Archive for January 2017
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!
At least, it was running for a while in the last couple of days. Runoff from the massive rain gave us a preview of what we hope will be a good year for the Kern River.
Day before yesterday, it was running fast and high.
It always runs slower in the little backwater near the house, but there was a lot of debris in the flow. Even the dogs were hesitant about taking a dip. (You can see the main channel in the background. It was moving fast, and also carrying a lot of trash and debris.)
The next day, though, the same spot looked quite different.
The invasive water hyacinth had backed up behind brush and trees downed in the big fire a few years ago. This was the first time there had been enough flow for it to be a problem. There was a lot of water hyacinth.
Xena, as our Official Warrior Princess, checked it carefully for alligators.
There is, no doubt, much more backed up at the weirs downstream. It’s a mess.
Meanwhile, though, most of the horses were taking advantage of the brief break in the clouds to nap in the sun. Here are a couple of examples.
There’s more rain coming, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be quite as powerful a storm. I didn’t think, a few weeks ago, that we’d ever be hoping for a break in the rain. We are now, but a brief break would be fine. Just so Mother Nature doesn’t turn off the waterworks for too long . . .
Or so it seems today. The last day of 2016 was marked by rainfall. A lot of rainfall. Snow in the mountains, too. In fact, the news said that we had set a record for December — an all-time record.
Last year, which was supposed to be a record-breaker, was pretty much a bust for us. Maybe this year will make up for it. We’re already close to the normal precipitation for the whole year.
Anyway, it was sure pretty outside this morning, and so great to see the snow in the mountains.
There was surprisingly little water on the ground. After the last big rain, the crew did a lot of tractor work, which no doubt helped. Still, in the above photo, you can see the tracks left by the feed truck this morning. It was deep, but they made it!
There wasn’t a lot of run-off in the river, either. It was gone by the time we got down there (me and the dogs, that is. If you look closely you will see a doggy tail.) except for a lot of mud.
There is more rain predicted for mid-week, and yet more for the weekend. It makes for a lot of work — muddy roads, wet pens, leaky tackrooms, and some enterprising horse turned on a hose and flooded his area — but it’s worth it. It’d sure be nice to have water in the river again this spring.