Day before yesterday, I was peacefully knitting in the living room when I heard a loud noise. Crashity-boom-boom-BANG! “It sound like someone coming in with an empty trailer,” I thought, “only they’re going way too fast.” It seemed to go on and on, though, so I got up to look. At first I could see nothing out of the way, then I noticed agitated horses running up and down their pens, and finally I saw a commotion up on the road. People were running toward it from every direction, so I went out to look.
It turned out that a horse trailer, with two horses in it, had come loose from its truck and run wild down the road. It had been going north, but at some point it jumped the center divider, spun around, and went tail first down the embankment. It stayed on its wheels, but the two horses were jammed together and in trouble.
It was, at least, a good place for it to happen. There were lots of people there to help get the horses out and administer first aid. Still, with the heavy traffic, it was a scary situation.
It didn’t take long for the highway patrol to get there, and someone had called Dr. Paul the vet.
It was a relief to see the horses out and standing up. They were cut up and bruised, but standing on their own four legs. Granddaughter Christina reacted with her usual competence, and brought up her truck and trailer. The two horses loaded up and headed in. It turned out that they were our boarders, and had been headed home.
My worst moment came at the beginning of the whole thing, when someone shouted, “One of those is the horse Andrew rides!” Immediately I visualized Kitty in the middle of the wreck; but it wasn’t her. Andrew reassured me that she was safely in her pen.
It looks like the horses will be all right, if a long time healing. We heard that the cause was a too-small ball on the truck, which allowed the hitch to bounce loose. The emergency chains held briefly, but snapped and sent the trailer off on its own. It was so lucky that no cars on the road were hit. All in all, it could have been a lot worse.
I told Billy later, “I’ve seen a lot of trucks come in without trailers, but that’s the first time I’ve seen a trailer come in without a truck!”
On a more cheerful note, here is little Weston on Kitty, with his family — and his hat. It might be more accurate to say the hat is wearing Weston.
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.