Enjoying the rain.

As I sit working from the kitchen table this Friday .. I hear the sound of hooves and laughter coming down the driveway.

The girls are back together for the first time in months and seem to sincerely be enjoying each other’s company.

It’s drizzing rain today, cool and cloudy. While most people are cursing this summer weather ..

Bareback

They really don’t seem to mind. Beautiful.

Advertisements

Work. Or lack of.


The Cowboy and I are sitting at the table tonight looking at calendars.  And talking.  He tells me he’s got a busy week ahead and work is picking back up.  He’s wearing a smile.  One I haven’t seen in awhile.

IMGP0002

“I’m sorry I’ve been kind of crabby lately,” he says to me, in rather good spirits.  “I’ve got the wintertime blues.”  He laughs.

I know, I tell him.  I reassure him it’s not a problem and I get it.  I’ve battled a slight case of it myself lately.  And it has nothing to do with the weather.

Winter trim.

Winter trim –

Work, or lack of, has been a topic of discussion for us the past couple months.  The Cowboy, because winters are just slow in the farrier business and this has been a brutal winter.  When it is frigid, which it has been a lot, people cancel shoeing appointments.  When it snows, which it has a lot this winter, people cancel shoeing appointments.  When the roads are icy, which they were again yesterday and today, people cancel shoeing appointments.  No one wants to be out in it.   The Cowboy included.  But given it is the majority of his livelihood, no work means no pay.

…………….

Work is also slow in the winter because .. because of a little factoid I am a bit fascinated with:  horses hooves don’t grow as fast this time of year.  Did you know this?  You may, but I learned only recently despite having my own horses for years.  Apparently I’ve not paid all that much attention to the time span between farrier visits.

IMGP0032

“Horse hooves are like human fingernails and they just grow slower when it gets colder,”  the Cowboy tells me when I ask him again to explain.

http://www.princealbertstables.com/can_you_influence_hoof_growth.htm

“But I’ve also been told sunlight plays a role.  Kind of like when they start to shed in the spring, that has more to do with the amount of sunlight they’re getting, not necessarily because of the temperature.”

IMGP0017

He’s still smiling as he looks at his calendar, which appears to be filling up for the first time in months.  The blues, especially with Daylight Savings around the corner, appear to be waning.

http://www.cceequine.org/fact_sheets/How%20a%20Horse%20Hoof%20Grows.pdf

IMGP0016

While the rest of you are griping about winter ..

There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t hear someone complaining about how long and how harsh this winter has been.  I too, am ready for spring.  So I get it.

But there are a few I know ..

One of my fav shots from the weekend -

One of my fav shots from the weekend –

.. who just can’t seem to get enough of it.

The cold and snow have meant a playground of sorts here at the ranch all winter.  I know I’ve posted pics of our crew sledding before, but there were very few moments the kids (or the Cowboy) were inside this weekend.  If they were, it was momentary as they came in to warm up.

Sledding South Dakota style -

Sledding South Dakota style –

And then they would head back out again ..

The Cowboy and his little girl -

The Cowboy and his little girl –

While I don’t typically show faces, the expressions I believe, are what make these photos.  At least to me.

All smiles -

All smiles –

So many more great snapshots from the past few days.  Thought would be fun to share even a few ..

About to lose one.  Holding on with all his might ..

Holding on with all his might –

.. as we all still wait on spring.

My Little Annie Oakley.

She woke early again this morning for school.

Got up.

Got ready.

“Where’s the bb gun again?” she asked the Cowboy?

Off she went with the dogs ..

Morning target practice.

Morning target practice.

I smiled as I had to call her in – twice – to grab a bite to eat quick and her things so that we could get her off in time to school.  And, as she was heading back toward the house, I realized this was a moment worth savoring and that I didn’t want to miss ..

I ran to grab my camera and sneak in this shot of my own.

My Little Annie Oakley, I though to myself.  (She’s really enjoying the BB gun Santa got her for Christmas last year, our three other littles have their own as well.  4H shooting sports, which she’s now been involved in the past couple months, has also become a wonderful resource for her.)  And then I realized I really didn’t know much about Annie or if that was at all a reference for her I should be using.

………….

Living now in South Dakota, we see and hear a lot about the great heroes/heroines/outlaws of the old Wild West.  Phoebe Ann Moses, or Annie Oakley as most of us know her, didn’t live or work it seems, ever in South Dakota.  But I’ve been seeing a lot about her as I’ve traveled the area.  Especially during our time out in Wall.

- courtesy Wikipedia

courtesy Wikipedia

Her talents as a sharpshooter and for teaching women during that era how to use a gun are what apparently made her the First American Female Superstar, according to Wikipedia.  That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s all because of how she could shoot a gun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Oakley

Her aim might not be all that Annie’s was, but apparently I’m somewhat on the right track with my comparison.  We’ll have to see if her shot here at some point, is good enough for her to want to take on the road.

Storm Blowing In ..

The snow hadn’t yet started to fly this afternoon but the wind had kicked up something fierce once again on the Great Plains by late this afternoon and there was a damp chill in the air.

The grove of trees the herd was lined up against the other day was facing the wrong direction to help with tonight’s howling winds.  So a few of them cozied up behind one of the loafing sheds this latest go round with Mother Nature.

The huddle.

The huddle.

As I ran out to snap a few photos, they all turned and looked at me, I think wanting to come over and say hello like they usually do.  But all stood their ground, not wanting to give up the wind break for any other in the herd.

I smiled at them.  And as the cold, bitter air sent a sharp pain through my front teeth, I scurried back inside, seeking warmth and shelter again myself.

Diesel.

I’ve driven a hybrid car .. oh, probably 6 years now.

It takes regular unleaded, like every other car I’ve ever driven.  While it gets great mileage and has been a wonderful car for us, the Prius doesn’t do all that great on ice.  And the warmer temperatures, melting snow, sleet and heavy fog recently have made for some slick rural roads.

DSC01042

So I’ve been taking the truck.

……………

“Hey,” I said to the Cowboy over the phone .. “Diesel 1 or Diesel 2.  I can’t remember.”

“Make sure you’re not at the pumps for farm fuel!” said the Cowboy, somewhat in a panic I was at the wrong pump and may have already started putting gas in the truck.

“Don’t worry, I’m not,” I replied to him over the phone, not knowing what difference that would make.  (I filed the question in the back of my mind for later)

The Pumps

I had called to ask again, which Diesel for the Dodge.  Usually the Cowboy makes sure there is enough gas in it.  But as I have been the one to use the truck versus my Prius the past couple of days, I wanted to be sure to return the favor and fill it up.  Only the second time doing so on my own, I knew there was a method as to what went into the tank and why, I just couldn’t remember what it was.

What’s the weather supposed to be like, he said to himself out loud.

“I think it’s supposed to be nice,” the Cowboy continued.  “I guess you can go with Diesel 2 for now.  It’s not all that cold out so you shouldn’t need number one.”

image-4

Diesel 2, he explains to me as I sit down to write for the first time in a very long time, apparently gels up if it gets too cold.  He let me know, I would most likely get stranded alongside the road if the wrong diesel is in the tank and the temperatures plummet.

Sincerely good to know.

…………

Also good to know why it mattered if I was at the Farm Diesel pump:

– Farm fuel is good for tractors and other farm related equipment.

– It is the same diesel, it just isn’t taxed.

– The Cowboy says there is about a $ .50 tax on every gallon of gas we buy.  I ask, are you sure it’s $ .50 and he says, pretty close.  (May differ by state.)  I don’t feel like fact checking this morning so I’m going with it.

– There is a dye in farm fuel and if you get picked up, police can check your tank.  If you have farm fuel in your truck, it is at the very least, a $1000 fine.

………….

The things we’re learning .. living on a dirt road.

Horse Show …

The dusty trail from Chicago ..

.. brought us back one more time to the last night of the Horse Show in Fort Atkinson.  

Flip flops and shorts were quickly exchanged for jeans and boots.