See the above.
See the above.
Fat little Bella, the Welsh pony, has been on a diet for the last few weeks. She had gotten altogether too round, and had begun to show signs of founder. Founder, if you don’t know, is a problem often caused by too much weight. It shows up as extremely sore feet. The tissues that connect the hoof wall to the underlying structures get inflamed and painful. It is especially a problem in ponies, because it is so easy to overfeed them. Our vet says there are only two kinds of ponies; those who have been foundered, and those that are going to be. That is often true.
Bella was not a bad case, but she has been on a strict diet ever since she started acting sore. No more rich alfalfa for her, but grass hay only, and not too much of that. She has not been a happy camper, and has taken to whinnying pathetically to whoever passes by, in the hope that they will feed her. She has lost weight, and her tender feet are just fine now. In fact, she and Sarah went for their first ride in a long time a few days ago.
She seemed happy to be out, but still gives me the puppy dog eye look — which she’s very good at, for a horse — when I come to feed her.
I know just how she feels.
We’ve been having a problem with our phone — the landline — for a couple of days. It just quit; no dial tone, totally dead. I have a cell, luckily, but the landline is what our customers use to contact us. We need it. So I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to deal with AT&T. I got through to an actual human being today — AT LAST! — and a service person is supposed to call me and set up an appointment. I’m not getting more than a foot from my cell, but no call so far. I’ll give them until tomorrow before I try again. It’s been a frustrating experience. I’m sure everyone out there knows the feeling.!
I got drafted onto the hay crew this morning. It takes a fair-sized crew to cover a stack, and if they’re short a person or two, I get to fill in. Only on the grunt work, though; not on the more technical parts.
Here is the crew waiting to get all of the strings tied around the tarp and get it into position. In the background, you see an already covered stack, with its sides secured so as to drain away from the stack, and old firehoses thrown over it to secure the whole thing.
Another angle, showing the stack topped and ready to be covered.
Guiding the tarp into position.
Here’s the view from the end of the strings. My job is to keep the wind from catching the tarp, and help to guide it.
And it’s in position, with the ends tied down. There’s still a lot of work to be done on the sides, so that they will drain properly, but the hardest part is done.
I’ve written about this process in other years. It’s the culmination of our year, and when it’s done, the hay is safe from storms. The way the weather predictions are going, we’d better get the rest done soon.
The past few days have been pretty muggy, with a few drops of rain. We seem to be right on the edge of the storms, because we’ve had almost nothing while southern Bakersfield has had heavy rain and flooding. The thunderstorms and flash floods are a good thing — unless you’re caught in one — because they are another indication of a strong El Nino.
Oddly enough, I first heard of El Nino many, many years ago. It was mentioned in a pirate story I read, along with the reason for the name. The warm current came along about Christmas time, so El Nino — the Christ Child. The storms came into the story because they made the pirate trade difficult. Apparently the author had done his homework, because that’s the explanation I’ve heard repeated ever since. In the story, though, it was a bad thing instead of an eagerly anticipated event.
At any rate, blog posts will continue to be sporadic until the weather moderates a bit. Meanwhile, here’s one of my more successful hummingbird pictures.
You can even see his little toenails, if you look closely. Too bad he wouldn’t turn around, but his glittery green back is gorgeous. I didn’t realize for years that hummingbird feet are so tiny they can’t walk or hop, but only perch or fly. Luckily, that’s all they need.
Boarder Jennifer sent me a picture she took yesterday. It’s of a Birthday Ride, for our boarder Cathy. Here they are, lined up along the river, with Birthday Girl Cathy on the left. It’s a pretty good-sized group, for these days; at least eight. Notice the pipe protruding from the bank behind them — one of several that dumped waste water from the oil fields in the Bad Old Days.
I enjoyed this especially, because it reminded me of the ladies’ rides Billy’s mother Irma used to head up. They would have averaged about seventy — in age, not number. I’m sure these ladies are mere spring chickens by comparison!
They got their ride in during the morning hours, which was a good thing. The afternoon was marked by thunderstorms, with a pretty good lightning show. Some places in the mountains got over an inch, but we only got a good shower. It cleaned out the air, though, and this morning it was clear as crystal.
There are thunderstorms in the mountains again today. A flash flood advisory is in effect again, and it says that places in the desert and near Lake Isabella have gotten over two inches today. Here, though, it’s only muggy — so far. There are supposed to be yet more storms tomorrow, due to tropical storm Dolores.
It’s all welcome — except maybe in the flash flood areas.
Actually, hay here . . . and there . . . and there . . . and over there . . .
We’ve got the last of our hay in, so we’re all set for the year. There’s an awful lot of it; almost a thousand tons. We park the stacks all over the ranch, so that if there should be a problem with one it can’t spread to the others. So — we have a lot of haystacks.
Here’s some . . .
Here’s some more . . .
More over here . . .
And yet more here . . . I’m still not sure I got every stack.
It’s all nice alfalfa, green and sweet-smelling, and golden where it was on the outside of its original stack. It’s a real relief to have it all safely in. Now we start saving for next year. Hay brokers love us, because we pay in full and immediately. It’s worth a year of saving, to have it all safely in and paid for. The next big task will be to get it all covered against the winter rains.
At least, we’re hoping for winter rains!
Kitty’s been helping out with some young friends of Sarah. I think she’s enjoying it. She certainly looks smug about the little saddle . . . but I note that she’s done what horses do best, right where it’ll probably be walked through.
And I think she’s checking to be sure her friend Frankie’s saddle isn’t lighter than hers.
She and Frankie go well together.
And there they go. Kitty’s young rider did not want to get off when the ride was over. Who can blame her?
Kitty’s a great horse for kids — and grandmas.