On Friday I drove to Lansing to see a Draft Horse Show. I so enjoy getting up close and personal with these gentle giants!
Having shown my own horses in the past, I can appreciate the tremendous amount of work that goes into preparing the two, four, and six-horse teams.
As the second day of showing winds down, both horses and handlers are ready for a nap!
Each year, Metamora Hunt hosts a tour of some of our local horse farms. This is an important fund-raiser for the organization, which has been active in our area for 90 years.
Summer is a busy time, and I have never managed to make the tour, but this year a friend invited me to accompany her, and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon together.
These farms are nestled in some of the most beautiful country in the area.
Non horse people are often confused by the ‘blindfolds’ these horses are wearing. They are actually made of a soft mesh which the horse can easily see through and serve to protect their eyes from pesky flies.
We saw an interesting mix of old and modern barns, all beautifully kept. These horses enjoy a very comfortable life!
On Wednesday we were blessed with more sunshine, and I was able to get a few nice shots.
There was a fairly heavy frost, only the second one we have had so far this season, but this was just a taste of what was to come.
The horses were grazing under the Mulberry Tree, and Twiggy did not seem to mind the leaves falling on her back. She is such a good-natured soul!
More sunshine today (Friday), but we are really getting a taste of Winter. Temperature dropped into the teens overnight, and I had to set up the heated bucket for the horses’ water. Will drop down into the low teens tonight, but is supposed to be above freezing for the weekend.
I was hoping when we turned the calendar to May, we would be blessed with some really Springlike weather, but rain and cold seem to be the order of the day.
Yesterday was warm and sunny, but today we are back to a cold rain, and the forecast is for more of the same for the rest of the week.
The pasture is lush and green, and normally my horses would spend all afternoon out there chowing down, but today they are huddled in their shelter, unwilling to brave the chill. Now that the longer days are here, they like to stay out until after eight o’clock, but it looks like I will have to bring them into the barn early tonight and give them extra hay.
The exceptionally wet weather is producing a fine crop of Dandelions. Although they are a terrible nuisance in our lawns and flower beds, they really are quite beautiful, and I read something the other day, encouraging us not to kill them as bees rely on them because they are one of the first things to bloom in the Spring.
Managed to get some shots of my apple blossoms before the rain spoiled them. The wind made it quite challenging. Anyone who considers flower photography ‘Still Life’ has never tried to photograph them on a windy day!
The warmer temperatures have continue to be a mixed blessing. Freezing rain on Monday, followed by rain through the night left my corral far too slippery for the horses. Had to keep them in all day yesterday, which is not good for their arthritic joints, but I don’t think they should be taking up ice skating at this stage of their lives!
Even though the light was not good, could not resist trying to get some photos of a ghostly looking lake.
Not sure how much rain we have had over the last few days, but it must have been quite a bit. The spillway from the lake is in full spate.
Just back from a trip to Canada to visit my daughter and her family. The first time I have been able to get away in about 2 years, so it was a very welcome break.
We were blessed with lots of sunshine, and mild temperatures, and Lake Ontario, as always provided some wonderful photo ops.
I am not about to let all this mild weather fool me! I know that Winter is coming, and am trying to prepare for it as best I can. On Tuesday, I brought home the first of two large round hay bales to help keep my horses happy once the pasture grass dies off. If they don’t get enough ‘chew time’ they will take out their boredom on my barn and fences, so the round bales are a good investment!
These bales are large and extremely heavy. The farmer I buy them from loads them onto the truck, but once home, it is up to me to unload them. My husband figured out some time ago, the easiest way to do this is to simply reverse the truck a few feet and slam on the brakes. If all goes well, the bale simply rolls off and stays right side up. With luck, two bales will keep the horses happy until the pastures begin to green up in the Spring.
Our weather continues to be wet and stormy. We had another inch and a half of rain overnight Monday, but at least we were spared the worst of the storms and tornadoes which hit other parts of the state.
There are several Mulberry Trees in the Park, and the fruit is just beginning to ripen.
My container gardens looked a little beaten down after the heavy rain, but perked up when the sun came out.
We did get enough dry days for our builder to finish the new run-in shelter for the horses, and he did a great job.
The horses took to it right away, seeking shelter whenever the sun got too hot, or the bugs too annoying.
. We haven’t decided yet whether to demolish the old building, or just let nature (or gravity) take its course! 🙂
We are still in the grip of Arctic Air, but the forecast promises some relief soon. After only about an hour outside, the horses’ noses and whiskers were covered in frost. They don’t seem to mind, and, like the barn cats soak up as much sunshine as they can.
The barn cats, Boo and Otis have been spending much time cuddled up together on top of the hay, and are growing quite fat. I am giving them extra food, as the calories help generate heat, and they have a carpeted Kitty Condo to curl up in at night.
The days are growing noticeably longer, and on a sunny day, it stays light till well past six o’clock. This will allow me to adjust feeding time for the horses so they come in later at night. The less time they spend cooped up in their stalls, the better for their aging joints.
Whenever there is fresh snow overnight, I see many Fox tracks, both in the Park and across our own front yard. Abbie always finds them quite fascinating and would stop to examine each and every print if I had the patience to allow it! 🙂
Once the leaves are gone, I am often surprised to spot bird nests located quite close to human activity. I found this one right next to the road in the Park, and must have walked by it many times this Summer, never knowing it was there.
After a chilly start, the day warmed up to around 50 degrees, giving us a fleeting taste of Spring.
Since then we have been mostly in the deep freeze, and I would actually welcome a little snow to soften the footing for the horses. Their turn-out area is frozen so hard that is making them a little tender footed.
At least we are now past the shortest day, the sun is setting a little later each day, which makes it easier to begin to think about Spring, even though it is still a long way away!
It is not unusual for us to have a little snow here in Michigan in November, but it is usually an inch or so, which does not stay around very long. This week the promised ‘inch or less’ turned out to be 5 inches or more, and the temperature plummeted to the single digits overnight.
It was 5 degrees when I went down to feed the horses on Friday morning. The frost did leave some lovely designs on our storm window, but it really is too early in the season for such severe temperatures! It isn’t even officially Winter yet! 😦In typical Michigan fashion, the weather has done a complete about-face and temperatures topped 50 degrees today! More snow in the forecast for tomorrow, so a thoroughly mixed bag. Can’t complain too much when we see what has been happening in Buffalo!