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February 17, 2020: Snow Day

A snow day in February is way different than a snow day in late December or early November. Then snow days are still a novelty and somewhat fun to deal with. The later in the year snow days, it is just a matter of getting on with it. They are then the same old same old.

Today’s snow day was unexpected. Yesterday temperatures were low, but the low-lying sun was shining brightly, casting long shadows. We did agility with Hrimmi, and Pete took a few photos. The sunlight made the surrounding landscape look golden.

Today we did agility with all three horses. What a difference. It was snowing, a bit

Alys drags a sled of manure on a snow day
Alys drags a sled of manure on a snow day

blustery. There was about six inches of fresh snow in the Playground of Higher Learning.

The first obstacle was a gate – we made one with two sawhorses – the gate was a stick nailed to the end of one of the sawhorses. I had to swing it open and have the horse wait five seconds. Said horse then had to walk through and then turn towards me. The fifth obstacle was the same gate, but this time the horse had to go through the gate, and rather than turn, wait. I had this brilliant idea – I tossed a target, in this case a bucket lid, to the side of the horse after coming through the first time. And so all the horses went ahead of me and touched the lid, in hopes of getting a treat.

The problem was that I could not open the gate, give the treat, and toss the target with a gloved hand. So I removed the glove. And in short order my hand got cold. I went to put it back on and by then glove was frozen and cold.

I would not have minded this so much late last December or early November. But I am now tired of not being able to remove my gloves for any length of time. This weather, these conditions, which of course necessitate glove removal, are now just an annoyance.

I am working hard in my attempts to continue to enjoy the beauty that’s unique to winter. Key words there, working hard. I would most likely be more appreciative if I’d spent a portion of this winter in a warmer place, my number one choice being Northern New Mexico. Imagine it, stepping out the door into the warm sunshine, walking over to the horses, saddling one up and taking off on a day-long trail ride.

We have talked about becoming snowbirds, which is spending our winters in the Lower 48 and our summers here. A lot of our friends are now doing this. I think that we didn’t give this matter much thought because then we’d merely be a part of the Alaska horseback riding status quo.

We can’t even seriously consider this idea until Pete retires – and as he says to whoever will listen to him: “I can’t retire. We have horses.” So they remain tethered to us and we remain tethered to the proverbial hitching post.

I am leaving tomorrow for Olympia, Washington where rumor has it, temperatures are in the 50s. It will be different, being in a place where I don’t have to worry about my extremities, and this includes my nose, getting overly cold.

Next: 49. 2/18/20: More Snow: A Conversation with Tinni

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