Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Remembering Winter

with 6 comments

It has been a couple of years since we’ve had horses over the months of freezing temperatures and blowing snow. I’m finding it a little comical that neither Cyndie nor I remember how we handled the nuances of our barn chores during the winter months.

It’s not difficult to make it up as we go along, except for the nagging knowledge that we already had a smoothly functioning routine once before. Seems like we shouldn’t have to start anew.

Yesterday, we found the waterer was freezing up, leading me to believe one or more of the heating elements are failing. At least that is a new problem because we never needed to worry about that before.

Manure management is a little wobbly. Sometimes, frozen poop is easier to scoop up. A lot of other times it isn’t. I keep telling Cyndie we used to leave it all in place until spring but she doesn’t remember it that way. The difference, I believe, is that we haven’t received much snow yet and we can still roll the wheelbarrow around. She’ll be happy to leave it all when/if real snow begins to accumulate.

I’ve reminded Cyndie that we plowed a path from the barn to the compost area and only scooped under the overhang and in the stalls over winter. Since we don’t have any snow yet, the obvious limitations aren’t there.

I’m already trying to recall my routine of resuming active composting after winter releases its grip. Those of you who keep dogs in your backyard in places where snow covers the ground for months know what the ground looks like when the snow first melts. Multiply that mental image by the volume four horses produce.

We are getting hit with seriously cold temperatures and aggressive winter winds already. The unknown element of snow accumulation remains to be revealed in the weeks ahead.

I’m waiting to find out if this will turn out to be a winter like the snowy ones I remember most from the recent past.



Written by johnwhays

December 7, 2021 at 7:00 am

6 Responses

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  1. I thought the idea was just to have the horses there in the summer months – so now you seem to be taking on a lot of hard work for no obvious reason. I don’t have that option but you do – think quality time and energy management. Given rest and celebrations, you can give it your best in the Spring. That is the best option for you and the horses. I’d hold to that if I were in your position.

    Ian Rowcliffe

    December 7, 2021 at 9:14 am

    • That was the idea when we began exploring how it will work to foster rescued Thoroughbreds. Re: “no obvious reason.” You know the spirit of a horse. You know the power of equine energy. You know the ancient wisdom these glorious animals embody.
      The more we are learning about the rescue organization, “This Old Horse,” the more we are drawn to support their mission.
      I think you are reading more into the prospect of “a lot of hard work” that our current situation will entail.


      December 7, 2021 at 10:20 pm

      • Well, looking after horses on a daily basis places many restrictions on one’s life, but maybe you have someone to step in and help out when necessary. Good luck to you

        Ian Rowcliffe

        December 8, 2021 at 3:12 pm

      • Yes, we are very lucky to have several choices for coverage of animal care when we choose to get away, like trips up to the lake place!


        December 8, 2021 at 6:43 pm

      • Good to hear that you have the option of getting away at times and feeling refreshed. This is so important: it is not something that I have managed to organise as well… yet – it always feels that I don’t trust others to do a good job, knowing how wrong things can go when the horses are not well looked after… I guess after all these years, it is hard to let go even for a few hours. But I must make way for change somehow… as must we all, I guess. That said, I understand how lucky the horses are at your place.

        Ian Rowcliffe

        December 9, 2021 at 9:19 am

      • So far, we are accomplishing two simultaneous missions of providing sanctuary to these beautiful creatures and allowing ourselves to develop and nurture our Wintervale Ranch while still getting chance to get up to our lake place with reasonable frequency.


        December 10, 2021 at 10:12 am

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