Monday, February 24, 2014

Waiting on the Weather

The Long Winter

Years ago, I rode in the snow. I even jumped in the snow. My horse wore snow shoes with pads and was incredibly sure footed. Snow actually was a nice break from coping with the frozen solid ground.

I've grown older. The frozen solid ground is harder and the cold air gets into my bones.

To top it off, my horses are totally out of shape. Two are barefoot, which is good in the snow, and Tucker has shoes with snow pads. But I'm not even trying to ride.

Do I have excuses? Not really. Going out on the trail is problematic, however. To get to any of my trails I need to ride through the woods for a fair piece. The trouble with the snow out there is that it's impossible to see the fallen trees and branches underfoot. I once had a serious problem with PJ when he stepped on a fallen branch and got his leg trapped in it. It was as close to panic as I've been in a long time as I struggled to free him from a very tightly wedged situation. Fortunately, he had the good sense not to struggle at all, and just patiently stood there until, with every ounce of strength I had, I got him free. Bless his heart, because it was a broken leg situation just waiting to happen.

Since then, I've been really wary about taking that kind of risk again.

So that leaves the riding arena. There, at least, I know there are no wayward branches underfoot.

I'm not that eager to ride. "Back in the day," keeping my horses fit for the upcoming competition season was really important. Today, with no plans to compete, it really doesn't matter too much.

While I'm just happy to go out on a nice trail ride or do some moderate training in the arena, there just isn't the old motivation left. Toby is semi-retired--although he's keen to go out adventuring. Tucker is not the safest horse to hack out, but I hope to try some remedial work with him this Spring. And Chance? While he does need some more schooling, he's just fun to ride out into the wilds.....well, as wild as suburban NJ can be. (I do have a 1500 acre State Park behind me, and across the next road, some other County preserved lands with acres more to ride in.)

So, no excuses here. Until the snow finishes melting and the ice underneath becomes just a memory, I'm staying out of the saddle.

Jean the riding wimp. I'd never have believed it years ago.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Call Me Crazy

But I Had Fun!

OK, so we were hit with another snowstorm. It's still here, even as I write. However, at the moment, it's raining instead of snowing.

But there were perhaps 10" of snow on the ground when I went out to feed the Boys this morning at around 8:30. Once I'd done all the chores, I decided it was worth it to fire up the snowblower and clean some paths. The snow was still not deep enough to challenge my blower, so I figured I'd get a head start on doing some serious plowing later with the tractor.

Well, my body must have craved the exercise because I found myself having a grand time out there with my 24" snow blower. (I only mention the size because it's not a really big one.)

Before I knew it, I had decided to open the mailbox driveway. It took four passes up and down to get the driveway clear, but I did it. Then, I began working on the area in front of the garage and finally, in another burst of ambition decided to open the other driveway as well.

I sprayed lots of snow on myself as the winds picked it up and threw it back at me. I had to work to turn the blower around as it only has one speed and that only drives it forward, not back. I had to push and lift now and then to get the blower through some of the heavier stuff where the street plows had filled the ends of my driveways in.

I was out there for at least two hours.

And I had a lot of fun! Just watching the snow fly through the air out of the way made me giddy. The physical effort energized me. I was having a really good time!

Now we may get another layer of snow later, and if we do, I am ready. I may decide to hop on the tractor and clear things out, or I just my start up my snow eating toy again and do it the walking way.

I hate the snow at this point in an overly cold and long winter, but for once, I had a smile on my face.

Call me crazy if you will, but I am a happy camper.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

OK, OK, Enough Already

Storm #2

I'll admit, the snow is pretty as it coats the trees and turns the world into a fairyland of white.

 Before plowing pictures.
After plowing.

But, enough is enough. Tonight there is more on the way with the possibility of sleet and ice as well. That could mean a power outage.

On the plus side of that, my generator is back and should be in top working order. As well, my tractor came home just in time to be ready for this last little winter treasure. We had at least 9 inches of a heavy, wet snow that was a killer to shovel. I'm not even sure my snow blower would have been able to handle it as it was so wet it probably would have clogged in the blades.

Kubota and I spent about an hour and a half digging my driveway out and helping one of the neighbors get their drive cleaned. I am pleased about that, of course, but the downside is that since the snow was so wet and heavy I had to drop loads of it along the side of the driveway to get it out of the way when the tractor could not push it any more. That means that a good number of drop spots now have piles of snow in them. Since there is the possibility of another BIG storm coming through over the weekend, finding a place to drop that snow is going to be tricky.

Ah well. No way to plan too far ahead. Coping with the idea of an ice storm over top of this snowstorm is enough crisis for me at the moment.

The Boys seem to be doing just fine. They have made a number of trails in the snow. It's kind of interesting tracking some of their movements. They seem to spend a fair amount of time in the paddocks at the side and front of the barn. Next favorite is the riding arena. The pasture was not too alluring, with only a few sets of horse tracks out there.
 Toby and Tucker. Toby is cribbing on the fence. *sigh* Tucker is looking for something. The younger Boys are wearing their sheets, but I am keeping Toby in a blanket.
 Chance, off by himself always poses for the camera.
Not too many trails far out into the pasture. They stayed close to the gate. 
 Rugged path to the barn. The ground was thawed underneath so I had to be careful not to dig up the dirt. That made plowing a mess and I left a lot of snow in the track.
 Looking into the fairyland of the forest. All those branches are weighed down with snow blocking the trail.
Down the mailbox driveway before I  plowed. It was definitely pretty, but not when you have to dig it all out.