Overslept Sunday morning in spite of the cats dancing impatiently across my head. Woke up to T's phone call - 10+" of snow predicted for Minneapolis, and he might not get in as scheduled after all. The cats just were pleased I was finally up, since their usual 5:30 breakfast was over an hour late.
Contrary to my prediction of cold by morning, it actually warmed up overnight. Slightly. It was a brisk 31', with a stiff northwest wind when I turned the horses out, but by full daylight it dropped back to hover in the mid-20's with lots of wind. The sun hid until after noon; morning was overcast, the sky a flat dirty grey. I crossed my fingers for precipitation - rain, snow, I don't really care. Rather than stand in the barn out of the wind, the horses were all tucked in the lee of the barn. Still out of the wind, and since it's dry, probably just as warm. I'm curious to see if any of them will actually use the barn when it finally does decide to rain. When they cleared the gate and took off down to the far end of the pasture for a brief surveying circle, dust puffed up with every thudding hoof-fall. The perfect Christmas gift? A wet winter.
I suppose I should have listened to the weather, but I finally got my mp3 player to play nice with my laptop. Maybe later. Weather happens regardless, right?
Only the thinnest scrim of ice in the water tank, and no packrats to fish out. Not sure if that's because I filled the tank to brimming the night before and none fell in, or if my makeshift rat ramp worked. I've been using half a steel post to break the ice/fish out rats, and it occurred to me that I could lean it kitty-corner in the tank to give them something to climb up if they fall in. I hooked it to the fence with a piece of wire so the horses can't knock it over. Rats, it's up to you. Field test away.
Coffee on and the first load of laundry in the washer, I tackled unpacking and sorting one of the "sort" boxes. The first boxes all arrived with contents notes, but toward the end there were those random odds and ends that when lumped together, kind of defied description. I'm down to the last three of them though, so the end (of those, at least) is in sight.
Mixed up a batch of cookies - I decided on good old classic chocolate chip - pausing now and then to watch Amyra's attempts to persuade the boys to play with her. She'd swing her neck, bounce a little, trot around and bump her shoulder off a one of them, immediately poised to race off. None of them wanted to cooperate, but finally they got into the mood and raced up and down, tails flagged, swapping ends, sliding to a stop, snorting and caroming off of one another like four-legged bumper cars. Even Sunny got into the spirit of it, kicking his heels in the air and generally acting like a two-year-old. Yep, seeing them out the window isn't going to get old anytime soon! :)
The blustery days one of them is perpetually on watch. And even on calm days they're still pretty alert for anything that might be sneaking up on them. They're still learning what all the normal noises here are. Grazing or napping they tend to line up three abreast, with the fourth horse turned to face into the wind, butt toward the other three.
Periodically a random gust will slap something against a metal shed side, or a cow will barge through a thick patch of dead brush and one of them will startle. The other three heads will pop up and they'll stare toward wherever the noise originated. T's brother stopped out yesterday morning to sight in a rifle. He stopped up at the house first for a cup of coffee - he wanted to make sure I knew he was here. T'd told him the horses shouldn't mind him shooting - three of them grew up next to a pheasant hunting lodge where fall always meant the sound of shotguns, and the fourth one's been hunted off. Still, it was nice of A to check again that he wasn't going to scare them silly.
I couldn't hear it in the house when the rifle cracked the first time - foot and a half-thick stone walls make excellent buffers - but I could tell he'd fired. Heads popped up, and the ones that weren't already facing A's direction spun around. They moved a bit closer to the fence on that side, and nobody went back to eating until he'd finished, but none of them ran.
|Nu-nu does her best dead cat imitation|