2.29.2016 Narrow Escapes

So if winter is over, it must be spring, right?  You know the old saying, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  Well, on my farm, March comes in like a lion and so does April.  This year, March began on February 24.  A powerful storm front rolled over the east coast.  On the leading edge there were scary storms.  Around 4:00 on Wednesday afternoon, my phone started going crazy with tornado warnings.  I was monitoring the radar and the radar did look very scary.  Reports were coming in of tornadoes all around the farm.  But on our farm, nothing.  The winds were suspiciously calm and the rain, light to non-existent.  Once again, the Staff of Moses which is apparently buried up at the cemetery, parted the weather and sent the fury of the storms elsewhere.  I am grateful.

Several nearby communities weren’t so lucky.  I have pictures from Appomattox, but I won’t share them.  A man died in that devastation.  Three others died east of here.  It was a bad day in Virginia.

I blame myself.  My husband called and told me his coworkers were wigging out about the forecast.  I replied, “It’s spring weather.  It is what it is.  No big deal.”  And thus I taunted the weather gods.  Something I am normally careful not to do.  So to Virginia, I am sorry.

Then came the wind.  Like a hammer on the west side of the house.  For a couple of days.  Not even The Staff could protect us from those.  The only damage though was a bird feeder blown off its hook and two cracks in my windshield from bungee cord hooks holding down the tarp that keeps water out of the minivan when it rains.  Both of my hoophouses just rolled with the flow.

On the farm this week, it was mostly about mud.  We got over 5 inches of precipitation in February and the pasture in which the horses are wintering has become a bog.  A boot sucking bog.  The horses made it clear they’ve eaten everything and they think they are starving.  Not true.  There’s still grass out there, but apparently not the good kind. Although it’s enough for horses to maintain their weight, I did start tossing out an entire bale every morning, partly to give the horses something to eat and partly to cover up the bare spots.

Pony has figured out how to get under the electric fence and into the big field.  The first day she did this, she was felt so superior that she challenged my authority to put her on a lead and take her back to the barn for the night.  We had a really nasty fight, with her on her hind legs striking out at me.  She had no footing.  I had no footing.  The ground was mush.  Very dangerous for both of us.  The fight ended in a panting and staring contest.  She blinked first.  After that she went quietly to the round pen for the night.  Now I don’t go near Pony unless I have my lunge whip.  I don’t lead her forward unless I first back her up.

I really need to take a day and spend about an hour in the round pen with each of the horses moving them on a line – backward, forward, left and right – refreshing their manners. 700 pound Pony doesn’t seem so small when she’s vertical and having a bout of short man complex.  This behavior from her comes and goes, so I suspect it’s hormonal.  Still, no excuse for violence.

But I haven’t got the time.  I did manage to prune the grapes this week.  The fruit trees, the black berry patch not so much.  I moved the chicks from the hoophouse to the coop because they were damaging the plastic and weren’t staying in their enclosure.  But they can’t stay there for long.  The coop isn’t designed for 50 birds.  I need to repair two chicken tractors or build something new to house them.  Spring bed renovation and planting is beginning.  Taxes still need doing.  Grow plan not done.  So much to do.

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