The combination of warm sun and flowing water means that there are a lot of things to be seen on the river. Flowers, for example . . .
They are mostly the common (and not too spectacular) fiddleneck.
Still, they are pretty close up.
This pair of mallards has been hanging around, probably looking for a good nesting site. They were completely unbothered by the dogs, paddling a few feet out into the river, then paddling right back.
This morning brought out something I hadn’t seen in a while. I looked out and noticed all of the downstream horses rushing over to goggle at something in the river. So I went out to see what it was. I could see something moving out by the big island, and it was coming my way. (Notice the partly submerged palm tree. It’s one of those I thought would never recover after the big fire four years ago. Now we’ll see how it likes having its feet wet.)
Sure enough, it was a gentleman in a kayak — the first in five years. He paddled over, and we chatted for a while. I pointed out that the current was not as strong over here on the north bank, and he paddled off upriver. It looked like fun . . . but not easy.
Last night I went out to look at the moon on the water, and I heard frogs — or at least a frog. Another thing that hasn’t been around for years. Perhaps we’ll here something like the deafening chorus of other years before the summer’s out.
Actually, it’s not the tunnel — though vehicles occasionally land in it — but the curve over the top of it that causes so many wrecks. Late yesterday, near the height of the storm, it got another one.
We got a call that a car was upside down in the ditch beside the tunnel, and a horse had broken through its gate and was running loose. It was boarder Lisa, and she had efficiently called 911, put the drenched but OK driver out of the wet, caught the horse, and put it in an empty pen. (It was my Kitty, so if you’re a boarder reading this, it wasn’t yours. And Kitty is also OK.)
I called Scott, since Billy was out making a round and he doesn’t have a cell phone. Scott told Billy, and he drove over to see what was going on. By that time it was dark, and the towing company decided to put off trying to get the upside-down car out until morning. It would have been very difficult on that dangerous curve, in the dark and blowing rain. It was quite a nasty storm.
This morning, they got at it right away. They righted it first, then hauled it up the bank.
Soon it was on the road, ready to load onto the truck. It looked remarkably good for a car that had spent the night upside down in a ditch. I imagine it was totaled, though.
As I walked back to the house, I spotted David on the roof of a tackroom, repairing roofing material that had been rolled up by the wind.
Many people don’t realize just how many skills that have nothing to do with horses you need to run a stable!
I love watching egrets. There are few things as beautiful as their snow-white wings, especially when backlit by a setting sun. So I was really happy when I spotted one sitting on the riverbank during an evening walk. I started sneaking up on him, snapping all the way.
But . . . the dogs were with me. They, too, decided to sneak up on him, with predictable results.
Oh, well. Maybe next time.
Back to the weather . . . yesterday was remarkable for its rainbows. Huge, double, and long-lasting, they must have had everybody in the county with a cell phone out snapping pictures. Here are mine . . .
This one is a morning rainbow, in the west. It was glorious. If you look closely, you can see it was doubled.
The dark clouds rolled in during the afternoon. There’s a little bird in this shot, looking rather worried. He didn’t need to be; we got only a brief shower.
Then the afternoon rainbow. It was a clearly defined double.
All in all, it was a great day for rainbows. Today is a great day, period. There are riders going in every direction, enjoying the sun. Tomorrow the clouds are supposed to increase, with more rain in the forecast. We’re ready for it. I hope.
Bemired means smeared or covered in mud. It has applied to nearly every horse here in the past couple of weeks, though things are drying out. Hard-working riders have removed a lot of it from their critters, too. The critters go back to their stalls and lie happily in the sun — and the remaining mud.
Little Bella isn’t actually too bad, though her tail could definitely use some work. She was really happy to get out and play in the round pen when it was dry enough, though.
I almost didn’t use this one, because it makes her head look too big. It captures her smart-aleck attitude very well, though. You can almost see her sticking out her tongue at me.
We went for a walk around the place after she played, though. We all enjoyed looking at the changes the rain has made. Now that the sun is out, you can almost see the grass growing. Kern County is out of the most extreme drought category now, and Lake Isabella is filling fast. The Corps of Engineers isn’t going to let it fill up, though, because of worries about leaks in the earthen dam. That’ll mean quite a lot of water flowing past us. We’re looking forward to it — but we sure hope everyone is careful. We’re not used to fast water any more!
There haven’t been many pictures of horses in this blog lately — just weather pictures. Weather is the big story throughout California. The storms just keep coming. The horses (and people) are mostly standing around looking glum. We all know that we need every drop, and that we’ll be grateful in the spring, but that’s hard to remember when you are wading through the mud.
There is plenty to appreciate, though. The mountains have more snow than they’ve had in years. The air is clear enough to actually see them.
When I hiked down to the river a couple of days ago, the backwater that was filled with water hyacinth, and then dried out, was full of water again. Well, and dead water hyacinth. Anyway, there were five little birds — I think they were grebes — paddling happily around. They hurried away when they spotted me. It looked like they were swimming on a sheet of silver.
We’re supposed to have about a week without rain, and things are beginning to dry out a bit. The tractors are still working pretty much full time, but there is visible progress. Pretty soon I might be able to take a walk without hopping over puddles. There are still plenty for the dogs, who enjoy wallowing in them until they are mud-covered. Then they come in the house and share. I haven’t vacuumed in several days, because, hey, what’s the point?
I’ll start cleaning up tomorrow. There’ll be a few days to get rid of the leftover mud, then it’s supposed to start raining again. I’ll just keep thinking of the drought, and repeating, “I won’t complain. I won’t complain. I won’t complain.”
But I’m afraid I will.
And more, and more, and more. We need every drop, but it needs to be coped with. The tractors have been running all day, draining pens and grading roads. About the time the crew gets caught up — it rains again.
One result of all the rain is the appearance of the Headless Dog Monster. This rare species loves to bask in front of a fire — even if it’s not real. Its name happens to be Peaches.
The little stove was a Christmas present from David. The dogs are enjoying it as much as we are. It’s certainly got realistic flames.
I can hear the tractor running now. We’ve got about four days, according to the forecasts, before it rains again. Sigh. Well, it’ll all be worth it when spring comes!