Another beautiful morning – and the temperatures promise to get to springlike to draw us outside.

Got a late start today- dogs, laundry, dishes and other humdrum chores held me inside til lunchtime. The horses didn’t hate me for it – they were busy finding the tiny green grasses that are poking thru the hard packed earth in random spots. Like an equine version of hide and seek- the little green sprouts are hiding, and the boys use up the majority of the day seeking them out and ripping them from the ground. Or, at least, just clipping them very close to the ground!

I tried to sneak up on the barn – there is a large resident hawk who is usually manning his post, on a large pole, midway down the paddock on the center fence line. No matter how stealthy I try to be, he is aware of me, before I am of him, and is usually soaring away to the edge of the woods, before I can get close or get the camera focused! That will be my goal this year,  to get close enough to get a good photo of him!!! It’s probably a redtail hawk, but I need to get out the bird book to be sure!

Speaking of birds – I picked up a nice National Audubon Society bird call clock at the local thrift store!!! It drives my dogs crazy every hour on the hour, but it is helping me identify the birds around here that are heard but not seen! As I write, the Northern Mockingbird is chirping on the hour – and here come the dogs, crashing thru the doggie door to figure out where is that bird and how did it get in here!!

But, I digress-back to the barn. It was time to change the 100 gallon water trough, feed the boys and take off their blankets for the day. They were happy for that – the old man always has blanket rub on the front of his shoulders and the back of his legs. The big guy has a pronounced dip in his neck, where the blanket weighs down on him. Underneath it all, they are starting to shed – a real promise that spring is not too far off.

After he finished his feed, the old man took advantage of the open barn doors to take himself on a little “field” trip. I let him go on his own, into the hay fields to look for more little greenlings poking thru. The big guy always feels a little left out, but I can’t let the two of them out together- if something scary comes along – off they go! Without a four wheeler, it is harder to catch two galloping horses. With only one out, if something makes him uneasy, he will just head back to the barn, or to the fenceline by his buddy.

The big guy got some more hay – and he was happy with that! I cleaned the trough, and went back to put the new bag of feed into the covered storage bins. I folded the bag down tight last night – or so I thought. I didn’t have time to empty it into the bins, so just fed the horses, and rolled down the bag and put the scoop on top. I fed them today, and when I went back to pour out the bag – I heard little scratching noises- oops!! Looked in the bag and there was one tiny member of my little field mouse colony furiously scrambling to get out of the bag!!!! I debated just tipping the bag over, but then I would have to pick up all the feed that spilled out – so I put the bucket scoop in the bag and after a few attempts, got him in the bucket. He was terrified, and flattened out, hanging on to the plastic bucket with splayed out little hands and feet! I put him down on the floor and his huge black beady eyes stared at me for a minute and then he bolted out to the safety of his wall. He was so lucky I didn’t squish him when I was scooping out the horses’ breakfast! These little mice weigh barely an ounce, and I’m sure are the bane of most farmers. But in the winter, I don’t mind them in the barn at all.

The water trough is full, and the old man is waiting patiently by his stall door to get in and have a drink. The turkey vultures are peacefully circling over the hay field. The wrens are flitting from tree to tree calling out to their neighbors.

All is wonderful at Mountain Meadows today…………………….

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