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November 30, 2014: Chilly Scenes of Winter

No apologies to fiction writer Anne Beattie for the title. It’s a good title, worthy of sharing with me. I will do it justice in today’s dispatch. Yesterday we got at most two inches of fresh snow. It wasn’t enough to impede progress, but enough to cut down on the dust.

The temperature has slowly been dropping – it’s now regularly in the teens. This morning it was 17 degrees out. It was cold enough so that Pete went and brought down my Refrigerware suit, which last spring we stored in the black hole, along with my Steiger mukluks.

This afternoon I suited up before heading out to spend the afternoon with the horses. What a difference – for the past week or so I’ve been putting up with cold extremities. Today, after donning outer apparel, I feel toasty warm. I also put a new pair of gloves on. Pete had purchased a twelve pack at AIH Hardware. I took the first pair and put A-1 on both the left and right gloves. I want to see how long I’ll be able to hang on to this pair. My track record is now looking really bad.

We next got ready to go for a horseback ride. Beforehand, I had Raudi bow (her front leg now touches the ground) and then had her put her front legs in the swimming pool and do a 360 degree turn. Odd, that yesterday I didn’t mention to any of the dressage people that she does tricks. However, I do think that knowing some tricks is a very good thing – we have a really good time learning them, and after doing them.

We went for a ride, rode the lower trail first, then the new upper trail. I think that we’re going to call it Tin Can Trail. The old and new trails all wind through spruce and birch trees. We were careful to situate all the trails on the ridges so that come spring we won’t come to any boggy areas. It was a wonderful ride – all the horses behaved, and Tinni was just plain full of himself. We’re now housing him alone at night, and beforehand, giving him as much hay as he will consume. I think that Raudi and Hrimmi (the two fat mares) were eating too fast, so old Slow-Mo wasn’t getting enough to eat.

It was slightly foggy out, giving the immediate landscape soft edges. Towards the end of our ride, the low lying sun again appeared.

All the animals were in their places with bright shiny faces at the trailhead. The dogs waited for me to dismount, and the horse waited while I put the dogs on their leashes.

Once back home, I worked with Raudi for a bit in the swimming pool with her on turn on the forehand, and began work with her on her turn on the haunches. I also had her do the turn on the forehand while riding her. That was impressive. The turn on the haunches is going to be tougher, but we’ll get it.

Horse chores took me a while. I used the snow scooper and pushed the snow off the front mats. And Pete cut the tape and foam off the front gate. We’d put it there because Hrimmi bruised her hoof kicking at it. I don’t know what we’ll do because she’s back to banging on it again. We took it off because one of the mares was shredding it.

Another sign that winter’s here – we’re now using the sled Vickie gave us last Christmas to haul water down to the horses. And we’re now using what I call the Uber sled to haul manure to the compost station. And additionally, we’re now spreading the horse hay in piles, out in the paddock. This way the horses are forced to walk around a bit more.

We have enough wood to get by if it doesn’t get too windy or cold. A good feeling, to be ready for our late winter, which at the most will only last four more months.

Next:320. 12/1/14: As the Weather Turns