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Posts tagged “Snow

I Feel Pretty

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I’m having a Hazer vacation today. Over the last few years I’ve been using a holistic dental hygienist to clean my dog’s teeth, but Hazer finally reached the point where he needed a more thorough cleaning. For many years digestive upset has forced Hazer to consume a grain-free diet, which I suspect is at the root of his dental problem. This (expensive) type of diet has resolved some of his digestive issues, bit it’s a more “sticky” type of food than traditional kibble. Add the fact that Hazer has never been one to tolerate much hands on, and you have a situation where I can’t really do much here at home to clean his teeth. Oh, we give it the college try, but evidence shows we don’t put much of a dent in things.

Any time one of my animals needs special care or vet attention I worry. I worry about the procedure itself, and with Hazer I worry about his ability to cope with the environment and stress. The worry doesn’t end when he comes home. In fact, I have to be extra diligent when we return from the vet this afternoon. “Vet smell” can send an alarming scent to my other dogs and their curiosity will not be welcomed by Hazer. Hazer is the kind of dog who reacts negatively to any perception of infirmity or weakness; his, or that of another dog. So we will have to take plenty of time to re-acclimate Hazer once he is home.  This would be best done outdoors if possible, but since winter has decided to stick around it will be too slippery and cold. Fortunately, I’m prepared to manage things inside. By bedtime tonight, things should be well on their way back to normal.

Hazer is such a large presence that the house feels quite different when he’s not here. It calls to mind Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone; the minute the house is a Hazer-free zone I want to run around and do a million things I can’t do (or can’t easily do) when Hazer is home. Like vacuum, lay on the floor (?) hug the other dogs, come and go without having to trip over his prancing body or do just about anything without having to listen to his ear-piercing shrieks or threatening growls. There’s a freedom in this, yet it feels empty. There is quiet in his absence, but the peace lacks energy. I’ve always said my relationship with Hazer is Yin and Yang and nothing makes me more aware of that than the few rare moments when he isn’t right beside me.


Spring, Where Art Thou?

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Things are melting, refreezing, then melting again. We have lots of icy morning paths, frozen piles of manure and a light skin of ice on the water tank. I’ve smartened up. Instead of trying to pick the paddock I only clear a few areas to put out the hay. After the sun has warmed the surface of the ground I go back out and finish the job more thoroughly.  All but one large patch of stubborn snow has slid off the roof of the barn, making it less dangerous for me to be out there with horses who bolt and run at the slightest notion that the sky is falling. This has been our first winter in the new barn and I’m still getting used to the ups and downs of the environment. The snow-sliding-off-the-roof drama is a new experience for me and I’ve had to cultivate an awareness of where I am in proximity to the horses when the conditions are ripe for a snow slide. It’s a whole different kind of learning curve.

We have to wait until the sun has softened the frozen landscape, but by  mid-afternoon I can get the dogs out to play a little ball and Frisbee, after which Hazer would be content to find a sunny spot and just curl up in the snow. But with not much to do in the way of chores our time outside is still limited. We all have a bad case of cabin fever. The gardening catalogs that keep jamming my mailbox are no help.


Curmudgeon Report

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This photo was taken two weeks ago. Nothing has changed except the snow on the the barn roof slid off, creating a 5 foot wall of snow the entire length of the run-in. This happened an hour after we spent three hours plowing and shoveling the paddock, the drive and various paths. *Sigh* For weeks I played the blanket game: blankets on, blankets off, double blankets at night for the mare, no blanket for the buckskin during the day. It about drove me to drink. And if that didn’t make me woozy enough we had endless days with sub-zero temps. One morning it took three attempts to get everyone fed, blankets sorted out and the paddock picked to my liking. I had to keep running inside (and I do mean running) because my fingers and toes were on fire from the cold. I’ve learned that while it might not look pretty, it’s possible to run wearing ice cleats! I may have invented a new Olympic sport.

My house is now leaking, my back yard is a skating rink and I hold my breath every time I let the dogs out. Speaking of which, they’ve coped pretty well with being cooped-up for so long. That can only mean one thing: they’re getting old.


Ready or Not

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We’ve spent the better part of the last two days prepping for the looming “historic” snow storm of 2015. We have batteries, candles, propane, gas for the tractor and snow blower and plenty of milk and bread. (?) It started snowing at 9:15 this morning and so far it looks like any other gray, mid-winter January day. That’s to say that at this point our storm of ‘epic proportions’ doesn’t have much bite. The weather channel has been peppering their forecast with words like ‘gravely dangerous’ and ‘life-threatening.’ I’m not exactly sure why, but perhaps we’ll find out as the night progresses? I’d think a better choice of words might be ‘inconvenient’ or ‘bothersome,’ but I suspect those words aren’t sensational enough to drive ratings.

So here we sit, waiting.

It’s cold.

It’s snowy.

It’s winter.

We’re bored.


Oblivious

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I feel like I’ve spent the better part of the last year like Gus: oblivious to everything going on around me.

For those following, in the last twelve months I’ve weathered numerous operations on my right eye. Last March I only required one simple procedure, but then things went awry. The ensuing tailspin ended up being much more complicated (and scary, frustrating, and costly) than I ever could have imagined. Yesterday I got a new pair of glasses (second pair in two months). These glasses are supposed to be my last and final installment in this saga. The new glasses are an improvement over the $700.00+ pair I got previously, so maybe once I get used to them I’ll be rocking 20/20 vision again? (Insert HUGE sigh here)

A week ago (yesterday) I lost a very close friend who was truly like a brother and son to the entire Zovich family. We knew his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was terminal, but to lose this man only a few short weeks after Pop died left us reeling. It’s just ….. not fair? Too soon? What? I don’t know. Two deaths in five weeks kinda makes you visit those deep, dark places in your mind.

Have I been taking many pictures lately? No. For several reasons. One, it’s been very cold and windy. Most of the things I’d strive to shoot this time of year can’t be photographed in blustery wind. Two, the light conditions have been horrible. No gorgeous sunrises and very few picturesque sunsets. The skies have been unusually dull.  Third, the horses are muddy, hairy and somewhat scrappy looking, and the dogs? Well, I just haven’t felt inspired. Hopefully the conditions will begin to improve soon and I’ll get my mojo back. Oh, and I’ve been sick with an upper respiratory virus for four weeks now. That was enough to take whatever wind I had right out of my sails!

Today is anther cold, rainy, damp morning. If Mother nature is listening I could sure use a slight change of scene!


Digging Out

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We’ve made progress getting the basics dug out, which is a good thing because today we’re supposed to be hit with round two. Not snow, but rain and freezing rain. I’m not sure where all this participation is supposed to go, but I suspect a good portion of it is going to end up in places it’s not supposed to be. As of this morning we’ve been unable to clear the barn roof  … just too much manual labor for two middle-age people to handle in 24 hours. I can only hope the roof holds up under the weight of all the rain and ice we’re supposed to get. If we can hang in there another day or two the temperatures should begin to rise into the 40’s and perhaps some of this mess will begin to abate on it’s own. Here’s to the power staying on and everyone staying safe even if they’re stuck in their own home!


Blizzard Conditions

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We got snow. And more snow. And even MORE snow!

In the end, we got walloped with about 37-38 inches of snow in 28 hours.  It was both exciting and overwhelming. The storm built gradually, going from light flurries at 8 AM to full force gale winds and blizzard conditions by dusk. That evening, horses fed (but outside) dogs content, we hunkered down to watch a movie (Red Dog), totally unaware that the precipitation was falling at an alarming rate. At 10:30 I nudged my snoring husband awake. We decided it was time to get the dogs back out for last call, check on the horses and distribute more hay. There was a good bit of dialogue about whether or not to bring the horses into the barn, but against my better judgement it was decided they were happier outside. After all, they are used to being out and have full use of two covered lean-to sheds.

Aldo went downstairs with the dogs while I puttered around and basically avoided going to help. I didn’t think he needed my assistance, but when it became obvious that there was a problem I poked my head down the cellar stairs to ask what was going on? Apparently, the snow was so deep he couldn’t get the basement door open! Oh boy! In the end, I suited up and I shoveled while he went to fire up the snow blower. We worked for almost two hours, digging our way though almost two feet of snow. We cleared paths for the dogs and dug our way out to the barn. The horses were fine, but welcomed more hay. Again, against my better judgement, we let them stay outside. Exhausted and cold, we finally called it quits and went inside. Meanwhile, the storm raged on.

I awoke sometime around 5 AM and glanced out the front window only to see that it was still snowing as hard as it had been the night before! My first concern was the horses, so we soon suited up and prepared to re-shovel the paths we’d made hours prior. I grabbed a yardstick on my way out the door and we were stunned when we saw that the storm had dumped another 15 inches on us in the last 6 hours … and it was STILL coming down! We got the horses in their stalls and fed. They were toasty dry beneath their blankets, but their tails and manes were heavy with icicles.

It snowed almost until noon, whereupon the wind immediately increased until we could tell viability and wind chill was going to hamper our clean-up progress. We hadn’t seen a town plow go by since the day before and our truck  needed to be dug out and moved in order to reach our Kabota tractor. (In hindsight, even if we’d relocated the truck prior and parked the Kabota at the “ready to go” spot, we still would have had to do considerable clearing just to reach the tractor!) It took an hour to snow-blow enough driveway to move the truck, then it took an hour to dig the truck free and move it. Finally, the Kabota (with it’s bucket loader) was ready to tackle the rest of the driveway. The goal was to clear the driveway, then open the lane to the barn and push back as much snow as possible in the horse paddock. But somewhere along the way my husband got distracted. About mid-afternoon I went out to take some pictures and realized he wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Worried, I abandoned my camera and went looking for him, hoping I wouldn’t find the tractor upside down in a ditch.

Walking anywhere a path hadn’t been cleared was impossible because the snow was some 3+ feet deep in most places. To give you a little idea of how deep that is in relationship to my size, that meant trying to navigate through snow that was at least crotch-deep. Fun as that was initially … for the challenge certainly kindles the child in me … after about 20 yards you’re just exhausted. So the search for my husband was limited to the small labyrinth of dog paths we’d made and the trails we’d cleared to reach the various key points of necessity on the farm. He was nowhere to be found.

Eventually the husband reappeared on the radar. Apparently he’d driven down the road to plow out an elderly neighbor. Now as much as I commend him for his generosity and kindness, I was a little stumped. I mean, it’s not like our neighbor could go anywhere! (All state and secondary roads were still closed!) Meanwhile, we had animals that needed a cleared place so they could be out and move around safely. Instead, my husband spent the rapidly dwindling daylight clearing someone elses’ driveway. Long story short, the horses spent the night in the barn. Snow is still blocking everything …. and this morning I still don’t have a path to the manure pile. Cleaning stalls is starting to get a little tricky! Hopefully, we’ll do a better job of prioritizing the clean-up process today and get our horses back outside where they belong!


White

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Finally some white stuff, but no spectacular skies or great light yet. So  …. meh. I got out and shot a few frames only because it’s been so long that I needed the practice … use it or lose it and all that rot. I’d forgotten how cold my fingers can get in a matter of minutes. Spring and fall are my favorite times to shoot. Freezing cold winter and the heat of summer … not so much! While sitting in the comfort of your home it’s pretty easy to forget what a good photographer must often endure to catch a great photo op!


Wishes

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This year’s Christmas Wish List has been fulfilled!

 

 

 

 

 


Hunkered Down

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Winter 2010.


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Ladybird

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Clearing

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Once the clouds move out it should be a nice day!


Dusting

 

 

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We had a light dusting of snow yesterday that’s sticking around today.


Resignation

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Sometimes life is hard and you just have to hunker down, tip your head into the wind and make the best of things.

My FIL is doing as well as can be expected. He’s propped up a little in bed, his color looks good and the breathing tube is out. Well, he pulled it out. While his demeanor is good, he’s not exactly what I’d call a cooperative patient. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell if he’s misbehaving because he can’t hear a thing without his hearing aids or if it’s because he’s got some pretty significant short-term memory loss. (Beginnings of Alzheimer’s) He’s telling lots of jokes and trying to make all the nurses and visitors laugh, but that’s just Pop’s way of trying to cope with his discomfort of being where he is. And being in pain. Mom tries way too hard to make Pop understand the minute details of what’s happened, which only makes him more confused. So he asks silly questions, trying to make everything into a joke, and that just upsets Mom even more because she’s convinced he’s lost his mind. Good grief! I tried to tell Mom not to worry about Pop’s comprehension of everything and to just roll with whatever goofy comment he makes. It hasn’t even been 48 hours and the poor man is allowed to have a little post-surgical confusion! It’s not like he’s being combative or nasty. Yet. Hopefully, as the days go by he’ll start to get his sea legs under him and things will calm down between them.

I do think the hospital is doing a fantastic job. Pop has pain, but nothing … and I mean NOTHING like I experienced after my spinal fusion. Oddly, Pop has an epidural line in place just like I had, so I wonder why it was so much worse for me? People say bone pain is the worst and I guess I’d have to agree. I remember having convulsions from the pain, it was so bad. Having had more than one abdominal surgery I guess I’d have to say there’s little comparison. I’m not saying it’s not painful … it’s … it’s just different.

On another note, the horse is doing OK. Her eye looks pretty grim, but I’ll be out there again today to do more doctoring. No reply to the Email I sent to our town departments. No surprise there.


Peaceful

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I feel like this is the calm before the storm. Tomorrow morning my father-in-law will undergo a surgical procedure that we hope will stop the advance of his cancer. It’s going to be a grueling, eight-hour operation that his eighty-two year old body is not likely to tolerate very well. Still, there are no other alternatives.

 Cancer was around when I was young, but it was much less prevalent than it is today. Even so, I remember overhearing adults whisper about the horrors of cancer and how some day they’d find a cure for it. And people said this with such conviction! I mean, if we could progress from using horses, to automobiles, to putting a man on the moon, why wouldn’t we be able to solve the mystery of cancer? My parent’s generation watched modern medicine chase and tackle so many challenging health threats of their day that it was just natural to think science and medical research would come up with something to prevent and treat cancer.

But they never did. And at the risk of offending anyone, I submit research has never wanted to produce a “cure.” Think of the financial flood that would suddenly seize and dry up if some poor slob stumbled on a cure! So fools that we are, we pretend to believe there will be an end in sight. In a vicious cycle of co-dependency we hold fundraisers and write checks to support a hopeless cause while the researchers frantically try to keep the collection plates spinning. Meanwhile, a very sweet elderly man will most likely suffer a miserable and unfortunate end to a much cherished life while his family looks on helplessly. Again.

Hang tough, Papa Dino.


It’s Back!

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We’re getting our first real snow of the winter season and it’s hard not to feel sorry for myself. After all, a week ago we were getting T-shirt-warm tropical high winds. Today it’s another high wind warning and polar fleece jackets, hat and mittens. Opposite ends of the spectrum! I certainly feel for the folks who are still displaced and without power from Hurricane Sandy. Seems like they just can’t catch a break. Meanwhile, it’s piling up out there!

Speaking of broken ….. our president stuck. So I’m wondering what happened to all those folks who kept yapping about needing a change and taking this country back? Well, time to shut up and get to work. I don’t think sitting around bitching about who’s in the white house will change anything for the better.

Speaking of better … I was hoping I’d have new glasses by today. I don’t, but maybe tomorrow?


Drifts

 

 

 

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I can almost feel the sting of crisp air, see the sparkle of fresh powder. Makes me miss skiing, skating, sledding, making elaborate snow igloos or forts in high banks and drifts, then forming teams for epic snowball wars. Do kids even do that stuff anymore? I doubt it. They’re too busy, sitting huddled over their electronic devices, thumbs punching furiously at keypads. Sad, that.


Unfinished

 

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It’s hard to believe we’re not that far from waking up to a scene like this. The older I get the more conscious I am of time and how quickly it passes. Our lives get divvied up into little compartments or lists that pay homage to the ticking clock: Things that need to be done, things that are almost done, things that may never get done. As time slips by the last group on this list begins to buzz, like an alarm that gets louder when it’s ignored. Call it your Bucket List or your Wish List, it’s the handful of things you dream about doing when your mind wanders from the things we’re trying to accomplish. The trips we didn’t take, the projects we never finished, the relationships we let go. We all have them, these things we fantasize about, the unfinished business we haven’t done for one reason or another: No time. No resources. No balls.

The wisdom of age has helped me accept that everything I’ve dreamed about doing is not going to come to fruition. I know that rubs against the common belief that we can accomplish everything we set out to do, but sometimes it’s good to be left wanting. After all, desire is what dreams are made of.

 


Brothers

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When it comes to some things brothers can be amazingly similar! Here, two litter mates enjoy a good spring romp in a lingering patch of snow.


Red On Red

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Why stand inside the shelter when you can stand out in the rain? Gotta love these spooky Arabs! It’s been a year since I bought Dharla. I’ve had a couple of ‘What was I thinking?” moments, but mostly it’s been a rewarding experience. She’s a very sweet, loving horse, which I can honestly say is a first for me. Not that Tia wasn’t loving… she was. But until she was well into her senior years she was mostly on the receiving end of that emotion. Dharla wants my company, seeks it even. Well, unless there’s food to be had. She’s downright serious about her noshing and that always takes priority over everything.

I’ve had some very pleasant rides the last couple of days. This warm winter weather has been such a blessing in so many ways. I was very concerned about what would happen if Dharla had to stand around all winter and I’ve actually been able to keep a fairly regular riding schedule. Now if we could just get a dry, mild spring! I know that’s asking for a lot after such a balmy winter, but that’s my greatest wish. Fall is mostly lost to hunters and summer …. well, forget about riding once the heat, humidity and bugs move in. So I’m looking forward to getting out as much as possible as we move into the early spring. It’s a relief not to have to spend extra time bringing Dharla back into riding condition.

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On another note, I’m being a big girl and have set up my preliminary appointment with the retinal specialist to talk about eye surgery. Ug. I’ve put it off for almost a year and it’s time to get it done. I can’t see to shoot anymore and reading, driving and everyday vision has become too impaired to squeak by. I’m not worried about having the surgery done. Not really. Unfortunately, it requires general anesthesia and that’s always a concern, but I’m confident this doc is good and will do the job properly. I’d like to get it done before things start to bloom, which will be here before I know it.  I’ll want to be out there shooting come spring so I’d best get this done now. I have a 5K deductible on my medical policy, plus whatever co-insurance I’ll have to pay on top of that. Fun times. It’s been great to have been blessed with a multitude of FREAK health issues my entire life. I guess this is just one more drop in the freak bucket for me.

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Yesterday’s white stuff was supposed to melt, but it’s still here, along with VERY high winds.


Winter Thaw

 

 

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It’s a bit of a misnomer to call this a January thaw since we’ve hardly had a normal winter thus far. We did get several inches of snow over the weekend, but just enough to create some work and cause a mushy mess this week as the temperatures started to creep well above freezing. Not that I’m complaining, mind you!  After last night’s dense fog (and my headache) burned off, the sun is (finally) shining and it’s just amazing what a little sunshine will do to lift your mood. So here’s to getting outside and soaking up a few of those warm rays!


Merry Christmas!

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Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!


Where’s Winter?

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Sooner or later the landscape is going to look a little something like this. It’s inevitable. You can’t cheat Mother Nature for very long and we’ve been enjoying unseasonably mild temperatures for about three weeks. So you can bet that it’s all going to come to a screeching halt pretty soon and I’m not going to like it. It’s damp and dreary and even though the temps haven’t started to drop yet I know that when they do, it’s going to wreak havoc with my body.

I hate the thought that I’ve reached the age where I dislike winter. I used to go, “Huh?” when people said that, but now I understand. The extra clothes. The damp. The wet. The back-breaking work. The messy roads. I’m tired of it all and it’s hasn’t even started! The only good thing about winter (besides no bugs) is that I can hunker down inside and not feel too guilty about things that aren’t getting done outside. The gardens have been put to sleep and even the horses are getting a bit of a forced furlough. (For now)

Hopefully, we won’t get the amount of snow we got last winter. If we can just get a few more weeks under our belt before the flurries fly then I figure we’re about halfway to spring!


Roller Derby

 

 

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One of my favorite little buddies having himself a good roll in a patch of snow that refuses to melt. Moss is the talented and goofy boy owned and loved by my herding instructor and friend. When he’s not saving us a lot of time and energy by doing his job, he entertains us with his clown-like personality. I love this boy, and sometimes he even lets me know the feeling is mutual!