I just had a fight with Mother Nature – and she won.






ORIGINALLY POSTED IN FEBRUARY, 2011… but tonight I wanted to post this because I feel the same way.  Tonight, I would have rewritten this story – exactly.

I don’t know about where you live, but our winter out here in California has been extremely wet and stormy.

I know I know, all of you with a mountain of snow and ice on your doorstep probably want to wallop me right now… but for us, as with you all, this season has been uniquely wintery.

What’s up with Mother Nature… is she mad or something?

Maybe she is sick of winter, too.  Maybe she is very sad and keeps snorfeling and blowing her nose.  Maybe she just needs a shoulder to cry on.  Actually, that shoulder was probably me today if you look at the condition of my coat…

Yeesh. Soaked.

EPIC RAINFALL

I know it has been epic all over the country, so I will commiserate with you all.  Yup.  It is raining so hard and storming so violently, I really didn’t want to go out there and feed this morning.  I waited for “a break in the weather” to no avail.  I finally told myself that the poor horses had waited long enough and 7:30am is the end of my window.

So, I went out there.

To my surprise, we have a new pond!  Right in our front yard!  I wonder if it will have fish anytime soon?  I’m guessing we will have plague-type frogs this Spring.

Oh, and I think my neighbor’s illegal dam (they do this all over – dam up a stream so that they can make large ponds for their cattle or fire prevention) on the other side of our fence broke.  Yay!  I mean I’m not happy that his dam broke but I am happy that we have our seasonal creek again.  After all, when I bought this property, it was advertised with a “seasonal creek”.  And then, my ahem neighbor decided it was all his and he took it from me.

For the last 5 years, I have only had an all-year trench that looks like a dry fissure through the property.

Anyway, I explored this morning and took several photos of my new old creek!  It comes from a spring at the top of the hill and flows downstream and meets up with Sonja’s property where it flows into a huge lake.  It is nice to be all connected again.

I have my creek back! It comes from above…

And flows all the way down to the lake on my neighbor’s cattle ranch.

INNYS VS. OUTTIES

Do you have some horses that don’t go in when it rains and some that won’t come out when it rains?  Me, too.  I call them the Innys and Outties.

The innys like their Inns.  Bodhi and Remi are like that.  It is good that I have them together since they are like-minded.  I didn’t know that about them when I forced them to room together… but it seems to have worked out.  As soon as the weather comes, all you see of Remi and Bodhi are the humps of their hind ends as they delve deep into their shelter, never to suffer a drop of rain.

Here are Remi and Bodhi… basically dry except for the new rain that is hitting them as they eat

The bad part about the Innys is that I have to coax them out to eat.  You see, unfortunately, the people that built the shelter did a fine job, put they placed it in the wrong direction.  Consequently, it floods.  So, although Remi and Bodhi are dry, their feet aren’t.

There are feeders in there but they are mounted feeders so the hay falls right into the wet mud.  Remind me that I need to get one of those hay feeders that saves hay and is on the ground. I wrote about those a while ago but it wasn’t raining then…

I had to lure my drenched ponies into their shelter

OUTTIES

The outtie horse stays out in the rain.  I have several here.  What is up with that?  I just don’t get it.  Slick and Dodger are the WORST.  Here they are, the littlest and hardest to maintain weight in the winter – yet they refuse to wimp-out and take shelter in the storms.  It is almost like the “little man” complex takes over and they need to show the world that they can take it.

Having them not use their shelter makes me crazy.  I go out there and I find two completely soaked, raggamuffin Sheltands and I suggest to them, “Why don’t you use your shelter?”  They look at me and tell me for the 100th time, “You messed it up by adding the wall.”  (I added the wall so it wouldn’t flood like Bodhi’s and Remi’s.)

Me:  But I had to add the wall or the shelter would have been no good in the winter!

Ponies:  “Well, you ruined it.”

Me:  Awww, C’mon and try it.

Ponies:  “Make us.”

Me:  Alright, I will!  (squeezing through the fence rails and marching into their shelter with hay and grain)

Ponies:  “She’s crazy!”

Me:  There.  Your food is in the shelter.  Take that!

Ponies:  “Fine.  Whatever.  We’ll just push it all out to where we want it after you leave.”

Now, I really shouldn’t worry about them, especially after I’ve written about all the wild island ponies who suffer way worse conditions and do absolutely fine.  I know they have coats like yaks.  Slick sort-of smells like a yak even…  But, it still bothers me.

Sam, the wild horse, is an outtie as well.  She came from Nevada where rain is a wishful thought so maybe she still thinks rain is cool.  Dunno.

This is the offending halfwall that they hate…. I’m taking the photo underneath it

TEMPORARY ALLIANCES

I find that storms often create temporary alliances between normally unfriendly horses.

For example, Norma (the donkey) doesn’t really like Mama Tess because Tess terrorizes Norma.  It is really not nice but kinda entertaining.  Norma’s stall door is right next to the gate to “outside” and Tess will reach her neck over the rails and fake-bite at Norma as she runs into her stall.

It is a game to Tess but not to Norma.  I see Norma time her entrance to the stall for when Tess isn’t looking.  Poor girl.

Anyway, I noticed that this morning, after a huge storm, Norma is flanking the rails so she can be next to saged and solid Tess.  Tess is fine with it.  And, I noticed that Norma spent the entire night in her stall which is quite unusual.  I think she hunkered down next to Tess.  Kinda sweet.

We’ll see how long it lasts…

Here is Norma, taking solice next to ‘been there done that’ Tess.

FEEDING IN A STORM

First of all, as I write this, I want to tell you that the rain has turned to snow.

Many of you have fed in a huge storm.  Not fun.  The feed flies everywhere, the hay gets soaked, your best boots want to stick and stay in the mud (have you ever pulled out of your boot and stepped in muck with just your stocking feet? – yup.  fun. )  and your coat becomes authentic camouflage.

The best part about feeding in a storm is how I look afterwards.  My hair appears to have spent several minutes in the spin cycle.  My coat has grown hay seeds all over it and will never be the same again.  In fact, since my coat is drenched, it may actually sprout a seed or two by morning.  And, those of you who have to wear long coats and tall boots to feed in bad weather will definitely understand when I mention the totally wet part between the end of your coat and the beginning of your boots… nice.

The totally wet spot between the end of your coat and the top of your boots…

My boots have become a mud and wind victim.  The mud is up to my shins and the wind has blown seeds inside (nice when the seeds dig into the interior padding, eh?) and also created a mud/seed decoupage covering.

MOTHER NATURE

So maybe we all need to give a nod to Old Mother Nature and perhaps calm her down a bit.  I mean, how often do we salute her or praise her or embrace her effusively?  Maybe she is just lonely and she’s sobbing all over us neglectful subjects…

Mother Nature turned the rain to snow… this is the skylight in my office. No sky, no light.

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3 comments have been posted...

  1. Seabiscute

    Mother Nature can sure make one miserable when she tries LOL! But, you should be grateful you don’t have to wrestle with horse clothing — going to be close to zero, you have to take off the midweight and put on the heavyweight. Going to be over freezing and sunny, take off all the blankets, and air them out on the fence rails in the paddock where the horses do NOT pull things off and chew on them.

    Going to be mild but windy and rainy, put on the waterproof sheet and fasten up that complicated neck thing. Going to have sleet and snow, put on the midweight with the neck thing (that’s what we are going to have tonight, with rain tomorrow).

    Ponies getting bored (especially the Morgan…) and ripping into each other’s sheets or blankets? Or tearing off the brand-new neck thing and stomping on it so the lining rips and the elastic poll strap breaks, and some of the stuffing comes out? Too bad, take them to the blanket repair place and buy new ones to use while they are being fixed.

    Another boarder asserts that your horse (the Morgan…) ripped her $300 turnout sheet to shreds? Probably true, but why did she have to get such an expensive one! Take that to the blanket fixer and pray it will cost less to fix than to purchase a new one. The other boarder’s horse ripped into your Morgan’s sheet? Nope, couldn’t have been, the Morgan did it himself, so take that to the fixer yourself as well.

    Well, now I have witnesses to the fact that my horse does not rip up his own sheet — he is versatile and extremely flexible, but ripping off the tail cover was pretty far-fetched to begin with — but somehow I suspect I will have to pay for its next repairs anyway. Oh well…

    As for humans — two suggestions for you: knee-high Wellington boots, with straps at the top that tighten them and make it harder for the mud to suck them off, and rain pants.

    For me, I have finally got a wardrobe together that addresses all kinds of horse weather. Insulated riding boots that were very expensive except I bought them in April for 75% off, polarfleece-lined breeches ditto, the aforementioned rain pants that actually can go over any trousers, and layers upon layers of sweaters and such. My best layering idea is a cashmere sweater than the moths got to — soft and warm and light, and under a polarfleece layer nobody knows it has holes.

    The problems that all of the above can’t address — such as having too many layers on to fit through the fence bars so I have to go all the way around to the gate, or unexpectedly stepping into snow that is past my knee, so my boot fills up, yuck — are few enough that I can laugh them off, fortunately.

    I hear that spring may be coming after all — daylight saving is only a few weeks away! I will be ready.

  2. Denise

    I have two outties and this really bothers me since I have spent a lot of money and time making shelter for them so I give up but if they start shivering then they have to wear their raincoats. We have gotten a lot of snow but today is nice so I’m finally going to get to try my new LG bridle and I’m so excited.

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