Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Entering a New Landscape

Sovina's Zorita (Sorraia x Sulphur Mustang) and Interessado (Sorraia x Kiger Mustang)

Oh, April! I thought you'd never get here!

And how grand it is that today is warm and windy and sunny - feeling very much like an early spring day. (Manitoulin Island has not had too many spring-feeling days since Spring's official arrival on the Vernal Equinox back in mid-March.) Walking around and about Ravenseyrie is now is like entering a new landscape and the marvelous sensation of the earth slowly waking up is filled with such optimism. I find myself grinning within and without as I reacquaint myself with features of the landscape that have been hidden under snow for so very long.

I had in mind on Monday (my day off) to hike down the bluff to the beach. Unfortunately, with the temperature right at freezing, the snow pack was wickedly unreliable and I fell through up to my thigh about every sixth step. It's quite something that the upper grasslands are so nearly free of snow, but the woodland realm is still deeply blanketed. (I should have thought to sling my snowshoes over my back, just in case...but, I didn't think the snow would still be so deep!) Anyhow, before the pups and I aborted such a difficult hike, I took a few photos.

Deep snow still covers the trail leading down the bluff to the shore line at Ravenseyrie

At the bottom of the first hill going down the bluff a seasonal pond has formed on the left

We'll save that hike to the beach when the snow is nearly gone and its not so laborious to walk through it. The pups and I investigated instead various trails up top and eventually wound our way back near the area where Kevin and I had hauled hay to the herd in a wind break on the southwest sector of the property. Knowing that we were about an hour away from afternoon feed time and that the herd would likely be working their way back to the house to wait for their human servants to bring out more hay, I found a fallen log to repose upon and waited with my camera at the ready for the horses to cross the landscape. The dogs dispersed here and there among the Red Osier Dogwood, digging through the snow in hopes of discovering mice nesting below.
Tobacco decided he'd take a sun break and came over to sit nearby and watch the world go by.

This photo of Tobacco has so much expressiveness in it, despite how little of him we can see. I go all soft inside when he sits like this, with one ear up and one ear down. Methinks I'd like to do a painting of him in this pose in this light...

The first herd member to begin the journey across the field to get back to the house was Doll. Being a wary and vigilant mule, she seemed to sense that she was being watched. She scanned over the area and then she spotted me sitting on my log. She must have watched me watching her for about eight minutes before moving on.

Doll (draft mule mare)

Next to pass by, without so much as a glance in my direction, were Mistral and Zeus. The sun was falling on them so nicely I had to take a close up shot as well.

Mistral and Zeus (domestic bred geldings)

Soon, more of the herd slowly made their way across my field of vision as they headed back to the house to wait for afternoon hay.

Belina (Spanish Mustang x BLM Appaloosa mustang pony)

Bella (purebred Spanish Mustang)

Animado, Interessado and Fada, three half-Sorraia yearlings traveling together

Interessado and Fada (who notices me sitting in the brush on a fallen log)

Along comes Altamiro, and being a herd stallion, he's very suspicious about what I'm up to sitting there on my log with a camera pressed to my face.

Altamiro (purebred Sorraia stallion)

Altamiro and Zorita pause, watching Ganja hunt for mice

I did take photos of the rest of the herd as they walked back to the house, but the images didn't turn out as clear as they should have, why that is I don't know--but they weren't worth saving and sharing.

The pups and I gathered ourselves up and followed the herd back to the house. I paused by Kevin's market garden, which is now fully free of snow. I looked to see if any garlic was peeking up through the mulch yet. (Not yet.) Our good garlic-loving friend, Ken, in Michigan, wrote the other day saying his garlic is up! I wonder if Jean's garlic is up in Quebec yet? According to our note on last year's calendar, the Ravenseyrie garlic pushed through the mulch on April 17th. The seasonal birds have been coming back a week early this year, so I'm going to wager that our garlic will be up on the tenth this year.

Last night the temperature stayed above freezing and we had heavy rains falling until this morning, altering the landscape even more. Of course, yours truly had to document these changes with her camera--and of course, there are horses in the photos!

Animado (Sorraia x Spanish Mustang) with his sire, Altamiro

Interessado (Sorraia x Kiger Mustang) and his dam, Ciente

Belina (Spanish Mustang x BLM Appaloosa mustang pony)

I've mentioned it a time or two, but have yet to deliver (probably because I'm rather ignorant on the subject) but tomorrow, I promise to write a journal entry discussing the results of the color testing the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis did on Altamiro and his offspring. In the meantime, I hope you've enjoyed seeing in pictures some of the early spring changes in the Ravenseyrie landscape.


Annemiek said...

Hi Lynne,

Wonderful isn’t it that sense of expectation when spring is on its way but not quite there yet? There is still so much snow, but it feels like nature is just waiting for the right moment to burst into life again. Last week was a wonderful Spring week here in the Netherlands we had sun all day and temperatures around 60 F. It’s truly amazing to see the early flowers thrive in this short period of time. One day all you see is a tiny piece of color hiding behind young leaves, and the next day a flower is happy bathing in the sun. I’ll bet you’ll be seeing some early flowers soon. Until that time there is so much color already, even after this rain the landscape at Ravenseyrie looks beautiful to me, wild and mysterious at the same time.

I love the photo’s of the young ones. They look so healthy even after this winter season. I love the different colors they wear. Belina seems to have a big belly, what does your calendar say?

Lynne Gerard said...

Annemiek, It's always so nice to have you visit Ravenseyrie all the way from the Netherlands. (I love this about the internet!)

We had a covering of snow again this morning, but the afternoon sun is slowly melting it. And the horses are beginning to finally shed, so things are becoming more spring-like over all.

You asked: "Belina seems to have a big belly, what does your calendar say?"

After delivering Fada last year, Belina had her foal heat on June the first and was swiftly covered by her ardent paramour, Altamiro and hasn't come into heat since, telling us that she was settled again right away. If everything is in order, Belina will likely have her next foal in early May.