Thursday, September 1, 2011


It’s been an interesting week, what with one thing and another. The weather predictions were so awful as of last Friday on, that all I could do was make lists....containers (in and out) to fill with water, remove the arena dressage letters, put away porch flowers, close all the barn windows, not to mention turning the new barn into a water-proof bunker, etc. etc. The bunker prep was endless - bales and sandbags, measuring tarps to fit, running sump-pump hose so that the doors would close over it, extension cords, trench and swale digging with the tractor bucket, and on and on. Plus what to do about bracing the big barn doors against the wind? Their surface area is considerable, but if one side were braced adequately, then the other could be closed against it. Probably. Bringing the tractor inside would not work since then two horses would be blocked into their stalls by the length of it, and chores would be even more of a drag. I finally settled on a pallet topped with several hundred pounds of feed as a brace - it worked a treat. We had five extra horses on a sanctuary basis, as well - everybody fit, thank goodness. Always room for one more.

Sunday was pretty bad, I must say, although it did not, as usual, live up to its press. Still, the winds were severe - the harshest test yet of the barn roofs and general construction. I was very happy that everything survived without any damage at all. Nothing tore, bent, ripped or broke. The insurance companies should be paying me, for pete’s sakes. The water was quite a show - a river running down the street, and others gushing through the pastures. My neighbor Cam had cleared away detritus from the main culvert draining the back yard’s water around the cupola barn, and when I peeked at it midday the water coming out of it was impressive. Similarly the trench dug uphill from the new barn was full, full, full of rushing water - all of which would have ended up in the barn. It was quite gratifying to have everything work in the way intended. Only one tree down, and one huge branch elsewhere, and each had the consideration to fall harmlessly on to clear ground. They didn’t even mess the fencing.

Lots of time indoors, during the weather. I spent quite a bit of time with my cats and dogs, all flopped around me as I laid on the couch watching the branches whip around. My little long-haired Manx cat Henna is such a hoot. She has her schedule, by which you can set your clock. Mornings when I open up the main house, she races at speed through the door as if putting one over on me, then comes skulking back for a scratch and some kibble. Some kitty speedway follows - the Run of Joy engaged in by several cats and the mid-size dog. Then when I am drinking my coffee on the couch, there is the royal ascent to the couch back, where she stretches out, purring, for some more petting. Then as I go out for chores, there comes the day time nap on my bed, and late afternoon twining about my ankles. The evening rituals are also set in stone - their little cat dishes must contain certain elements (yogurt and two kind of wet plus some raw hamburger) to qualify as acceptable. I have a lot of fun with this little pack.

Cleanup after the storm wasn’t too bad - Monday morning took three people three hours, and then Tuesday and Wednesday meant branch and stick cleanup and some tractor work. I am mindful of the open house coming up on September 24th and excited to have the “public” here to see how nice it is (if I do say so myself). Of course that means serious grooming - even more serious than usual - having three main barns plus the house is the same sort of housekeeping challenge that Candy Spelling use to face (although I imagine she had help). And I can’t stand scraggly pastures - of which there are about 15 acres. So, lots to do. See you then!

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