Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #31

January 31, 2013: Counting One’s Lucky Stars

C.J. of Synergist Saddles was right on the mark when she speculated that I’m suffering from cabin fever. Defined: cabin fever is the malaise that sets in at this time of year. The term originally referred to those who were, because of heavy snowfalls, cabin bound. It’s since been more broadly defined to describe those who suffer from winter blues. Both versions are fairly common here in Alaska.

Most people either circumvent or forestall cabin fever by going elsewhere in the winter, some for months at a time and others for just a few weeks. Most people I know go to Hawaii. I would very much like to go to Cuba. My Spanish is rusty, but

better than my French, which is non-existent. I’m not going anywhere until we find a reliable house-sitter, which is one who can handle both winter off-the-grid-life and tending to horses, dogs, and goats.

This year’s weather has contributed to my down and out attitude. It’s been variable, but in an odd way. We’ve gotten it all – cold temperatures, warm temperatures, snow, rain, sleet. And strong winds. The strong winds are the worst because they are unrelenting.

I have not gotten so down that I can’t deal. But pulling myself up out of the hole has, this year, been more difficult than most years. Today Pete gave me (without his realizing it) a much needed assist, in a way extending a hand and pulling me up and out of the hole. I asked him this morning if he’d go with me and the horses for a walk, and he readily agreed.

We took Raudi and Siggi who, like the others, had not been out in a few days. I decided to forego putting the bridle on Raudi. I usually put it on her, so that I have more control. Instead, I just put a rope on her halter. She was very lively, and a tad bargey. So we worked on whoa. I also turned her the other way when she attempted to turn into me. She listened to me, and did as told. I was pleased, especially after I let her off line on the final homestretch. She trotted ahead, but waited for me to catch up. And when I fell to the ground and pretended to be hurt, she came right over to me. Pretty good for a punchy little pony. She could just as easily run back to the hitching post, where a pile of hay awaited her.

We put the horses back in their enclosure, and Pete went to work. By this point in time, I had momentum. I next groomed Tinni and took him for a ride around the loop. I rode him bareback. Tinni wasn’t bothered by our neighbor’s dog, who was riding shotgun in the rear of his pickup. And he was unphased by another neighbor’s snowplowing efforts.

I next got Signy out. I’d planned on doing a short ride, but I ended up going a lot further than originally planned. Signy started out at a good clip and remained forward. But she slowed down when I squeezed gently on the reins. We went around the loop, doing walk, trot, and canter transitions. Then when we came to our turnoff, we kept on going. We continued on down to the Murphy Road turnoff and back. Finally, we walked the last quarter-mile home, side-by-side.

It again occurred to me that Signy is an amazing little horse. How, I again wondered, did I get so lucky? She was expensive, and she has been an added expense. And I most certainly did not need yet another riding horse. But I have never once regretted our buying her. She has turned out to be a diamond in the rough. I rode her when she was pregnant and after she had Hrimmi. She wasn’t too enthused about this—and would often stop. Now she’s full of go. And I’m having no problems rating her.

I do wonder sometimes if I have enough love in me to go around. Two dogs, two goats, and five horses – having this many animals to care for boggles the mind. But I don’t think that any are lacking in terms of concern or attention. I spend the least amount of time with Siggi, but he has his buddy Pete, and as of yet, has not appeared to be suffering from attention deficit – that is the kind that is just that, a lack of attention.

I think that when I’m feeling down, that what I need to do is to stop and count my lucky stars. I have so many of them that I’m near blinded. Seeing the light enables me to stave off the darkness. And, indeed, we’re now on the flip side of winter.

Next: 32. 2/1/13: Hello and Goodbye to Peaches