Thursday, April 30, 2009

Soft Spring Rain

Today we're getting rain for the morning, and perhaps a let up in the PM - so it may be a riding day after all.  It was about 50F as I turned the horses out, but it's supposed to get up into the mid 60s with little wind, so I left them unsheeted.  They have the grass to focus on so I expect they won't be too uncomfortable.

The mud in the aisle to the pastures is worse than ever - our soil is heavy clay, which is very good for pasture grasses, but makes for very heavy, slippery mud.  I haven't fallen down yet, but I've come close a couple of times.  I have a couple of horses who are willing to be my "helper" - I can put a hand on the horse's neck as we walk through the worst of the mud and that helps me balance.  Oddly enough, Blackjack, who is quite shy and cautious with people, is my best helper.  He's usually very forward going to the pasture, but when I need him to help, I let the lead rope go loose, put a hand on his neck, and he slows down to match my pace and carefully stays right next to me.  It's really quite a lovely thing.

Many of the grassland birds are in serious decline in our part of the world due to increasing development.  Due to our pastures, I often have the good fortune to see wonderful grassland birds that are rare elsewhere.  This morning I saw my first Eastern Meadowlarks - three that were flying up and down and squabbling.  In the summer, I often see them perched on fences, singing their hearts out.  They and the Bobolinks are my favorite pasture birds, and they both have wonderful songs.  One time a number of years ago, we briefly had a flock of Cattle Egrets, following the horses to take advantage of the insects that were stirred up.  We're actually outside their usual range, so that was wonderful to see - they're more of a southern bird.

So, even with the rain, it was a beautiful morning - the rain had that wonderful, soft spring feel, everything was amazingly green and the smells of earth and growing things were in the air.

3 comments:

  1. I loathe mud - but I've yet to see a a real working farm that doesn't have any!! Actually I take that back, in South Carolina we were looking at horses and the soil was so sandy they had no mud. I was very jealous. But they also are very susecptible to dry conditions thanks to that so I guess there is always a trade off.

    I wish I had your knowledge about the wildlife species around you. I always just ask Jason who usually knows the answer, although it does make me mentally lazy!

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  2. You make me feel so happy. I love how sweet Blackjack is to help you like that. He really is a dear.

    Love the birds too. I still have an undeveloped State Park behind my house, so there are over 1200 acres for the birds and wildlife. But all around is development, and I'm sure we've lost habitat for many creatures.

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  3. Ah yes soil . . . there's always the good & the bad, eh? Our Colorado farm is all in sand - the ancient Platte River valley area. What that means is water, ANY kind of water and things will grow . . . no water and you get . . . dust.
    Sand colic is also a concern, but we counter that with a daily flax seed regimen and using a psyllium husk product called SandClear every quarter or so. Although we've had our share of colic's, some sadly fatal, we have been able to rule out sand as a factor.
    Clay . . . ugh. I feel your pain. Wonderful stuff for growth - a pain in the hiney for certain when any digging chores or called for, or wallowing through in wet conditions . . . bravo to Blackjack and his sense of gallantry!

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