Thursday, March 29, 2012

In which we are never "cleared for launch" without weather-checking the pass

Here's the weather forecast summary for Washtucna on ride day for Home on the Range, according to
Saturday: Rain. High near 55. East wind between 6 and 9 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

That's not bad.  I like a high near 60 degrees better, but 55 and a quarter-inch of rain is fine.

The problem isn't the ride site.  

The problem is the mountain pass between home and the ride site.   Here's the Dept of Transportation photo of the pass this morning:

Here's THAT summary:
Restrictions EastBound: Traffic stopped for avalanche control

Conditions: Compact snow, slush and ice on the roadway. Avalanche control work is complete. Westbound traffic has been released and is now moving. Eastbound traffic remains stopped at milepost 47, near Denny Creek, and milepost 56, near Gold Creek, while clean up continues.

Weather:Snowing, hard at time with poor visibility

We aren't giving up.  The sn*w is heavy and wet, which means it's clear-able...we just need to give the DOT some time to do the job, and hope that the weather gives up and goes away. 

We have "delayed launch" for a few hours, perhaps a full day.  Stay tuned, I guess. 

While we're waiting for the weather to settle down, here's a song to sing.  I wrote it in 2005, because the weather in the pass was scary, and I thought we weren't going to be able to get to Home on the Range.  Some things in my life stay steady.

The H-O-T-R   with apologies to the Village People
Ponies, there's no need to feel down.
(I say): Ponies, if there’s mud on the ground.
(I say): Ponies, get yourself out of town
There's no need—to—be--unhappy.

Ponies, there's a place you can go.
(I say):  Ponies, when you’re tired of snow.
You can go there, and I'm sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.

It's fun to play at the H-O-T-R.
There’s lots of hay at the H-O-T-R

They have trails and food for you all to enjoy,
You can hang out and make some noise ...

It's fun to play  at the H-O-T-R
There’s lots of hay at the H-O-T-R

You can drink in the tanks, you can have a good meal,
You can do whatever you feel ...

It's fun to play  at the H-O-T-R
There’s lots of hay at the H-O-T-R

Ponies, I once worried about sn*w.
(I was) Scared to load up and go.
Passes were too scary to drive
I stayed home trying to survive

That's when someone not very big,
(She said):  “Pony, get your butt in the rig!”
It's a place we call the H.O.T. R.
They can get you out on the trails…!
It's fun to play at the H-O-T-R.
There’s lots of hay at the H-O-T-R.

They have trails and food for you all to enjoy,
You can hang out and make some noise ...

It's fun to play  at the H-O-T-R
There’s lots of hay at the H-O-T-R

Monday, March 26, 2012

In which "the greening of Spring" needs to be un-greened with pressure-washing

Everybody gets all excited about "the coming of the Green" on St. Patrick's day.  In the Swampland, we have other words for the varity of green-ity we see in early Spring: 

mold.  mildew.  slime.
Inside the horse trailer: swept clear, but not CLEAN
  I know that Lytha doesn't just wash her horse, tack,  truck, and trailer before and after every event, she actually details them all (not kidding!).  I would love to have gear that clean. 

At Haiku Farm, we don't make the time for all of that. 

The rig gets washed once each year, whether it needs it or not.

After a year in the Swamp, it needs it.
yes, that's MOSS growing on the aluminum bars of the portable corral.
Here's the Swamplanders' Secret Weapon:
Totally non-toxic, and it will get the rig clean.  Awesome stuff.
Jim scored last summer at a garage sale:  a power-washer for uber-cheap.  We use that gadget on everything. 
Spraying the dirt and moss out of the trailer interior.
Well, we haven't used it on the dogs.  And we haven't tried it on the chickens yet. We have threatened to use it on the kids.
Jim does the tall bits.
Look how beautiful the trailer is when it's clean!
Oooh, pretty, shiny.

I figure, if it's functional it doesn't need to be pristine.
 It is nice to clean the trailer up every now an again, though.
Now that the trailer is clean, I can pack it for our upcoming ride!  Home on the Range is scheduled for next Saturday, March 31st.  I can hardly wait.  I keep checking the weather forecast websites, hoping to find a weather prediction that I like. 
All this stuff gets crammed into the tack compartment,
along with (duh) all the tack.

Large bucket for water, mid-size bucket for beetpulp and grain, small bucket for scooping stuff into bigger buckets.  I packed two of each, thinking that we'd be hauling a friend's horse over with Fiddle, but the friend doesn't get to go. (sadness).

The green canvas bag is a crew bag, containing a flake of alfalfa, a small plastic feed pan, and various kinds of beetpulp concoctions for Fiddle to much at the vetchecks.  On ride day, it will also hold a fleece blanket (for the horse OR the rider), some snacks for me, a few syringes of electrolytes, and a spare pair of warm socks!

The white bucket is used to soak beetpulp.  Everything is marked with "pirate tape" so all my gear comes back to my camp after to the ride!

The green rubbermaid box holds  baggies of grain (1-lb servings of complete feed plus a cup of whole oats), and ingredients for electrolyte syringes. 

Biggify the picture if you want to read the super-secret (not) electrolyte recipe
cunningly written in sharpie marker on the electrolyte tub.
I mix up 6 doses of electrolytes at a time, and then dump them into a ketchup or mustard bottle.  Then, when I need a dose, I can squirt it into a syringe without having to mess around with measuring stuff.
Trailer interior, freshly washed.  When it all dries out,
I'll scatter two bales of cedar shavings on the floor to keep everything dry.

Inside the tack compartment, there's a place for everything, and everything in its place.

Even poetry.

All packed up.   Now, we're just counting the days

and checking the weather forecasts.

Meanwhile, look what we found blooming in the yard:


Maybe it really is (almost) Spring around here!