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Horses

Rain and more rain

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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More Weather Woes

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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!

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Even though the light was not good, could not resist trying to get some photos of a ghostly looking lake.

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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.


A Welcome Break

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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.img_3838

We were blessed with lots of sunshine, and mild temperatures, and Lake Ontario, as always provided some wonderful photo ops.

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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.

 


Solstice

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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.

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There are several Mulberry Trees in the Park, and the fruit is just beginning to ripen.  

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My container gardens looked a little beaten down after the heavy rain, but perked up when the sun came out.

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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.

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.  We haven’t decided yet whether to demolish the old building, or just let nature (or gravity) take its course! 🙂


Frosty Noses

Frosty NoseWe 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.

Fox Tracks

Fox Tracks

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! 🙂

Snowy Nest

Snowy Nest

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.

 


December Sunrise

SunriseAfter what seems to have been an endless string of grey and gloomy days, the sun made a brief appearance on December 26th, and I was inspired to take my camera out for the first time in a long time.IMG_2420

After a chilly start, the day warmed up to around 50 degrees, giving us a fleeting taste of Spring.

Frozen Puddle

Frozen Puddle

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!


Cold Snap

First Snow

First Snow

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.

IMG_2415It 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! 😦IMG_2414In 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!


Peek-A-Boo Moon

IMG_2228I noticed a beautiful cumulus cloud from my front window.  It wasn’t until I stepped outside with my camera that I spotted a pale half moon peeking out from behind it.  I enjoy taking photos of clouds.  The shapes and lighting change by the moment and I find it often pays to keep my eye on the sky, especially if storms are approaching.

Grazing Horses

Grazing Horses

As long as I was out there with my camera, I took the opportunity to take a few shots of Sunny and Twiggy.  They spend much of their days grazing side by side like this.  Not too surprising, as they have been together since Twiggy was born 26 years ago, and hate to be separated.

Grazing horses

Grazing horses

After a couple of days of rain and storms, cooler weather has moved in and I had to hunt up a jacket for our walk this morning.  A few leaves are beginning to fall and there is an unmistakable scent of Autumn in the air.


And More Rain

Storm CloudsStorms were approaching a few days ago, and I caught some interesting cloud formations just before the rain set in.  More storms are in the forecast today and the air is oppressively humid.

We have had so much rain, it has been hard to keep up with the mowing, but I took advantage of a few dry days to catch up.  Just as well, as rain is in the forecast for at least the next couple of days.Grazing HorseThe extra moisture has been good for our pastures, and the horses are making the most of the lush new growth.

Purple IrisI was pleasantly surprised to find a purple Iris growing next to the back lawn.  I have no idea how it came to be there – I certainly didn’t plant it.  It is a very hardy plant and requires little to no care, which makes it perfect for me, since I did not inherit my Mother’s ‘green thumb’.


Dame’s Rocket

Dame's Rocket

Dame’s Rocket

Lots of Dame’s Rocket in bloom in the woods and roadsides.  They make such lovely splashes of color, ranging from white to pink or purple, and I enjoy photographing them.Dame's Rocket

Black Locust Trees have been rather late to bloom this year, but are really beautiful now.  Close up, their blooms look very much like Sweet Peas.

Black Locust Blossom

Black Locust Blossom

Summer weather has finally arrived, but after our super-wet May, we have a bumper crop of mosquitoes.  I am a bit of a baby about biting insects, so I have been staying out of the woods for the most part, especially at dusk and early morning, which unfortunately are the times for Abbie’s walks.

I have been sticking to the more open areas of the Park, and Abbie doesn’t seem to mind.  As long as there are lots of smells and ‘pee-mails’ she is happy!

I need to get more exercise and was hoping to starting riding again, but Twiggy has come up lame.  It seems minor and I am hoping it will work itself out without the need to call in the vet.  She was just here to administer Spring shots, and I would like to get that bill paid off before racking up another one! 😦