Hog Day or something like that. The difference was that it was cloudy, not clear like the day before. Later it started snowing again, but stopped and turning into a sunny, clear day. The wind picked up and the snow on the ground really started blowing, sparkling in the sunshine.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday - and Snow

A dusting of snow, really. When I went out at 6:15 it was still dark - all my weekday horse chores are done in the dark! - there was a dusting of snow but the stars were out, no clouds. 'Downtown' Laystonsville got more snow than we did, so it was localized snow bands as predicted.

Continues to be cold, I had the heated buckets on last night, the ground is still hard as a rock and the manure is frozen solid. It will have to warm up to effectively drag the field.

Last night Tom spread the manure; these guys can really process grain and hay! We keep the tractor, with the manure spreader attached, parked in the barn aisle. I can fork waste right into it from the stalls and it keeps it from freezing. The chain mechanism should not be frozen if it will be used. The chain drive is no match for frozen manure. I now know where the term 'hay-burner' comes from. They are machines - munch, munch, munch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday Again

Continues to be cold, the buckets were frozen this morning. Tom has finished the dedicated outlet installation in the wash stall. He has an industrial dust cover on it and a night light is plugged in. We keep the radio on 24/7.

There is a chance of snow or snow showers tomorrow, and I'm hoping it amounts to nothing. I want to make another quick trip to Gettysburg on Saturday morning. We also need to work on the old house, but every time I make a list of things to do we end up doing something completely different.

Also, the long-range plan is to host Easter dinner. Easter is late this year, April 24. We already have the menu selected. Fifteen weeks will fly by, they all do. Day-light savings will have started, the forsythias will be blooming, trees leafing out, warmer weather, longer days. Only fifteen weeks! Fifteen weekends.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Tuesday in January

Today is our anniversary! We've been married twenty-three years, and the decades, years, seasons, months, days and minutes have flown by and it is actually scary looking back because it is hard to believe I could be old enough to have this much history, personally.

We've come a long way, we're on dog number six, we've got four horses, two houses and property in four places. Some would think we are over extended; we do have lots of balls in motion. We're keeping it together. This life is not for sissies.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Sunday in January

We are sleeping in the living room because the bedroom down here still has the wall out and not ready for occupation and the two bedrooms upstairs continue to be compromised in some way or other.

The 'cowboy bedroom' upstairs is furnished but has no heat-A/C. Today Tom decided to figure out how the duct runs and what is the problem. Other ducts have been clogged with obstructions so he decided this was as good as any time to see what's up.

What can I say? The vent apparently was used as a trash can. A pair of flip-flops, box of crayons, math flash cards, a wallet with $$ money, FIOS remote control that still had good batteries, paper cups, juice boxes, a plastic Easter egg, plastic hanger, paper towels, used debris mask, DVD, miscellaneous other items and a used diaper. Also in the pile was the vent cover, too small to have held it's ground. Good grief!!

When re-doing the downstairs bathroom we were trying to get heat/A/C into that room, which had never, ever been vented before. We tapped into the duct that goes to the upstairs bathroom. If you remember that duct was clogged with socks and a towel. Same thing only different.

You think it is odd that our bed is in the living room? Really? What would you do? When I said this place had cooties, I was not exaggerating!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It has been great being home during this holiday; the weather has been delightful! considering how horrible it has been plus being the end of December. Today is almost balmy!

Yesterday I started my day early, getting my horse-keeping chores wrapped up and hit the road for Gettysburg. While I was there I stopped in to see friends, then on to Southern States Cooperative AND Tractor Supply to buy grain and hay stretcher. All the kids are set for another month or so.

Last night we started the bonfire. We've had debris from trees that we'd cut down (cherry, Tree of Heaven, etc.,) in early October. Didn't find the time or the weather/wind didn't cooperate. Last night it was still, finally, and we lit it up!

I drove over to a friend's party and met some new 'horse' people. I am looking forward to getting my old life back and riding more. That should be a good resolution for this new year. I was home and in bed before midnight.

The fire was still hot at 6:45 a.m., so I started piling more sticks and logs in it. I burned bank statements, old checks, and other personal financial papers that normally would hit the shredder. I also picked up sticks around the lawn and anywhere else I could think that anything combustible would be hanging around.

I let the boys out as soon as they finished their cereal and Skip alerted to something in the adjoining cornfield. I could see a guy in blaze orange on a four wheeler, but as he got closer I could tell it was actually a Cadet riding lawn mower. It took him a while to travel down the field and out of sight, puttering along.

While we were dragging debris and leaves to the pit we could hear sirens. Out here we don't hear much of that. From the barn or paddock we can see the roadway, seeing ambulance, fire truck and the police. They didn't seem to pass our intersection, so Tom jumped in the car to see what was going on. He came back within minutes. He saw someone wearing blaze orange being pulled out of the corn field on a gurney. Later, when we left to go riding, the police were still there.

It's been about a month since we rode and KC was pretty good, but he did a couple things that I didn't like. We rode at the Woodstock Equestrian Park in Beallsville. The way to get there is so convoluted it seemed to take forever, but is still in the county. Ample parking for trailers, the signage is a little confusing at the parking lot, but eventually we found the path that we needed to take.

The park has a field with jumps set up and there were no 'wet' crossings. The trails are mainly in open crop fields, on the perimeter and looping around the farm land. There is probably about 500 feet in total that are in woods. This would not be a good destination if it were hot and sunny, as there is no shade. A good choice if you need to trot or canter for extended periods, as there are no obstructions, sight-lines are excellent. KC crossed the 'dry' crossings with confidence, but was unsure about the mounting blocks that were placed before and after the bridges. A couple of these blocks were chewed badly by Beavers.

Tom continues to pull wire, sometimes this is not easy, but there are several ways to skin a cat, so eventually he was successful. He's now running wire in the side of the barn that faces the house and parking lot. These new lamps will eliminate the shadows on that side.

Still warm, but a cold front is promised for tomorrow afternoon. We'll see what the new year brings.