|Sorraia stallions in the snow at Ravenseyrie|
Let REAL life seduce you...
Embrace the sensuous touch
of wind and sky. --L. Gerard
Come with me today, won't you? I want to show you some scenes from the past few days here at the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada.
Sunday was turbulent, with a good "snow and blow" - the first robust winter storm we've had so far this season. When those bitter winds howl over the East Bluff, and especially if they are accompanied by heavy snowfall, the "wild" horses of Ravenseyrie seek out the forested areas and woodland copses that provide shelter from the elements.
Depending on which direction the storm is blowing in from determines which sector of the preserve the horses will take refuge in. Since they are limited to just 360 acres and winters are long affairs here on the island we provide mixed grass hay twice daily. The horses know that Kevin and I will be bringing out toboggan loads of "dried summertime" to supplement their daily foraging and they keep watch as they wait for us to cross through the open wind and enter into their more subdued wooded copse. Kevin and I call those treks with the toboggans, "mushing". Kev says, "Today we mush to the north copse!" And with him breaking trail, this old gal can enjoy the labour of it.
Both morning and late day feedings of hay were mushed to this favourite windbreak on that stormy Sunday. Funny thing about the island...often the weather we are having up on the bluff in Gore Bay is different than what the more central and southerly realms like Tehkummah (where we keep our Sorraia mares on the Twinravens range) receive. Mark let me know that they were not being "walloped" by the storm down there at Twinravens as we were. Ain't that something?
|Kevin Droski delivers hay to the wild horses of Ravenseyrie|
|Sorraia stallion, Altamiro|
These next photos are from yesterday morning. Another "snow and blow" had moved in just after the Ravenseyrie bachelors had finished their morning feeding, which we were able to lay out for them nearer the house. Off they went, bent into the wind, heading for the forest and some shelter from the elements. And likely the mares down there in Tehkummah were dining on the large round bales I left for them in their forest shelter, as Mark let me know Twinravens was not spared this time and were getting in on the "snow and blow", too.
|A tight foursome of Sorraias heading for shelter|
|Last to head for the forest are Zeus (a domestic Thoroughbred gelding) and|
young Sorraia stallion, Destemido
Now this morning. It was -24ºC when we went out to feed the bachelors. That's the chilliest we've been so far this winter. But...oh bliss!...no wind.! Not even a puff of a breeze! A pristine morning, and the frosty fellas were waiting near the house. The colours were emerging so engagingly, I decided to hang out with the bachelors and wait for the sun to work some magic.
|Looking north, waiting for the sun to enhance the colours|
|Sunrise at Ravenseyrie|
|Your author, laying in the snow, enjoying the horses and the big sky|
|Altamiro has an interesting drip line of frozen moisture|
|The Lone Spruce waits for the sun's touch, too.|
|Colours are getting stronger|
|Is Altamiro watching the sun's emergence, just as the Spruce and I are?|
|Legado (aka "The Pistol") watches me watching him|
|The sun has to climb above these clouds before it casts is glow on the horses|
|Ravens are flying over...I wish they would come closer!|
|And the glow begins to reach the horses, just a wee bit|
|The slant of winter sunlight...still subtle, but ever magical|
That was all I got out of that first crest of sunlight as more clouds obscured it again. It was time to go to the house and warm my feet by the fire. And wouldn't you know, once I was back inside...the sun broke through the clouds again and gave me the better contrast of light I had been hoping for. Just look at the colours! How spectacular that sky drama would have looked with me aiming my camera lens at a Sorraia while I was laying in the snow. It still looks spectacular from my open door, even so.
|Lake effect clouds over the North Channel|
|Lake effect clouds over the North Channel push deeper over the bluff|
Once down there...I was rewarded with this view off the balcony outside my studio. Now you get to see those lake effect clouds over the North Channel before they push up the bluff. And up on that bluff...wild horses roam. Isn't life wonderful?
|Lake effect clouds over the North Channel, pushing up the East Bluff,|
as freeze up begins in the winter of 2015/16
Gore Bay, Ontario