Friday, December 27, 2013

December Weather, Or New Use For Full Seats

I know how annoying it can be to hear people complain about winter weather - i.e. we live in Canada, get over it. Too bad. I'm writing about sucky winter weather anyway. If nothing else it will be an antidote to reading one more saccharine Facebook post about a storybook perfect Christmas. 
(Just to set the record straight, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life, and had a great Christmas - don't want my family to think I'm ungrateful - but enough of that already. Let's trash the weather!) Okay, here goes...
I don't remember ever having a December with weather as bad as this year; it usually holds off to January to get this much bad weather, this frequently. It started with days on end of record lows, -20's at night, - teens during the day. Our first year running the new stable + early record lows = frozen pipes, scrambling to find a foal blanket that fits our big foal, and running wires for heated buckets with frozen hands and feet. Yes, but that was a mere blip on the radar. This was quickly followed by multiple snow storms, and then a 24 + hour ice storm. Some people are in their fourth day without power, and we didn't loose power, but why not complain anyway? Here are some of my ice storm incidents:
  • I needed to bring in wood for the wood stove, but the wheel barrow was frozen to the ground. In trying to wrench it free I broke off one of the handles, so no wheel barrow. I decided to put wood in the back of the truck and bring to the wood box (of course the truck was covered in a thick coating of ice). The wood box is outside and opens into the living room. It had four inches of ice on it and was so heavy I couldn't lift the top. I carried wood to the back door, but this entailed walking over a sheet of glass and up steps that had curved mounds of slick ice on them. Just so you don't think Doug was being lazy letting me do all this, Mom and I are at home in Noel Shore keeping the house warm and he's at the horse facility much of the time. (We go back and forth and stay in the same place at the same time a few nights a week.)
  • Christmas Eve Mom and I were going to Five Fires (our arena facility) to spend the night in the cabin, so we could all be together. I went to her house to pick up gifts that were left there, and found that her house was surrounded by a sea of ice, all sloping away from the house. Mom waited in the car while I attempted to navigate to the sun porch door. About half way there I realized there wasn't a snow ball's hope in hell I'd make it standing, so gingerly lowered myself to the ground and started crawling to the door on my hands and knees. Looking back, I can see this is kind of funny, but it wasn't funny at the time :). Even that didn't work. I lost my tenuous grasp on the sloping ice and went sliding down the hill away from the house and came to rest on an ice covered snow bank. By turning over onto my full seat breeches I was wearing I was able to sort of crab walk a bit at a time back up the slope until I could grab a corner of the car. From there I launched a reccy at the other door,  and somehow gained the doorstep and entry to the house. I won't bother boring you with how I managed to get presents from the house to the car, but suffice to say it included presents dropping and sliding off into the icy darkness.
  • On Boxing Day some intrepid natural horsemanship people trailered in for schooling with their horses. We thought the driveway, which goes up quite a hill, was fine. Turns out we hadn't factored in the weight of three horses on a trailer. You guessed it - the trailer went through the packed snow onto ice and got stuck. The horses had to be unloaded and we hooked both the tractor and our 3/4 ton truck to the truck and trailer and hauled it up the hill. I'm very impressed with these people though - it was -12  and they were out with their horses! Luckily we have lots of sand and will keep the driveway sanded.
Don't even get me started on dressing for this x%%^$# weather. Currently I'm in double faced wool long johns, with too tight breeches over them (who needs THAT extra layer two days after Christmas?), Mountain Horse winter riding boots with two pairs of socks, fleecy top, hoodie, and getting ready to put on a long down filled coat and lined leather gloves. I'm not sure I'll ever 'feel' my horse again.

That just about brings me up to date. I'm sitting here as snow falls and the road is completely snow covered. We had a snow storm last night and another one forecast for Sunday. I'm heading to Five Fires and will enjoy some riding - I can't forget my riding goals, the first check in being this weekend.
Hope everyone had a great Christmas and has a very Happy New Year!

11 comments:

TeresaA said...

okay I am smiling at the mental image of you sliding and cursing on Christmas eve. :)

But mostly I'm smiling with you.

Ice grips on your boots can be your best friend....

Michelle said...

SOOO thankful I only lived through one winter in Minnesota 25 years ago! I feel your pain but have no desire to share it!

SprinklerBandit said...

Oh, I hear you. I'm way west and a bit south of you, but this is ridiculous. We don't usually get winter until January, but it has been absolutely impossible to ride all month. Record lows, snow all month, and the almanac predits it's going to continue. I wish I didn't believe it, but the weather guys aren't any more optimistic.

You have to admit that the ice crawling with full seats is going to be really funny in a couple years when you're vacationing in Florida.

T Myers said...

yes!! The weather sucks!! It's going to be above 0 for two days and I can hardly wait, but after that it's -20 again! Enough already!

English Rider said...

A trick learned the hard way.(There's reasons I moved to California). Pull on woolly socks over your shoes. Works as well on sheets of ice as the full-seat improvisation and doesn't freeze your ass:)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Giggling with, not at you my dear. ;D

Bought my sis who lives almost to Canada, some yaktrax to go over her footwear as she is prone to falling over when there's not epic winter ice. Have you tried them?

Stay safe!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Ok, I'm sorry to be chuckling at the mental images you've set down here. But it is pretty funny as long as it's happening to someone else.

We had some miserable weather for a while too. I hate ice storms and not being able to get out of the driveway (it's all up hill)and snow the next few days. But then the strangest weather the following week, temperature hit 70. Go figure that one out.Snowed again on Christmas Eve.

Those ice grippers you can buy for your shoes do work well on ice and will keep you from landing on your butt. Also, a generator can be a big help during winter storms and all year for water and electricity. We have a huge one with a propane tank buried in the yard. It's a life saver.

Happy (warmer) New Year!

Kate said...

And I used to complain about our weather . . .

That sounds awful, at least you managed to make something funny out of it. We're supposed to have some seriously cold and windy weather next week, but I doubt it'll match yours - at least I hope not!

Frances Holder said...

You had a hell of a time! Lessons learned though...you know what you have to do next year in case the same thing happens. When the weather report said an inch of ice will be covering everything I was hoping against hope they were wrong but they weren't and thusly we have, in some places, more than an inch. I'm glad you made it through without too much injury to person...dignity is another thing altogether LOL. Please be careful.

Lori Skoog said...

I can't even imagine what you have been going through with this early and very harsh winter. Too bad a video was not made of some of your "adventures." You and your clients are very tough cookies. May 2014 bring you good health and happiness as you turn Five Fires into the top facility in NS. You and your husband deserve such kudos.

juliette said...

So late to this Carol...I started it a week ago and just finished reading today - hysterical laughing about the full seat breeches and gift rescue on ice. Sorry but that was hysterical - although having just went through ice hell and freezing temperatures here, I know it wasn't funny at the time!

I thought of you these last days. You and Kate. If you two can brave what you go through up there in Canada and she in Illinois, I can too. At least that is what I kept saying.

It is finally 15 degrees today Fahrenheit - that's real 15 with no wind chill and it feels wonderful.

We do this all for them - our sweet horses and this passion, but I told Brian that next go round I will be leasing a horse in Florida. Of course, happily these boys will be with us for twenty years so I will be 67 years old, but then I will proclaim - no more frozen gloves or buckets!

Stay warm. Warm carrot kisses for Rogo and company!