When I went out to feed this morning everything had the faintest coating of ice. We had just enough rain/fog to create a glaze overnight, I guess. At least the wind that was picking up was out of the south instead of more of that chilly northeast stuff.
I waited until things were damp instead of crunchy, and took the horses up. They walked up politely enough, but the minute all of them were loose, took off for the backside of the field as if I'd lit their tails on fire. A big sweeping circle and they were back, Sunny doing some odd jumps along the way - turned out he'd gotten a short round of barbwire hooked on his tail. I walked the pasture before we put them out, but long grass... leave it to him to find something to catch himself in. No damage done, though. I saw it spin off, and walked out to collect it, the four of them clustering around me snorting and showing every sign of tearing off again.
I left them munching enthusiastically and headed back down the hill to tackle the barn loft. In addition to a bunch of old windows that I'll need help getting down if I don't want to shatter glass everywhere, there are three dozen or so mouse-nibbled cane bales and some alfalfa stored who knows when up there. It's no good trying to get anything done with the horses in there, they just want to eat whatever I throw out. Unfortunately, I only managed to get about 10 or so of the cane bales and a some of the loose stuff pitched out the loft door before the wind picked up enough to start whirling the dust everywhere.
What I did manage made a substantial enough pile, though - I was impressed that the cane bales mostly stayed in bale form despite the drop and some of them only having one remaining string. Given my track record with small squares, I expected them to explode on impact. It took about 6 trips with the Bobcat, but I managed to get it all dumped in a bare spot beyond the fenced in area to the north of the driveway. I collected a large audience of cows in the process. Apparently, tractors - or anything that sounds like a tractor - mean food, and since the cane bales actually still smelled sort of like food, they figured I was feeding them. They just couldn't figure out why the panels were in the way...
I'll have to wait for a day with no wind, or only a minimal one out of the south to do more. On the plus side, I saw no signs of either snakes or live mice, so apparently time and the cats are taking care of one or both.
Since the sun finally decided to come out and warm things up slightly, and the time change means more daylight, I left the horses up a while longer today. They were waiting for me near the gate, and it didn't take long to get them hooked up and heading down. The wind was blowing pretty strongly, but just before we hit the one spot where the shoulder drops away, I thought I heard something behind us. Just to be safe, I pushed Thunder and Rufus over and swung Sunny and Amyra around so that we were all on the verge with the exception of Rufus's hind end and facing back up the hill so they could see what was coming up behind them. Good thing, too, as it turned out it wasn't a car. It was a truck pulling a 20' bale hauler. Empty, and very loud.
And once again, can I say how thankful I am that I have four farm-raised horses? The sum total of movement was Rufus stepping sideways so that his hind end was in the ditch with the rest of us. The truck slowed down some, the driver doing some gawking at the crazy lady with four critters attached, all staring back at him, and rattled on past. I clicked and treated them for being so sensible, and, after a suitable period to let the truck get on down the road so I could hear if there was anything else about to come down the hill behind us, we got back on the road and clip-clopped our way on across the bridge and down the driveway with no further interruptions. Whew!