Posts Tagged With: Cold

De[Fence]

Snow flakes twist and whirl in pulsating spirals through crevices in the barn walls. Their turbulent dance explores each available space throughout the indoor arena. The graceful flight culminates in one last frenzied spin before touching the floor.

Ponies huddle together for warmth within shelters. They occasionally reach their delicate lips over to itch a neighbor, sharing the misery that is winter.

An ear perks up, followed by another. A slam; a clack; a whoosh. Dusty peeks his head around the shelter’s wall. Brave emerges entirely.

The ponies sniff around their enclosures. They explore the world with their mouths, and frequently stir up action by delivering a mid-air kick to a friend. Mind-numbing boredom coupled with curiosity pushes them to consider the world outside the pasture. Phoenix reaches her head over the fence, looks both ways, then nibbles frozen grass. Dusty canoodles with Lexie, who lives in the next pasture. Braveheart reaches forward and delicately rubs the electric tape between his teeth.

Each of these activities takes a toll on the hotwire. If it doesn’t bend and stretch back into place, it snaps, rips, or snags. The ponies stay within the boundaries of Firefly Farm, but they sometimes discover areas of weakness within the inner fence and “go for it,” traipsing the meadow or another pasture.

Fence is time consuming and costly to repair. The mare and gelding pastures previously used solar fencers, but they aren’t effective in winter. The tape is a sightline only, and it isn’t effective anymore.  After fixing and re-wiring and tying and fixing again, I’ve come to one conclusion: it’s fencer time.

I spent the entire morning and the better part of the afternoon installing a new fencer for the back pastures. The snow screamed past my ears, destined for parts unknown. Burning chill permeated my bones, and I rubbed my hands, grateful for heavy-duty gloves. The whistle of wind through trees and a little black-and-white Border Collie kept me company.

Along with the ponies. Their warm snuffles tickled my neck, and more than once the wind carried a whinny: a plea for more treats. Snowflakes rested upon their backs; their tails dragged ice crystals. I inspected the job once before retiring to warmer quarters.

Brave touched the fence with his teeth, and instantly recoiled, licking his lips. Dusty watched, then backed away. Phoenix ducked into the shelter.

The fence is complete.  My work is done. Oh–never mind. It’s time for night chores.

January 28, 2013 053

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Ol’ Man [Winter], He Just Keeps [Snowin’] Along

The afternoon chill has each pony standing still, head down, tail to the wind. Breath huffs out in gray clouds from each nostril. The mist quickly dissipates in the harsh winter air. Snow falls from the top of a blanket as a hoof stomps.

This scene is wholly different from the image that occurred two days ago. On Wednesday, most of the ponies played naked. There was no need for blankets or turnouts.

Instead, today was the worst of both worlds. Snow blew sideways during the entire day while the ground stayed soft. The horses rarely moved unless it was to come inside and eat. Everyone enjoyed warm bran mashes both morning and night to chase away the chill.

Lexi has steadily shown improvement and is eating again. Her pasture mate, Senorita, is leaving Firefly tomorrow to start life at Dreamfields. The two girls have become great friends. Once Senorita leaves, Honey will be considered an outdoor boarder. She’ll be Lexi’s new companion at night to keep her company. Braz and Misty will be joining them during snowy, windy, or stormy days.  (The RAMM pasture doesn’t have any shelter, and Braz and Misty are both in stalls at night.)

Melody and Savannah have been stuck inside since this morning. Though they both enjoy time outside, the weather has been uncooperative. They’ll go with the other girls in the mare pasture tomorrow if it continues to snow. I’m unable to keep the run-in stall doors open when the snow blows in–otherwise, the stall shavings become wet and freeze.

Hopefully winter will subside sooner than usual and spring will suddenly, miraculously appear. If not, the ponies of Firefly Farm are prepared to brave the elements.

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