Has it really been an entire month since I blogged last? There’s no excuse. Well, there is a couple – I have been busy, it snowed and I’ve traveled.
Here’s some photos of my adventures.
Since horses are a big part of my life, and their care is a priority to me, I often look for ways to make chores a lot easier. In the mornings, I normally hit the snooze several times and don’t get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off so my day’s often start out in a rush. Not much fun, but I make it work most mornings.
On New Year’s Eve we got a snow storm. This time it was pretty snow that fell from the sky with minimal wind and ended up being about five or six inches in places. Most often in Western Kansas, our snow doesn’t fall, it comes horizontally, blown by cold, gusty North winds. This time too it was bitterly cold, but not quite as bad because of the lax winds. However, single digit temps made feeding horses a bigger chore than it really was, plus with the snow on the ground it just made doing chores cumbersome and take longer.
First you had to bundle up like you were in the Arctic (Ok, not true but I despise the cold). In regular weather a Carhartt coat and heavy sweat pants (shorts in summer) and tennis shoes comprise my feeding attire. During this week of cold and snow, I donned the Carhartt, bib coveralls and snow boots.
Then you had to chop ice. I don’t mind chopping ice in a big tank. One that has some size to it and there’s no fear of puncturing it or breaking it when the axe hits the ice. Plus, when its zero degrees out any liquid freezes where it falls. That could be your face, your eyelashes or coat. By the end of the second day my horse’s tubs were frozen solid and no amount of chopping could clear out enough room for a bucket full of fresh water. I finally resorted to a small plastic tub that wouldn’t be a total loss if I broke it and it could easily be picked up and dumped out. In the last two days it has gotten warm enough during the days where the ice bricks/blocks have melted a little. Last night I was able to dump the big ice cubes out and fill the tubs with clean water. Success! I got my coat and gloves wet and my hands were cold, but NO MORE ICE! I was pretty excited.
However on my walk back to the house my excitement over the victory against the ice was dampened some by the fact that I realized ice-free horse tubs made me happy. Really? In my 34 years on this earth, that’s something that makes me happy? I guess I’ve gotten simple, but it works!
I normally try to give my horse some time off during the winter for two reasons: 1) it’s normally too dark to have much time to ride after I get home from work; and 2) a break is good for her and me too. However when February rolls around I try to get back into some sort of routine with my horse.
As I look at the calendar today is already Feb. 10. Where did the first ten days of this month go already?? So, that means I have roughly 35 days to get some rides on my horse before the first big barrel race I would like to enter – the Barrel Bash at Hutchinson, Kan., March 16 to 18. Really don’t want to be the out-of-shape barrel racer flopping around on the back of her horse looking like Whiplash the monkey.
That’s all fine and dandy since my horse is finished and doesn’t require any tuning on the barrel pattern. But when I get home from work and its 40 some degrees and the temperature is dropping, my recliner has a way of sucking me in as does the fuzzy blanket.
I used to be the kind of person who couldn’t wait until 5 o’clock and I would race home and get on my horse. But since it has gotten colder and I have got some age on me, my drive to be horseback in the evenings has waned. I hate that it has happened, but what can I do? Some people wonder where their mojo has gone, me I have lost my motivation. If someone finds it please send it back to me. I will pay shipping. However, I don’t think my mare would mind too much.
For entertainment or a break in the work day I either read a couple of blogs I have discovered through Twitter or a barrel racing forum. Last week on the forum there was a post from a gal that was living in Canada. The temperature where she lived was well below zero and she was having to take care of cattle on their ranch while her husband was on a hunting trip. Reading her posts about frozen tanks, frozen vehicles and numerous other escapades involving electricity, snow, livestock and frozen water I laughed and laughed. I would guess that’s her way of venting and handling the situation the best way she could without losing her sanity in the process (or killing her husband when he returns home).
After only having to care for one horse for the majority of the last 14 years, it’s hard for me to fathom caring for a couple hundred cattle or a dozen horses when the weather is bad. As I sit at my desk reading, I think, “there would be no way I could handle taking care of the things by myself.” Sure, I can handle three horses in the frozen tundra of western Kansas when it happens, but there’s no way I could take doing their work day after day. Heck my sister takes care of their cattle – moving bales, feeding and even gathering a sick one or loose one into the pens every day. I have it easy, and honestly, I like it that way. If she can do it, so can I. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
However, if my husband decides to leave me home to care for horses and cattle on my own some day (while he’s off doing something fun), I would like to think he has the confidence in me to not return home to dead or sick livestock.