Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ice Balls and Big Bunnies

Wednesday October 17 2007


The forecast keeps changing, but there's some form of wet weather heading our way. The rain prophecy has veered between 20 and 40% in the next few days; once it said thunderstorms tonight (yikes!), and now it says 80% chance of rain tomorrow.

We woke up to a good layer of snow in the mountains (about 15 miles west), with brisk chilly breezes and clouds picking up as the day wore on. It was one of those Mountain Moving Storm days - when the sun and storm clouds play hide and seek, making the mountains look closer, further away, revealing different shapes that you think you've never seen before. Sometimes the mountains were completely obscured with dark clouds, or whited out with mini snow storms.

Connie and I couldn't talk Carol or Steph into riding, and we couldn't shame them into it. They both were busy working, but, it couldn't have had anything to do with the somewhat cold weather, could it? We went out to ride anyway, because Connie is here to ride, and I just like cold weather!

We rode up onto the north bluff on Finneas and Mac, with serious clouds hanging over the mountains behind us, and little blue streaking rain squalls sprinkled on the plains around us, interspersed with pockets of sunshine.

Mac was at first convinced there were cougars, or Horse Eating Bunnies hiding in the sagebrush we passed, and then when a mini-storm of little ice balls blew over us, he trotted sideways, trying to keep his butt to the wind. ("This is what we do in Nebraska storms!")

We went a few miles along the rim of Bates Creek, with the wind, then dropped down and crossed Bates Creek (dry), and returned along Blond Cow Wash (so named after the blond cow in the 6-cow gang out there). Approaching the cows, Mac at first thought they might be cougars, but then he realized they were cows - Beloved Cows!! His head got higher and higher as we got closer. Oh, wouldn't he like to just herd them up and drive them down the cow trail! Instead, we walked with a stately grace right through the middle of them, the girls calmly watching us pass, and headed for NoDog trail. (So named so we can avoid the trail that goes by Linda's property where several of her BIG white dogs like to give chase to passersby).

Turning a hill corner - OHMIGOD! Horses slam on brakes. Two startled, big healthy does bounded across our trail and over the hill. We've been seeing scary jackrabbits on our rides here, and those were the two Biggest Bunnies our horses had ever seen! In fact I wondered if Mac's seen very many deer, because he stared, frozen, after them a long time with his heart pounding.

Back down to the ranch, where the wind had picked up, and the temperature had dropped. We gave the horses their oats (and a big treatie: carrot covered with molasses!) then turned them loose. They joined the herd that had waited for them, and they all took off up canyon. We went inside for a nice hot cuppa java.

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