Until this weekend, I was feeling relieved and happy to have made it through this winter. Lots of slogging through the chill and doing chores in the dark. And breaking ice. Now as we (on the East Coast) are in the midst of what's hopefully the last blast of winter:
What are the thing(s) you couldn't live without this winter?
What's on your wish list for next winter?
Mine - couldn't live without my muck boots, wooly knee highs, and ugly but wonderful Columbia wind-and-waterproof hat with ear flaps. Next winter, I want a solar powered heated water trough and a run-in shelter. Also, a headlamp like biker riders wear, I can wear it over my ugly hat!
All of the above mentioned! It's almost whiteout conditions here in RI. Now that I have only one horse( and the goats) to care for I find it a little easier. I miss the old girl terribly, but with the winter we've had, I'm SO glad I made the decision to let her cross the bridge before winter really hit. Now I can leave stall open so the big girl can make her own decisions about coming or going. Less poop in the stall, more to pick up outside. Next winter( assuming this one ever leaves!) I want to get a wind baffle built off the end of the barn. We had to build it at an angle that gets NE winds, so snow gets into the corner of the stalls sometimes. I'd LOVE water out there, but that's not happening any century soon. We need to do something about the outside faucet at the houseto keep it from freezing . I have the hose thing down pat- as long as I drain it well, I can fill the tub-- IF the faucet isn't frozen. I usually end up pouring a teakettle of boiling water over it enough to get it running. Snow blower and tractor are my best friends every winter. and lots of tea and hot cocoa. Hey, it's MARCH. How bad can it get?????? Hope all 2 and 4 footed critters are OK.
What I wouldn't live without in winter is a frost-free hydrant. This is the first year that we've had one, and it has made a HUGE difference. Even if the hose freezes, we're only carting water for the twenty feet or so from the hydrant to the trough. Last year we were filling up water bottles at the house and carrying them down in a big backpack (you can hold much more on your hips than you can in your arms). Occasionally a water bottle would open in the backpack, sending streams of warm water down the back of your legs.
It was only $80 and half a day's labour to install the thing. I can't imagine why the farmer before us spent 20 years without one.
And in the Real World:
-heated buckets for the stalls
-sinking de-icer for the trough outside No more frozen buckets! Ever!!!
-electric in the barn to run the above + a little electric heater for me & the barncat to enjoy our daily cuddletime
-my neighbors with tractors who plow my driveways (unasked) so I don't have to trudge through hip-deep snow to the barn 3X a day
-horses who grew yak-like haircoats so blanketing was unnecessary most of the Winter & who both stayed in good health <knock wood> through the worst of the weather
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Hey, it's MARCH. How bad can it get??????
The rest of this is YOUR FAULT for typing that out loud. Was only 2" or so when I got up the first time this am. Was another 4 or so 3 hrs later, and it's far, far from done yet.
It's March, we can have blizzards. Hell, in APRIL we have Nor'easters.
I had no water this winter (still don't) and my tub trugs and black plastic toboggan/sled have been my saviours. And I've used the sled for grain now a bunch of times. While I've lost out on upper body fitness (carrying), it sure has saved the knee I wrecked 6 mos ago
This is my first year with a plow, and excepting the snowbank at then end of the driveway, I'm not convinced... Of course, we've had more snow than in the 10 years I've lived here, and I just this past week have run out of places to PUT it. But the plow has gotten stuck more than it's plowed... and plowing first then trying to snowblow through the snowbanks is just... stupid. I need a better PLAN for next year. And a 'plow account.' I've spent almost a month's worth of hay money on getting the plow towed out. How much is a winch???
One of my YakTrax broke three weeks ago, and it's impossible to find any locally, or cheaply online (shipping should NOT cost that much for something that can fit in a regular padded or cardboard envelope!) But I do love them. For a long time I was leaving them on one pair of muck shoes. Wear the boots for snow, the shoes w/traction for ice. That was really nice. I will try to have 'ice boots' in the future.
The ponies have done fabulously, and except for feet being ridiculously long right at this moment, are incredibly shiny and sassy, in good weight. I miss free choice round bales, but not sure I'll ever to be able to afford that again. Thrice daily chores has got to build character or something, right?
It isn't over yet, so I don't feel like I can comment with certainty.
I did get to miss the WORST week, when temps did not leave the single digits, by going to the Bahamas. It was cold there, too, though, so we didn't get to do much sun-baking.
I give myself permission to do "necessary only" barn work, to let the horses stay dirty, and to just give everyone down time from Christmas through Easter. I work more, so I can have more time off during the summer, and catch up on books I don't have time or desire to read when the weather is good.
Can't-do-without list includes my automatic waterer, my barn setup which allows daily chores to be done in minimal time, and our tractor.
Wish list for next winter includes a mild one for a change, and another vacation.
Pintopiaffe, I know. I'm sorry.I jinxed it! For what it's worth, it's snowing here-- Again. It stopped about 9am, but we got that other band coming from the SW. On and off for the rest of the day. Looks like I'll be hauling hot water for stall buckets tonight. So, all in all we went from bare ground to about 18". BUT, look on the bright side( ever the optimist!) it's March and not November, ( that would have been really depressing!)and spring is in 3 weeks! Of course, the crocus will be under 3 'of snow, but it will still be spring! Chin up! How bad can it get???
and ugly but wonderful Columbia wind-and-waterproof hat with ear flaps.
Navy blue with faux sheepskin interior? If so, I have the same exact one, LOL! Not exactly haute couture but toasty as heck!
Also can't do withouts:
Muck Co Boots
Smart Wool Socks
Carhartt bib overalls
Nelson Heated auto waterers
Tractor for plowing and breaking up ice
Huge generator that can run my entire house AND barn if the power goes out
Plastic children's sled with rope handle for sliding the muck bucket from barn to manure pile over the snow or for picking the paddock free of poop
Huge bay window in my kitchen...I'm in my kitchen almost all day and can watch the snow fall and the horses playing in it while being toasty warm.
Neighbors...who happily help each other when the snow gets really deep. We all take turns digging each other out, or lending tractors, or borrowing the BIG Case dozer, or providing water, heat or shelter to those who don't have generators.
Sunoco downtown...the common hang out spot before/during/after snow storms where everyone gathers to refuel, have coffee and chat. All dressed alike in big poofy layers so we only recognize each other via vehicle driven in or height, LOL!
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
Watching the horses have such fun playing in the fresh snow...always makes me smile and laugh (and have the vet on speed dial!) regardless of the trudging that goes on in winter horse keeping.
This morning when I arrived at the barn we already had 6 inches of fresh snow with more on the way. The horses were positively gleeful when I turned them out - running, bucking, and snorting in the snow. And one of them found a deep area of snow and had a nice roll; I figured he was having fun making a equine snow angel.
Fleece lined jeans to go everywhere in as a style statement and.... makes me look much thinner in regular jeans in the spring!
New muck boots with more traction and insulation
ski bibs when too cold for fleece lined jeans (like plowing driveway on open tractor)
HD hooded sweatshirt
Frost free hydrants at home/nelson waterers at work
Various weights of fleece headbands
1982 model goosedown coat for 5 degrees and below days-The Linebacker Coat
my new Golden Retriever puppy waiting for me whenever I step back in the house!
Whoever invented tank heaters should have their own holiday,because I CANNOT live without mine.
Also, can't live without: ugly como insulated, waterproof boots from walmart
cocoa latte machine, put the drink mix in with milk or water and it mixes while you are out feeding and keeps it hot.
plentiful and (fairly) cheap round bales
this forum which has given me all kinds of great ideas for spring and summer riding-- Thanks guys!!
Ahh yes, the fleece lined jeans. Awesome invention...I live in mine in winter. Especially nice if going out for a bite to eat with the hubby, I can be warm and comfy and not wearing Carhartt bibs, LOL! Plus,they feel like you're wearing pajamas all day.
Also second the YakTrax...they were really useful this year. We had glaciers of ice covering the ground for weeks on end. I would've spent that entire time polishing the ice with my tuckus if it weren't for the YakTrax!
Also got one of those Keurig coffee machines for the holidays...nice to be able to brew a fresh hot cup of something in 30 seconds after coming in from the barn.
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
The one thing i do love about winter is hacking bareback on top of their blankets. My super sissy Chestnut gelding is clipped and hates the cold, so i've had to do that quite a bit through this winter. It's so much fun. The trails around my barn are so beautiful when it's just snowed too.
I also love my muck boots. don't think i would have made it this far without them!!
for next winter, well, an indoor would be lovely. How do we talk mr. landlord into that one?
Horse" pow`er\ (Noun) The extraordinary capacity of a horse to elevate the human spirit.