February 2010

Life is never dull in the country, no matter what you have heard!!

Laid back, perhaps, but NEVER dull!

We have managed to get thru’ the Blizzard of 2010 relatively unscathed. It came and went, came and went, leaving way more snow then Virginia is used to.  Powers outages, collapsing roofs, artic temps, are just a few of the side effects of this snowpocalypse/snowmageddon/snOMG/snowmore!!!!

Glancing out my window the other afternoon, in the midst of this 3 foot snow vista, I saw something that caused me to do a double take! Under the cedar tree, where I toss the cracked corn for the deer, was a large gray, unfamiliar, yet, very familiar form!

The huge, gray, Percheron mare from across the river, had escaped her fencing and her massive nose led her right to the deer feed!

Can you see her?

I ran out to the deck for a better look!

I yelled up to Mr. Green Jeans, as I was throwing on my boots and coat, to call the neighbor – her horse had gotten out!

I ran out the door, grabbing a bucket of feed, and a dog leash(!) as I went! The horse tack was in the barn, and I didn’t want the horse taking off before I could get her!

As I approached, I guess she thought she was in trouble, and she started to circle the tree. But I continued to speak softly, and shake the feed bucket. Food won out, and the mare approached.

I’ve met her before, on walks across the river. She lives in a huge field, with cattle, and now 2 other horse buddies. She is very sweet, but HUGE, with dinner plate sized feet, standing 17.5- 18 hands.

She was large enough to know that I was no match for her. So, food was the link to getting her to follow me.  With the dog leash dangling from her halter, she followed me, and the food, to my barn. When we came thru the trees, she caught sight of my horses, and they saw her! She took off for the barn, thru the almost 3 foot snow, to visit some new friends!!

The “old man”, ever alert, saw this huge grey “thing” charging across the field – and just knew, it could not possibly be a horse!! Discretion being the better part of valor, he turned tail and ran to the far end of the paddock! The “big guy”, leader of the pack, now considerably dwarfed, and realizing he was no longer the BIG guy, was cowed for the first time in his life!!

With this mutant horse charging across the snow, the “big guy” decided the “old man” had the right idea, and followed him!!!

Little Miss Lilly, all 30 inches of her, ran thru snow up to her neck, leaping like a rabbit, passing the other two, in her effort to escape!!

Breeze, on the other hand, saw nothing to fear! He perked up his ears, flicked his tail in a flirty manner , and pranced in his best style thru the deep snow, to the fence, to greet this beautiful female intruder!!! She did look alot like  a mare he used to live with, but on a much larger scale!!!

I was a bit worried for my fence!! With her height, and the added packed snow, my fence only came up to her chest- and the electricity was not on!!

Mr. Green Jeans came out, with a proper lead- the neighbor was on the way. He was not going to let me try to lead this mammoth out- I might get hurt.

Since the snow kind of impeded my mobility, I let him take over!!!

It took a bit to catch her – she was very interested in Breeze. Eventually, food caught Breeze’s interest (it was near dinner time, after all!), which in turn, again, caught her interest, allowing Mr. GJ to catch her!

Got her!

The neighbor and her dog came running over – difficult to do in the deep snow.  We suggested she ride the mare back – but that wasn’t an option. My daughter wasn’t home – she would have jumped right on!!!

So, Mr. Green Jeans said he would lead her back home, over the river. It took a bit, to get the Percheron with the program, finally she settled down and began the walk home.  It wasn’t an easy walk, with the hard, deep snow, and those big hooves so close to his feet! The neighbor and I followed behind – struggling thru the snow, and trying to walk in their footprints!

On our way back home...............

Watch out for my feet!!!!!

We were about halfway there, in the above photo-Mr GJ had to take a brief break- note the red face- we were all (except for the Perch) out of breath!!!

Thank goodness, the river is back to creek level- but still above boot level!

(If you go to this previous post , third pic down, you can see how much the water has receded, after the rains, photo was taken at the spot Mr. GJ is crossing the water)

If you look closely, you can see the mare, just above the snowbank, safely back in her own paddock!

Mr. GJ and I trudged back thru our tracks, at a much slower pace!!!

I went back to the barn to finish the nighttime routine and feeding. The “big guy” was snorting and anxious – not wanting to go into his stall to eat!! He kept glancing thru the stall out the open barn door, sure that mutant horse was still out there somewhere! My ‘big guy” had lost his bravado!!!

So, I closed the barn door, coaxed him in for dinner, and eventually, he calmed down and began to eat.

When Breeze came a little too close, all of a sudden, the “big guy” remembered WHO he was, pinned his ears and rushed Breeze- as if to say – I AM the boss within these walls – and don’t you forget it!!! The “big Guy” was back!!!!


Life is happy, and never dull, at Mountain Meadows this morning………..


I think this is our third significant snowfall for this winter. It started snowing at 6:30am yesterday , and is STILL snowing at 11am – with no end in sight!!!!

Just by chance, I happened to read an article in Yankee Magazine by Edie Clark, about an 2008  ice storm in New Hampshire. 400,000 households in the state were without power. Altho her ice encrusted world was pretty – she likened it to Armageddon!!!

The author hauled water from the spring, melted ice for washing dishes, read by candlelight, listened to a hand cranked radio, and slept next to the woodstove!!!

On the 12th day, there was light!!! The electricity was back on in NH!!!

After reading that story, I should NOT complain – our electricity went out about midnite last night. We don’t have ice, just an unbelievable amount of snow for this area of Virginia.

We have a generator, and I am hoping the propane does not run out!!! The news tells us the power should be back on in 10 hours or so. My fingers and toes are crossed!!!

The basement woodstove is on – which heats the the lower and main level of the house. Doesn’t do much for the upstairs – but heat rises, so we will see………….

The kitchen stove does not work on the generator – so, we are microwaving water for tea, and my daughter made a pound cake in mugs in the microwave!!! If we are forced to activate the upstairs woodstove – we can cook on that!

It is times like these, that make me appreciate what our ancestors went thru – without generators, running water, indoor toilets,  or any of the modern conveniences!

We did have to run out early in the morning yesterday – as the snow was starting to accumulate.

I thought I had everything I needed – and realized the bag of feed I thought I had for the horses – was not there!!! So, with Mr. Green Jeans at the wheel, we went off to the co-op for the horses!!

Amazingly – we were not the only ones out – the place was packed!!!! Bill, who works behind the counter – said they had been non stop busy since the day before!! I doubled my feed order and we scooted out of there.

On the way home, we headed to the Post Office – and came upon an accident – two cars collided and were in the ditch. One of them was our mail lady!! We weren’t allowed to stop – so continued on to the PO – the postmaster was already aware of the accident and was making the necessary calls. As we left to go home – the traffic was stopped for emergency vehicles, so DH decided to take the back way home. “The back way” means rural, unplowed, winding, gravel road!!!!!

It was picturesque of course, but a bit nail biting for me! I kept praying there was no one coming around the bend at us. And, of course, my camera batteries died at this point in the drive, so I had to resort to the cell phone camera for photos!

This morning I let the dogs out with me – so they could plow a path for me to the barn!! I felt like a kid in a snowsuit, with many layers underneath waders and a waterproof drover’s coat!

The horses had trampled down the snow right outside the barn, but poor Miss Lilly was quite perturbed – all this snow is just not her cup of tea!!!

The wild birds were gathered at the feeding station – chattering away, waiting for that human to come out and give them breakfast! I refill their dishes every hour in this weather!!!

I am not sure if the deer ventured out last night to get their evening meal of cracked corn. I did notice one of the trees that shelters one of deer feeding spots, had broken in half under the weight of the snow.

I would not be surprised, if we end up with close to 40 inches of snow. there is yet another snow storm scheduled for this coming Tuesday!!! We have Minnesota weather in Virginia!!

If  I can step away from the computer – this would be a great day to accomplish all the “must-do’s” and art/ sewing projects that are piling up!!!

I am looking at the pond in my banner picture above, and have a mantra running thru my head: Spring WILL come, spring WILL come, I know it will, I know it will, I know it will, I know it will……!!!!!

***I just uploaded a bunch of pix to this post – and the electricity was struggling to come back on!!! It finally did – yay!!In the 12th hour – there was light!!! But all the pictures disappeared – thankfully, most of the post was saved!! Let’s see if I can upload the pix again, and get this post up, before the power goes out again!!!***

I don’t know why – but the pictures won’t upload. Soooo, visualize, and check back again tonite. I will try to upload the photos again – if we have power!!!!


All is white for as far as the eye can see (and that is not far at the moment) at Mountain Meadows today…………………………………..