Monday, December 29, 2008

The Thaw and the Mess Thereafter

It has been crazy in Northern Indiana. It was about 60 degrees this weekend, and all our beautiful snow and the beautiful, but dangerous, ice is gone. What was left behind was a huge mess! It is amazing how much that winter blanket covered! So this weekend was cleanup time in the pasture. Some of it was still immovable frozen objects, but there was plenty that had thawed. I believe our two horses can "deposit" about a wheelbarrow full each day onto the pasture. We will absolutely get hit with more snow and ice this winter, so the pasture is cleared for Round 2!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ice Capades

We have been hit with just about everything in Northwest Indiana this Christmas week -- snow, rain, sleet, and ice. The temperatures have ranged from around zero to in the 30's. As a result, the outdoors is like one huge ice skating rink! You could train for the Winter Olympics or the Chicago Blackhawks out there! We were hoping to get some riding in during this long holiday weekend, but it is too dangerous. We don't want to chance one of "the girls" falling and injuring herself. And, Zora has a history of not being the most sure-footed animal around! In fact, all of our animals were having a problem this morning. When I let the chickens out, they slipped and slid their way down the coop ramp. Sonya (the female cat), ever the Princess, stayed on the deck, watching everyone else trying to negotiate the ice, waiting for someone to open the door so she could come back inside and lay on a pillow. Simo (our male cat) looked so funny running around and having his legs slip out from under him! Even the goats had a problem, and they are the climbers who generally can walk on anything. We live down a long gravel road that we call "the lane." On the weekends and days off, we take the almost 1/4 mile walk down the lane and out to the main paved road near our house to get the newspapers and mail. The goats love to take that walk with us, so we bring them along. Today they were stepping very carefully on the small hills of the lane, and had their moments of slipping around. It was quite the adventure, but we got the newspapers and mail without any of the four of us falling. If you could see our situation, you could appreciate what an accomplishment that was! We are hoping for warmer temperatures and a thaw so we can ride this weekend.......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Coat for Marco

It is really cold here in LaPorte County Indiana right now. Our winter has come on early and strong. Our poor little LaMancha goat, Marco, is really not suited for this weather. Misho, the African Boar goat, is really furry and fat, so he is OK. But Marco has thinner hair, and not as much body fat, so he has more trouble when the temps drop. We have felt sorry for him, as he literally shivers in the cold, so we bought a dog coat for him the first winter he was with us. The dog coat doesn't really work for him anymore -- he has outgrown it, plus it keeps coming off. The velcro closures are not "goat proof" and using pins did not work either. So last week we bought him a sheep blanket, and it is just what he needed. I think he looks rather handsome in it!

When the temperatures fall below 15F, we put everyone in for the night. Marco stays in the stall with Divna, and Misho bunks with Zora. They sort of partnered themselves up like this -- at mealtimes when we feed them in the stalls, this is how they pair up, so we do the same for the sleeping arrangements. Marco and Divna seem to be buddies -- they hang out together in the pasture, and seem to like being around each other.

I am posting a photo of Marco in his coat......The things we do for our animals! But they are worth it, aren't they?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

At a Snail's Pace

Thanksgiving was over....we had everything back to normal and decided to go for a ride. On Saturday it was a ride "as usual." We went to the Dunes and had a great ride -- partly walking, mostly going a bit faster (running sometimes), and it was great. The Dunes looked different since our last ride there in the fall; more leaves down, a farther view, but beautiful in a different way. The trails there will be closed to horseback riding and open to cross-country skiers soon, so we wanted to have "one last fling" so to speak.

Sunday we decided to take the trails near our house. Zora could use some discipline, so we had Divna in the lead, with Zora following. It was amazing! We actually walked through the trails of Otis -- something that doesn't happen very often. With Divna in the lead, Zora kept pace and stayed behind, walking the entire time. It was not easy for her, but she did it. Quite a different experience, seeing everything at a slower pace. You can really see everything....but it is a bit colder! There is something to be said for the warmth of exciting riding in helps keep the body temp up!

It really boils down to the fact that no matter when you ride, the temperature in which you ride, the people you ride with, how you ride, or where you ride, the most important thing is that you RIDE! It is one of God's greatest pleasures on this Earth.