Sunday, April 10, 2016

the week past

The first thing I do when I step outside in the morning:
open the Poultry Palace, greet the flock, and give them a bowl of clean water. Nearly every day this past week, including today, that has meant first thawing the ice from their water bowl so I can clean and refill it. Winter is certainly tarrying this year.

The snowfall lasted a few days, gradually melting.

From way across the paddock,
Fern and Tansy saw me give Betula a peanut.
They came a-running! Ears flying!

When the snow was almost gone, we had hail.
Twice in one day.
But between the hail showers, there was a bit of blue sky:

I've been making an effort to get out in the woods with Piper on as many days as possible. With the cashmere combing on top of regular chores, most of my "upright and active" time is spent in the barn and paddocks every day. The rest of the time I am, to be honest, quite tired, but I feel it's important that Piper has an interesting life. I don't want her to have to snooze her days away on what she now believes is Piper's Couch Exclusively. (Seriously. You should see her face if I sit down at one end. Imagine having someone reeking of pot sit down next to you on public transportation when you are on your way to a business meeting. The look on your face? That's the look on Piper's face. A bit pained. A bit uneasy. "This is so Not Right.")

Anyway, once I rouse Piper from her couch and jingle the car keys, she is rarin' to go. We usually visit our favorite walking area and trails, and if you've been following my blog for a while (thank you) you may recognize certain trees and stones and views. Of course, there is also a lot of this sort of image:

So much happens at ground level in the woods.

This woodland is about two miles from home. Time was when we would have walked there, then "gone for a walk," then walked home. Haven't done that in a long time. Piper would probably be up for it, but I have to be realistic and would rather reserve my limited energy for the woods.

We usually walk on trails; at least I do. If there is no one else around, I let Piper run and she makes big loops through the woods, up hill and down, then catches up with me. Or backtracks to me. I call her to me now and then, to keep her mind on "our" walk. If I have to call her twice and she hasn't come, I go get her and quietly put her back on lead, then immediately give her a simple command - like "Sit" or "Down" - so that I can praise her for something right away. I don't ever want the lead to seem like a punishment.

This was quite a long walk, though a bit cold and gloomy,
and Piper was off-lead for nearly all of it.

Yesterday we took another long walk, and we both went off-trail. This area consists of many slopes, with a series of small wetlands and connecting drainages.

I felt suddenly transported back to the wooded area I spent hours in as a child. The inland version of tidal pools. Magical.

 Yesterday was an ideal opportunity for exploring little streams and seeps, because the Rubus hasn't leafed out yet with its millions of grabby new thorns, and the biting bugs aren't yet active. I estimate that this glorious state of affairs will last about another five minutes, so no time to waste!

All those vertical stalks are Rubus.
In a very short time, it will be a waist-high mass of thorns.
Even if I wanted to walk through it, I couldn't take Piper there.

It's sunny today, and I'm hoping to head out again this afternoon, for at least a short walk. I may bring a snack, just in case.
Yesterday Piper and I were in full agreement about the lack of planning on my part that meant we had water but no food.

More snow is predicted this coming week.
Here, quick: let's look at something green:

I hope you've had a good week!