|Dorothy & Buttercup frolicking in the snow|
Like everyone else in New England, we've spent the last few days riding out a blizzard. Our preparation for the potentially mammoth storm began early last week, clearing loose items from paddocks, stocking supplies, readying equipment. And trying to figure out who could be here when. With the bulk of the snow projected for late Friday and into Saturday morning, we knew that some of our staff and most of our volunteers would have to leave early on Friday, and likely would not be able to get here at all for Saturday. Watching the weather reports on just about every station made us even more anxious -what if we couldn't get here through the snow?
On Friday afternoon, we rushed around with last minute preparations. Everyone got extra hay, and the pigs and goats and Norman got extra bedding in their sheds. And we even put out a couple of bowls of dry food for the stray cat that we've been trying to trap for the past few weeks (someone dumped him/her here, unfortunately). With all the animals tucked in, we left for home.
And true to the weather reports, the snow made driving perilous on Saturday morning. Thankfully, Virginia lives close by and was able to come in to make sure everyone had food and water for the day.
By this morning, the sun was out and the digging had begun. Our crackerjack Property team had been at work all weekend, plowing the parking lots and entrance to the paddocks, shoveling the walkways and making sure the heating was working in our buildings. But the heavy work of clearing the gates and paddocks had yet to be done, so before we could even turn out a horse, the staff each grabbed a shovel and headed out to work. And thank goodness for volunteers with snowblowers! Several of our volunteers drove in with their own snowblowers, and set to work clearing paths to the chicken coop and the back paddocks. With snow drifts up to 5 or 6 feet high blocking the main alley to the upper paddocks, we desperately needed paths cut.
But despite the back-breaking work and the cold frigid temperatures, a good part of our day has been happy. As Candace said today, we've gotten very little done, but it's been so good to watch our horses having fun romping in the snow. Granted, they all spent yesterday cooped up in the barn, but it's more than just expending some restless energy. They seem to truly love the snow - rolling, snorting, and kicking their heels up as they dash about the paddocks. It was especially rewarding to watch Dorothy running through the paddock filled with snow, thinking back to her initial arrival at Nevins Farm. Back in July, she was thin and neglected, with overgrown hooves. And now, 6 months later, she is a lively horse enjoying every minute of her day. It's good to see her so happy!
Without a doubt, we have more digging and plowing to do, and we'll certainly do some complaining. But there is nothing better than leaning on your shovel for a few minutes and watching a horse who once had no future frolic in the snow.