Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Keeping with Traditions

Keeping with Traditions

For the past 5 years, Tammy V and I have met up and rode between Christmas and New Years. It all started when she invited me to meet with her and Kathy N at Camp Moses on New Years Eve in 2004. We didn't get to explore too many of the hills due to the frost under the leaves that caused the horses to slip. My trusty mount, Mikey had shaky knees when he started feeling the ground slipping beneath him. To this day, we call that trail the Perma Frost Trail.

The following year, Tammy and I met up at Wildwood Lake near Agnew. We saw some potential for some additional trails but have yet to explore that option. The weather started getting cold towards the end of the ride, but it was well worth it.

In 2006, Tammy and I met up again for the annual ride. This time we checked out Hormel Park in Fremont. Not a whole lot of trails, maybe 2 hours worth, did some bushwhacking, lots of giggling and laughing.

2007 was WAY too cold and I believe my trailer was drifted in. No ride time last year.

This year we took advantage of the nice day we had on Monday, December 29th. Sheila, Tammy and myself met up for a fun ride at Two Rivers near Valley.

I took Cora, my trusted mount who I know would be perfect after sitting for 2 months.

Tammy took Windy and brought Butter for Sheila.

Tammy and Sheila letting the horses get some green stuff.

too icy to lope down the trail........................ so I looked at all the tracks that were there.

what in the world made that track???? bear????? Wait, are there really Bear in Nebraska at the END OF DECEMBER??? Shouldn't they be hibernating now???!!!!

After Sheila left, Tammy and I decided to head back out. She ponied Butter and we got another hour in! Earlier in the day, Butter acted like she wanted to roll in the nice sand. By this time, she was more interested in picking dead grass than in rolling.

Took a lot of photos with the pretty winter scenery behind us.
After I got home, unloaded, fed the critters I happened to look out our front door and saw this. The moon and the two planets have lined back up for another show.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Spectacular Evening

about once in your lifetime, the moon and planets do align to give an awesome view. December 1, 2008 was one of those times. We were forecasted to have partly cloudy skies and I was hoping that they'd clear out in time for the show.

I bundled up in my carhart bibbies, the trusty parka, warm gloves and a headband to keep my ears from freezing off. I also dug out the tripod to keep my camera steady for the low light photography.

To get things warmed up, I dinked around with photographing the sun setting. Couldn't quite capture the pretty colors though like I did last summer. Maybe it was because I was starting to loose feeling in the tips of my fingers and was worried that the dogs would run into me, knocking the tripod over.

I was starting to grow a bit impatient with how slow the sun was setting. Normally, I don't want it to set so fast but tonight, I was wanting it dark!

oooo, here it comes! The moon is starting to show and you can barely see one of the brighter planets below it. Dang clouds keep scurrying across the sky and blocking the view.

ahhh, finally the clouds have all gone south and the sky is clear. Now for that pesky sun to set a bit more. Need to run inside to warm up and get feeling back in my fingers.

wasting time still!

When I stepped inside to warm up yet again, I saw this through the oak tree in our front yard. I thought it was pretty cool looking so tried to capture it. There was something neat about the black against the blue and the crispness.

Finally, the show is on. Love the cobalt blue and the lighter blue beneath it. Neat how you can see the earthlight shining on the dark side of the moon.

Just love the colors on this one, but it's starting to get a bit too dark to photograph. Ran inside after this shot to get feeling back in my fingers and nose. Thank goodness it wasn't windy! I'd be an icicle for sure.

Last shot, the sky is getting too dark to photograph. I was pretty happy that I was able to capture this moment.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter 'Wonder'land

Winter 'Wonder'land

These past two weeks have been a bit horrid with bone chilling winds and subzero temperatures, and this morning was no exception!

I kinda 'wondered' how the horses fared overnight. They were pretty well set with hay and warm water but with the subzero temps, that had to have an effect on their nose and face whiskers.

AJ kept saying "Take my photo!! and Where is my BREAKFAST! I smell it, but where is it dang it!"

Cora was a bit more lady-like and not near as pushy, although she let it be know that she was hungry and she wanted her food now not later.

The temps usually drop when I go over the Little Bell Creek and sure enough, it was a bit colder there than up top. Ever 'wonder' how cold your thermometer goes in a truck? So far it's gone down to -11, my Excursion read -19 a few years ago and that was COLD!

Ever 'wonder' what happens when you don't put up your snow fence before winter hits?

This is what happened last year when we didn't get the snow fence up!!! Was so not going to happen this year!

Do you ever 'wonder' how much snow a snow fence catches? Well, evidently, they catch a lot as you can see in the below photo. This was taken tonight, and already, the snow is pretty deep. The native grass is helpful in catching the rest of the snow.

I 'wonder' if it will be nice enough to take Cora or AJ through those drifts on Christmas day! I'll be ready to get some ride time in!

See Ya! And Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This youngster started visiting our place regularly (that we could identify due to the notches in his ears) in the summer of 2006. He is most likely around 2 1/2 years old in that photo and has a lot of growing to do.

We were (I was) excited to see him coming back and surviving the hunting season in 2007. Unfortunately, he broke his rack in a fight. We didn't see much of him late last winter/spring and once our trail cams were out mid summer we started getting photos of him. His rack isn't all that impressive-wide but it has a lot of mass at the base. There is also come character going on with it.
After seeing some early fall photos of ole Notchie, he disappeared once archery season started up. I was quite worried that he had gotten shot and that we'd never see him around. There was a lot of pressure at the camp across the way and our neighbors had a few hunters on their land too.
After not seeing Notch for 2 months, we pulled the chip on one of the scrapes and low and behold, here he is again. Identified again by the notch in his ear.
Mike is gunning for him this year and believe me, it will be bittersweet to have him gone. Notch has got 2 more weeks until life will return to somewhat normal. I believe there is a late season rifle, but that is for antlerless deer in January.
A vehicle, poacher or nature could also possibly take him over the winter. He's looking a little lean and I'm not sure what is up with his left front leg. Hoping it's just how he is standing and not an injury that happened during the rut.
I really need to get out in the spring with Mike and go shed hunting. He's got an awesome rack that I'd love to have.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

how much more can I take?

Last Saturday was most likely the last good day of the year, relatively speaking, and I was stuck inside.

Sunday came around and with it were dropping temps as in 10 degrees by 12 noon. I blanketed the horses, fed them breakfast and basically hibernated in the house all day. At 4:00, I went back out to feed. Noticed that the autowaterer was starting to freeze over. I hoped that it would not freeze all the way, since after all, it was heated right??

Well, as luck would have it, I saw the horses go to the tank to get water. AJ was first and stood a very long time. Cora came in and sat there a bit and then started pawing. Hmmm, she only does that when she's impatient during feeding times. Never have seen her paw while getting a drink.

Bundled up and headed out to see what was going on, temps were now -4 at 7:30 pm. This was not good! The waterer had froze over. I got my hammer out and chopped ice. AJ came over and got a drink but didn't like the ice chunks or the super cold water. Cora didn't want any of that. SO, I get her bucket and fill it from the hydrant. She drank a bit then.

I gave them some timothy hay and headed back to the house. My Dad came out to see what I was doing and distracted me.

Crapola, when I got back in, I couldn't remember if I shut up the hay stall and secured it. Great, just what I really wanted to do was bundle back up and check things out.

Glad I did though as the water tank was again froze over and the water in the bucket was turning to slush.

Rumaged through the tack room and got AJ's heated water bucket out and got that hooked up. At least the horses would have some water overnight.

Cora didn't look right so I spent some more time out there watching her. She had gut sounds, but her eyes and lips were droopy. Got more hay out and she perked right up. Maybe it was getting to be her bedtime.

The next morning, it was -5..brrrrrrrr and a strong northwest wind to boot. The horses finished off the water in the heated bucket and had licked the ice that was now formed in their water tank.

I propped the other side up and hoped it would stay up during the day and re-filled the heated bucket. Both horses had gotten a nice warm mash for breakfast so I wasn't too terribly worried about the lack of water.

When I got time, I called our well guy to see about heating elements, if they fix them etc. He talked to me about how to test, but to be careful because it is hot under there. He said he has burned finger tips of his own. Silly me, thought he was talking about burning his fingertips on maybe a metal pipe or something not related to a hot heating element.

Finally got home to do chores and checked the waterer out. Hmmmmm, good and bad news. The good news was that the water had thawed a bit and the horses had been drinking. Bad news was that the heating element is out as I could touch it with my fingers and it was cold. Real bad news was that I tested the 'good' sides element and sizzled my fingers! Ouch!!! Stuck them in the cold side and let them sit a bit. I tied the good side's lid up so the horses could get fresh warm water instead of using the bucket again.

Tuesday morning brought SNOW! But, the waterer was open this morning and the horses were happy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The weather forecasters were predicting a 'measurable' snowstorm to come in Monday night into Tuesday morning.

By midafternoon on Monday, the National Weather Service canceled their "Winter Storm Watch". Still not sure why they had put us in a Winter Storm Watch, it wasn't supposed to be that bad except for the strong winds.

I breathed a sigh of relief as the weather affects my job. We were still to get some precipitation, but nothing 'serious'.

On my way home, it started to sprinkle and the temps started dropping. By the time I got home, it was a pretty steady 'sprinkle' but I needed to get some things done so had to suck it up and deal with the cold rain that is feeling like it was starting to turn to sleet...hmmmm that wasn't forecasted was it??

Beans and Newt were more than ready to get in the tack room for the night, they don't enjoy being out in the wet and wind. I decided it would be best if Cora & AJ were blanketed for this storm too. AJ looks so pretty in his new red blankie. I think Cora is going to need a new one next year. Hers is going on 5 years and starting to show some wear.

Got done with the kids and jetted to the mailbox on the 4-wheeler. I can tell you that sleet hitting your face stings!!

After I got inside it was time to start the woodburner up. Need to start using that nice pile of wood we've got in the garage!

At 5:00, I looked out and saw sleet bouncing off the deck rails. Things were going downhill fast so I buzzed Mike to give him the heads up that roads may start to get slick. He was already on his way home and would watch it.

The sleet continued as I watched the evening news. No mention that we'd be getting ice "Up North", just that measurable snow may hit north by Norfolk, Dennison or Carroll Iowa. Why they keep bringing up Northern Iowa cities is beyond me.

After supper, Mike & I were sitting on the floor tying fishing line to hand snowflakes for my work Holiday Lunch. As I was sitting on the floor, I thought I caught a glimpse of a large snowflake falling. I got up and looked out the front window-we've got super bright yard lights- and I couldn't see any snow, just rain/sleet still bouncing off the deck rails.

Sat back down and 5 minutes later Mike said, look it's snowing huge flakes. Sure enough, we were getting snow and it was only 6:45.
By 7:30, we had a good 1/2 inch of snow on the deck rails and the grass was starting to turn white.

This went on through the evening and into the night. Unfortunately, the wind started whipping things around and the bitter cold was starting to settle in. I was very happy that I blanketed my ponies with the wind whipping the snow back into their shed. Beans and Newt were happily tucked in their beds in the tack room.

Mojo wasn't sure about all that white stuff on the ground though! He braved the elements if Stone went out with him. Headed to bed, not knowing what we'd find in the morning.

Good ole Mojo had to get up at the first bell, boy was he in for a surprise when I opened the door. He saw all that white stuff on the deck and put the brakes on. I pushed him on out and he did his business and was right back at the door wanting in.

The deck rails had about 2 1/2 to 3 inches of the fluffy white stuff--WAY more than was forecasted-although the BFLWM did say more snow to the west and north of Omaha, guess that means us.

After Stone went out, Mojo changed his tune on the snow. He found that it was fun to root his face in it and come up all snow covered. He did not care for the coldness on his feet though and would do a little dance to keep his cold feet off the ground.

The drive to work was not fun at all, snowpack to Hwy 30, tested the 4-wheel drive out, and partial snow from Hwy 30 to Hwy 36. The rest was dry.

After work, I got to see how our snowfence did. I can see one place were we may have some drifting across, nothing like it was last year!

Mojo tore around the yard, racing with Stone and rolling around. Kinda cute to see him enjoy his first snowfall, wish it would have been nicer than the 15 degrees that we had by the time I got home.

Monkey See, Monkey Do. Now let's see if he'll lick the fence...evil laugh from Stone!

You may be fast, but I'm bigger!!!!

This is the life!