It was dark and snowing hard this morning at 7 AM. They say we may get an inch or two every hour, with an accumulation of 10-18 inches. School was canceled. Lucy is thrilled. She has a bad cold and hopes to compete in a ski race this weekend, so a lazy day at home eating clementines, knitting, and watching a horse movie is just what the doctor ordered.
Luckily this storm came with plenty of warning, so the roads were deserted when I drove down to the farm for chores. The snow is falling in small, stinging flakes that don’t show up in photos, and is driven by the wind in sheets of white. The wind is gusting up to 30 mph. For the first time in my memory snow was driven under the ridge cap of the barn and I found the bales in the hayloft dusted with powder.
I decided to muck all the stalls and leave the animals in today. It is a rare east wind, blowing straight into the run-in shed. The temperature is 9° F and with the windchill is certainly below zero. There didn’t seem to me any particular advantage to having all the animals cold and covered with ice. Though I scrape their coats when they come in at night, this still leaves them wet.
Birch, that funny old man, stood at his stall gate ready to go out, no matter the weather. (Though he’d have been the first yearning to come back in.)
I think Birch misses Punch, his difficult stablemate, despite the fact that Punch bullied him away from food and was never friendly. Birch has regained the weight he lost during Punch’s sojourn but he looks lonely and vaguely depressed without other horses. He is not very interested in hay these days and often just lips at his ration, scattering it; I am maintaining his condition with pellets. I often see him standing alone in the lee of the run-in shed, not eating, just gazing out across the cattle and sheep, and I imagine his sigh of disgust: “What a comedown!”
Lucy and I have talked about a Shetland pony mare to keep him company — but not only do I not have room, it’s a slippery slope when you take on pets for your pets.