Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring Birds

Spring is coming! I've seen blogs with flowers and green grass, but here on the high plains our grass is as brown as, well, dead grass.  But our Spring birds are coming back, and they are so welcome.  The first to arrive were the Horned Larks.  They showed up about two weeks ago, a little flock of six birds, running down the driveway like shore birds, and swooping in front of the car like swallows.  Their little "horns" are feather tufts.

of course this is not my photo -
I can barely photograph the broad side of our barn

Yesterday two Mountain Bluebirds greeted us at the barn, perched on the fence posts.  Sure, their color is amazing, but that's just part of their appeal.  They are cheeky, cheerful little guys with little fear of humans.  They seem to say "Hey, whatcha doing?" as we go about our chores.
again, not my photo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy News X 2

YAY!!!  Friend Jan is out of the hospital!  YAY!!!  Clifford is doing so much better, his vet has cut his medication dose in half!  Happy dance, happy dance.

I took this photo from our bedroom window just minutes ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crummy News X 2

Friend Jan is back in the hospital.  I wish I could do something more than give her horses extra treats and post photos of them for her.
Jan, Lakota is fine.
Please note that I have restrained myself from brushing his tail.

Elvis is fine too.

Of course Zan is fine; he's at our place.  Funny story about Zan.  Boomer is his new BFF, and he's forsaken Paj, his former BFF.  He kept dragging his hay over next to Boomer, so we finally moved his hay manger to the corner next to Boomer.  Well, that's better, but what he really wanted was...
a table with a view.
Please note that he took the mud treatment at the spa today.

The other absolutely crappy news is that Clifford the big red dog has had a stroke.  He is home and "resting comfortably".  All his blood work was good, he's on good drugs, and his wonderful vet thinks he has a good chance of making a great recovery. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Mouse Highway

So here's what happened.  Remember when we were in the deep freeze last week?  We'd go down to the barn at 7am and flush a jackrabbit from up next to the barn.  The poor thing was after scraps of hay.  It was -17F degrees, and of course I felt sorry for the jackrabbit.

Not my photo

So anyway, I got the bright idea of leaving him some food.  And since we live in country where there are more coyotes than humans, I thought I'd leave some cracked corn up closer to the house.  I'd seen his footprints under the birdfeeder, so that seemed like a good place.

I found a snow-free spot beside a boulder and left the corn.  Here's what happened -
1 deer mouse print,
multiple deer mice prints,
a deer mouse highway!

I'm sorry, Jax, but you are going to have to fend for yourself.  True, deer mice are much prettier than house mice, but still, we won't be doing that again!
not my photo

The good news for all creatures is that we are having a heat wave this week.  We might get to 60F tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

He Must've Been a Beautiful Baby...

I'm thinking of friend Jan, who had surgery today.  What could be better than baby pictures of her horse to wish her a speedy recovery?
Elvis must have been a beautiful baby -
'cause baby, won't you look at him now...

Get back in the saddle soon, dear Jan.  I miss you already.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Learn Something New Every Day

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet, yesterday's mediocre photo of a rainbow/icebow has become a decent photo of a sun dog!
A sun dog, or parhelion, is an atmospheric phenomenon of an ice crystal halo around the sun.  Way cool!  Many thanks to IanH, who lives way up North in Alberta, Canada, (click here) for setting me straight.  And thanks to CountryDreaming and Dreaming.

Now I wish I had looked at the big picture of the sky, instead of just looking toward the barn.  But hey, it was -18F and I was c-c-c-cold.  I wonder if the halo was more complete, like this photo on the Internet -

I'm a little embarrassed.  My father was a meteorologist, so you'd think I'd know about sun dogs.  And my brother Joe writes an astronomy blog for the Deseret News (click here).  Here's my favorite photo of  Joe -
He was out in the Utah desert with his telescope and laptop.  The photo was taken by his friend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sun'll Come Out...Tomorrow

It was -18 degrees F when we got up to feed this morning.  It seemed strange to see a rainbow.

It was supposed to get up to 0, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to make it.  It's 1pm and we've warmed up to -8.  The winds are blowing at 35mph.  Needless to say, the horses are stall-bound today.  It's +20F in the barn, which is the coldest it's ever been in there.  Delicate Paj has a sheet and two blankets on.  Zan, Boomer and Reggie each have two blankets on.  We are feeding extra rations and hand-walking inside the barn.  The sun will come out tomorrow.  It's supposed to get up to +8F.  Thursday we will be above freezing.  It'll feel like the tropics.