Dec 31, 2009


I usually write my blog and then look for pictures to go with it. But in this case, I am having a hard time recapping 2009 - so many good times! So I looked to the pictures first for inspiration and I'm smiling. Despite the fact that it is 7 degrees right now and there is over a foot of snow on the ground, it was a good horse year!

I started the year with setting my Trail Time goal: Three hundred hours in the saddle. The year started out strong! We had a lot of nice days in late winter plus I started to condition for a Competitive Trail Ride (another goal), so I was way ahead of plan. But the arrival of winter in late fall quickly changed things. Yes, I made it - 313.5 hours, but didn't exceed the time by as much as I had hoped. I rode over 650 miles and put almost 5,000 miles on the truck for horse related activity. With the price of diesel, I don't want to do that math!

On my bucket list was riding Windy in a Competitive Trail Ride. In May, we traveled to Smithville, Missouri and despite getting 5" of rain in 2 hours the previous afternoon, we did it. Not only did we complete the ride, Windy came home with the coveted 6th place! We had so much fun, we did it again in September! I said it was just to "get it out of my system". But I hate to admit, I've kind of got the bug for the sport, so who knows what 2010 may bring in that regard.

Throughout the years, horses have been a family hobby. I have to admit that it was more my thing than the rest of the family, but they continue to humor me though not as frequently anymore. My boys have turned out to be good riders and although it is not their passion, I joke that I have prepared them well to be a good horse husband to some horse crazy girl they may hook up with later in life!

My circle of horse friends is incredible. I have said many times and will say it again, if I can't find someone to ride with, I must not be asking. From our Wednesday Platte River Rides to our Horsetales trip to Big Canyon, day rides to weekend camp trips, I truly do not think I would enjoy this horse life as much as I do without friends like this to share it with.

And I won't brag anymore on my horse.
You all know how I feel about her!

Thank you all for an incredible horse year.
I can't wait to do it all again in 2010.
Happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2009

The Calvary Wears Green

John was unsuccessful in bringing his tractor up from the shop. There is still too much ice on the county road. He made it half way up our hill and started spinning out. He had to go back. He attempted to come through our pasture and then through the alfalfa field, but the terraces are too deep with snow. It was time to call in the calvary; our neighbor on his big green tractor.

Ron was very surprised to find us buried under so much snow. Living just down the hill from us (his farm is behind the treeline in all my sunrise pictures), his buildings and trees allowed the snow to pass through without much drifting.

Now this is moving snow!
(Pay no mind to the flying monkey at the end of the clip.)

It didn't take him long to open it all up for us. The biggest challenge was where to put all the snow. God help us if another storm comes in because there is no room left - we are piled high! And I can't imagine what the drifting will be like the next time so we are praying there won't be a next time until these piles are gone!

No sooner was the driveway cleared than we hopped in the Durango and went to town. We needed milk and were getting low on dog food, but nothing we couldn't have survived without. We were more curious what the rest of the county looked like. And it was strange, but we didn't see near the chaos we expected. It was like we had our own little hell going on upon our hill, but the rest of the world was scooped out. The highway was clear. The snow piles left in our driveway by the big arse John Deere are bigger than what we saw along some of the roads. I'm not saying it wasn't bad, its just the winds must have been just right to cause incredible drifting on our farm; the perfect storm.

Pulling into our yard, I was thinking about how just two days earlier we plowed through this same driveway on our horses; snow up to their chest. And now here we are, business as usual, and back to our regular scheduled programming.....

Here Comes the Sun

I woke up to this peeking over the horizon! It's only 20 degrees, but seeing the sun sure helps ones my disposition. And the place looks so different with the sun reflecting off the snow.

There is just one slight problem.

See this drift?

It's behind my garage.

And see the one out yonder? More drifting in our driveway.

And the one to the left of the bridge?
That's our county road. We are still waiting for the calvary.
So, it's a good thing there is no place I have to be today.

Dec 27, 2009

The Worst is Over Now

I haven't seen John since I've been up. His winter gear is gone, so I assume he has walked down to the shop to get the tractor. I saw the county grader on the highway, so looks like we might get out today. The wind is still blowing, but there are not the extreme gusts that we experienced the last couple days. It's just cold.

I noticed from the kitchen window that the horses ventured out to the pasture this morning. I quickly put on my own winter gear - well, as quickly as one can put on layers of winter wear - and grabbed my camera and headed out. There were drifts I had to trudge through right out the gate, but once in the pasture, most of the snow has landed in the terraces and there are actually places you can see grass stubble.

Butter couldn't muster up any activity from the herd, so she ran with the dog a bit, while the others just meandered around the pasture as if not sure what to do with themselves. I had blanketed Windy and Butter, as they tend to get run out of the barn more often. I pulled their blankets this morning, as I think the worst is over now. All of the horses had a good roll or two.

Before I made it back to the house, they had returned to the corral and bellied up to the round bale. It's going to be awhile before this stuff goes away. Oh, to look forward to the mud that brings!

Dec 26, 2009

Dashing Thru The Snow

Although there was little snowfall overnight, the winds continued to blow and the drifts in our yard continued to grow. It seems the landscape changes every hour. We've done nothing to remedy our "snowed in" situation, except plug in the tractor. We don't have anywhere we need to be so we'll wait and hopefully the winds will die down tomorrow.

I was anxious to see what was beyond our driveway, so rather than walk it, we fetched a couple of horses to take us out. I saddled Windy while John hopped on Baby bareback. We let the draft horse make the first pass at this huge drift. At its deepest, it was at her chest and probably went on for 15 or 20 feet.

We were surprised to find a bigger drift when we rounded the curve of our driveway as the snow usually blows over that section. Although Windy took some rather big lunges through the first drift, she saved her energy on the next one. It felt like we were floating through it, trudging all the way to our county road. We found it completely closed to the west so we went east where the drifts were more intermittent. Under the snow, the ice clung to the gravel. Windy kept her footing, thank goodness, unlike our St. Bernard who was quite entertaining with his lack of coordination.

We went about a quarter mile down the road until the road turned to solid ice near the highway. Most of the major highways in this part of the county are closed today. The highway by us isn't, but the Department of Roads reports that it is ice and snow covered. We saw very little traffic on the highway; a tractor and a small sedan were all that braved it.

The driveway to our barn (to the right of this picture) has stayed open for the most part. It's just high enough that the snow blows on over. John went around that way and I had him take a picture of Windy and I coming through the drifts on the other side of the round pen.

I think the horses enjoyed the short ride as much as we did. Those that didn't were waiting by the gate probably hoping for an opportunity to stretch their legs a bit, too. Maybe tomorrow.

Dec 25, 2009

The Blizzard of 2009

I don't know that I've ever done three posts in one day before, but then I don't remember a blizzard like this since we moved out here in 1992. There was the 1997 October Snowstorm, but it didn't hit us as hard as it did those in the city. I recall a lot of snow as a child, but it seems our winters have gotten milder as the years have passed, or I just remember those big ones of my childhood and in reality, there weren't that many. Who knows. But right now, I am 100% certain that this is A Big One to Remember.

The temperature has been hovering around 20 degrees which is a heatwave compared to the frigid storm a few weeks ago. But the winds have not quit and it cuts quickly through any exposed skin. After we took care of the livestock late this afternoon, the four of us toured our farm - the boys finding the big drifts and diving in.

From my kitchen window, I'd been watching this drift form all afternoon. McCain is about 5'10", so it is close to that high.

The wind is blowing from the northwest. The barn faces east, so it hasn't drifted quite as much.

Drifts circling the 'ornamental' outhouse.

McCain on the other side of the basement walk-out. You can't tell there is a walk-out and I doubt we'll be walking out of the basement anytime soon.

John, Case & Bo heading to the shed.

I was trying to stand in this huge snowdrift and Bo thought it was time to play.

Once again, we won't be going down this driveway anytime soon.

A Heckuva Storm!

We are having a very white Christmas here in Nebraska. Blizzardly white-out white. I took the camera with me when I went to the barn this morning. And it has changed dramatically since, as it continues to come down with winds whipping with up to 40 mph gusts.

I won't be pulling this thing anywhere soon!

There is another drift on the other side of this shed which we have been watching from the kitchen window. I am pretty sure it's over our heads now. I'll have more pictures of it later.

Glad we are not scheduled to go anywhere as it would be a challenge to get out of our driveway!

The ice on the crabapple trees have caused them to drop their frozen fruits!

Can a face get any sadder?