|Kevin Droski and the young stallion, Capaz (Interessado x Pinoteia)|
It was -24°C at dawn on St. Patrick's Day when Kevin said those three words. That bitter air that dipped the thermometer was the lingering effects of the so-called "Polar Vortex". I don't believe in my 53 years I have experienced such a prolonged deep chill! The ground has been frozen and under snow since late November 2013...in fact for the past three months we haven't been walking on the ground, but on varying layers of "snowpack". Of course, other regions of Canada are accustomed to such arctic temperatures over a period of months...to them we must seem like whining babies...
On Sunday I brought hay to our mares who have been living on a range an hour's drive from Ravenseyrie since last April. It was again very cold up on the East Bluff of Gore Bay when Kevin unplugged the engine block heater so I could drive two days worth of hay to the southwest sector of the island. It was equally cold at Twinravens alongside the Manitou river in Tehkummah...but thankfully just as clear and sunny. How much the sunshine helps this time of year!
This hay delivery to Twinravens is something we do every-other-day, and because I have the gallery to look after, most of these trips are carried out by Kevin. This was not something we anticipated having to do! Not at all, for it comes as a burdensome expense of time and money, and is not the best way of providing winter fodder for wild mares on a limited range. Such a responsibility arose from our unfamiliarity of how winter locks up that particular range making it inaccessible except by snowshoe or snowmobile (we've the former, not the later). And we have no tractor at that location to plough a path to move round hay bales even if we could get a trailer-load delivered. Likewise it caught us off guard how early winter resolutely encapsulated the island and has given no midway reprieve (like a January thaw) for us to continue to deliver (one by one with our pickup truck) the full inventory of hay we had planned would see the mares through until the green kingdom awakens from dormancy. Next year, you can be sure, we will have our inventory of hay in place before winter even thinks of overtaking Twinravens!
Until the the snow recedes and the ground settles we have a routine we fell into that has managed to keep the mares' range supplemented with good fodder. This routine is very similar to how we get hay placed out for the bachelors here at Ravenseyrie...by well-loaded toboggans and human labour. It's work for sure, but it has its pleasures also...and a healthier activity for me than the time I am putting in sitting in front of the computer tapping out this journal entry.
|We park on the road|
|We pull the toboggan up the drive. The entrance to the range is up on the horizon line left of centre...you can see the mares there|
|Sometimes Michelle (the gracious landowner of Twinravens) comes out to chat with me...she's marvellous!|
|Bella's funky feet..."I'm Funky, I've always been Funky"...after Christopher Walken...|
|Sovina's Zorita (Sovina x Tia)|
|Belina a.k.a. Popo|
|Rija (Altamiro x Belina)|
|Rija is almost 4 months old, and eats hay like a big girl now...with her full sister Fada nearby|
|And what a dense and appropriate winter coat this baby has!|
Before I took my leave of the mares, Popo (Belina) came to me softly...pushed her head into my hands for a cranial itch and then presented me with her rump for a goodly massage there...and of course, I obliged, with great satisfaction for both of us!
|Popo (Belina) what a wide dorsal stripe, eh?|
|Not to be outdone...here is baby Rija's bum!|
|Last look before I leave, until next week!|