Sunday, February 24, 2008

Busy weekend!

Thanks to the ice, I have been driving to the barn every trip.....which may seem silly but if you could see my driveway, you'd understand! I have one bucket of thawed sand left in the garage and as of right now I am saving it for the house area. I hope to pick up a few bags sometime later today, and leave them at the barn.

Yesterday I managed to get some hay unloaded (yay!) from the van that arrived late on Thursday afternoon. Today I meet my helper over there to get more people loaded up, plus I need to shuffle hay home and over to where Pepper is. Also yesterday I managed to find someone to clean stalls and runs. Oh my goodness, the gal knows how to clean! Yay yay yay! She'll be back later on today to tidy up the runs. I am thrilled, much better than the young boys who don't even have their own transportation that responded. She lives next door to where Chubs is, of all coincidences, lol

This morning I have milk test up at the neighbors, then that's done for a couple of weeks. I really like these folks, hard working couple practising closed farming. All organic of course, which is commendable. I have learned a lot from them both, and I like to think that in some ways I help them too, from time to time. We swap out plants between us every spring, and I envy the gals' talent for gardening greatly....but I sure don't know if I could work a real farm like they have.....dairy goats, cattle, sheep, a couple horses, a very large population of chickens and assorted ducks, and a large kennel of surperior quality ACDs, which she trains and shows. She gives herding lessons also and they hold trials there. Too much work for me, lol But of course I would do it if I wasn't working full time-I would have my own dairy goats and some birds up at the barn for my own fresh eggs too. Ssshh! Don't tell my husband!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Day six of The Great February Melt

I awoke this morning to a temperature of 34.9 degrees.

This is now day six of what I have to call the "Great February Melt" of '08.

For six nights now, temperatures have been above freezing. This is better weather than the midwest! According to the weather liars we have another day before temps start dropping towards normal-whatever that is these days. But still forecasted to be above freezing during the day.

I have to say it's wonderful to have both daylight and be comfortable outdoors (if it's not windy), it's been a real treat in that regard....but oh my gosh, the ice!!

Any place plowed without a lot of traffic, is nothing short of a skating rink. My own driveway has a bit of a dip in it, and thus water drains down from both ends and off the side. It's as smooth as glass, and I wouldn't even think of trying to walk on it just now. I put some sand out and drove a bucket of same up to the barn, to have on hand. Night before last when I drove up the mash bucket, the front end of my car slid around about eight feet before gaining traction, nerve wracking!

The main roads are mostly dry, secondaries pretty much the same way, but subdivision roads that weren't scarfed and parking lots are mostly scary. Of course there has been a lot of sand and gravel mix put down, which helps-but just means you run the risk of dinging your windshield.

One thing I noticed yesterday as I was looking out the office window during a sunny break-the tree branches looked wrong to me. It took me a full minute to figure out what wasn't "right" and it's the color of them. Just ever so faintly, a hint of a dull dark muddy red color. I had to go check the rugosa roses in front of the shop to verify-and yep, itsy bitsy teeny tiny little buds trying to form!!

I don't even want to go there on climate change, I really dont, but this is rediculous!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Well you can't outwit fate....

I knew it was bound to happen...the law of averages would catch up to me, and so it did today.

About noon in the parking lot of a grocery store, no less. I was sure it was going to be somewhere else, and be much more spectacular, but nope, as mundane as they come....

I am driving into the parking lot from the highway. Its been melting for a few days and there is a meltwater puddle approaching pond size in one section of the parking lot. Only a few pickup trucks whose drivers were obviously wearing the right foot gear, were parked there on the right. On the left, the usual line of parking spaces. I am idling along behind a minivan when it halts about halfway down. I figure the driver is scouting out a parking spot and is eyeing the pond, debating. After about fifteen seconds, I tapped the horn to remind the driver to move along. By this time I had a vehicle behind me, after all.

Minivan moves ahead and I follow along behind, a couple car lengths back. There is slush, but it's not what I would call icy. From my vantage point, I can see a spot ahead and on the left, and the minivan drives right on by it. I engage the clutch and prepare to move into the spot. I check rear view mirror and see another vehicle turning in from the highway, hooking right as they do. Look to spot, it's clear, no on coming vehicles, and I am about to make the last 30 foot and into the space when I look up and see the minivan come sailing back towards me in reverse.

There was no time to do anything but stop. Which I did. A fraction of a second later, BANG!, the minivan hits the front of me SUV, then rockets forward into the parking space on the left. Rattled, cursing, and upset I jump out of the car, and head towards the minivan. The first words out of my mouth aren't for mixed company let's say ;) Whereupon ensues the most rediculous exchange....the young driver in what I am sure is broken Russian/English, and me insisting yes he hit me, yes I know you didn't look back, no I don't want your phone number, you will give me your license and insurance information. Whereupon he wants me to NOT call anyone (yeah right) and hops back into the van.

I run for my car, flip on the hazard flashers, and grab my cell phone to dial 911. I am not too far from the van, maybe 15 feet, when the driver sees me talking on the phone, and they exit the van and head for the store. I am rattling off what happened as quick as I can, plus license plate and whatnot.....the driver and passenger come back, get in van and I think-oh crap, they are going to back over me to get away!

But, they bailed out again and headed off around the corner of the store and on out of view. I wait patiently for patrol response-and bless them, they are there within a few minutes. I quickly recite what happened to the first officer, and he takes off to find the two who are now on foot. A Trooper arrives and we go over what happened, and he does the usual: License, registration, insurance information, etc. Goes through the van (which they left open) and apparantly discovers the owner. I manage to get the Trooper to impound the van (yay!) and I am finally able to get some lunch, after assuring the officer that yes I could identify who hit me, and yes I would be more than happy to do so with a lineup-whatever kind they want ;)

Keep in mind I have never been hit before-although I have had a number of close calls. I driver regularly all over this Valley, very carefully and prudently, as my CDL requires. I am a cautious, defensive driver and have been carefully avoiding the bumper car style driving in that parking lot for 25 years now. But.......

Who in their right mind does a hit and run and leaves the vehicle behind?

Monday, February 18, 2008

I know it is not March, but....

I will happily take this recent pineapple express weather, woohoo!

Its in the 40s and melting like crazy. I had gravel and puddles (and yes ice of course) at work, and when I get home today I fully expect the driveway to be greased lightening. I just checked the NWS and it looks like we'll have this type of system for a while yet, yay!

I know that March is either good or bad. I'll hope for not too much snow and plenty of melting going on, just like this week is starting out :)

Next on the agenda-dig out the ProMix and get stuff started! I am already behind starting some flowers, and I need to get the hot peppers going asap. With this melting, digging out the bale from under its hiding spot up by the garden, shouldn't be too difficult. My seed starting rack is prepped and ready for flats, all lights working-all that's missing is the media.

I can't wait to smell something green growing!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A jumbled week

Last week, I discovered that old Chubs is not a horse to have anywhere near a stallion when there is a mare coming into season.

I had two new boarders arrive on rather short notice, so we shuffled horses around to move my horse to the front, then Chubs, then the mare, then the two new ones in the double stall. Oh my, what a wreck ensued! If it had not been for a good friend and my husband being right there, I don't even want to think about what might have happened!

Despite being taken to the ground, old Chubs is fine-only lost a teeny bit of mane.

So we tried just putting another panel fence between the two. That didn't work either, as Chubs did not stop posturing challenges and I could see my horse wasn't going to back down either. So, we ended up banishing Chubs to the round pen. Later that night my husband plowed out a place in the round pen, dug out our horse trailer, backed that in, and then emptied, moved and refilled a stock tank for him.

Of course there was no way I could just leave Chubs there....not a very secure set up, and he was working the fenceline nonstop anyway. For four fruitless days I tried to find someone to either take him, or who had space, with no luck. Finally, a dear friend of mine suggested yet another old friend-and voila! New accomodations for Chubs!!

So yesterday he got moved over, and I arranged for round bales to be delivered there as I didn't want anyone to have to go feed twice a day. So there he is, and today the attempt is made to actually get the round bale into the paddock as there is a dead vehicle blocking access, lol In the meantime we took over a bale, a trash can with his ration in it, and he has water in a stock tank.

On this end, things are much quieter and calmer at the barn, which is a huge relief. The two new boarders are settled right in, and the mare.....well, I was looking at her this morning and thinking: Is there any way she could be pregnant? >shudders< Yes I know I feed really well, maybe too well in some cases but my gosh that mare is getting a belly on her. I will try a diet for about three weeks and see how she looks then.

I would have sworn she was coming into heat, but I didn't see the typical winking and squatting, so maybe not? If she is pregnant and not just fat (ha!) then the owner is going to be very surprised, to say the least-and I am not set up for that!

Uphill, downhill, what's the difference?

Talk about rocketing between highs and lows, my goodness!

We've had over a week of high pressure weather (clear and cold) coupled with some nasty winds for over a week...wind chills were in the -30 range, or better for some gusts. Ick. Which is why the blankets went on the horses and a warm mash was provided at evening feeding.

Then this morning I wake up to find a couple inches of new snow on the ground. Temp was up to 4 above (yay!) so those blankets need to come off today. One horse was curled up on the snow, she's been having a hard time with her first spring heat. I got her up and she's just fine-full tummy and pining away for old Chubs. Couldn't care less about breakfast (we'd snacked heavily around 9 pm last night due to temp at -7) so I will have my hub check on her first thing at daylight.

Had a rather eventful week with horses, and as soon as I can figure out how to coherently relate the events, I'll post it.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Its all uphill from here!

This is what I keep telling myself.......the days are getting longer, this is our coldest month, soon we will have heat in the sun, soon we will have daytime melting-it's all uphill from here!

Logically, this means we must be, um, at a low, right? And boy howdy do we have LOW. Low temperatures that is!

Over the past weekend, the highest I had at home was -4 on Saturday. The bottom has dropped out since, it was -21.7 when I fed the horses this morning. It's -23 here at work. A quick scan of local weather stations this am revealed temps down to -30 in other areas. And no end in sight of this pattern either-until these lows get bumped onwards, or the jet stream moves.

I grabbed my very old cold weather suit and tossed it into the car, just in case. Even the clutch was stiff for driving-but I am lucky enough to have space inside the heated shop here, so there it sits. I did inventory as I drove up-no way do I want to be out in that for even a couple minutes (if I can help it!) and I don't expect much to happen today except phone calls.

If the winds pick up as forecast, blankets will go on, period. As it is, the horses have hay 24/7, and a warm mash with extra salt at least once a day. All we can do is endure.