It Was a Humdinger!

Spring storms are a pretty standard event in Alberta and this one did not disappoint. At least there was plenty of warning. All of the weather forecasters were in agreement that something was coming and then Environment Canada made it official, issuing winter storm warnings and, in our area, a blizzard warning.

It started snowing early in the day, lightly with a steady breeze from the north. As the day progressed, the wind picked up, the snow got heavier, and by early evening it was a full-on, raging, no-holds-barred, batten-down-the-hatches, run-for-cover spring storm. And when T and Nollind opened up the barn and whistled, that’s exactly what we did … run for cover.

Nevada was first in when the call came, turning his head away from the wind and running for the gate. He used to be the last one to look for those creature comforts, now he’s first in line. I guess that’s age doing the talking.

First in the barn, last in his stall. I think he wanted the aisle.

I’m not really a big fan of being indoors. It helps when the whole herd is in there with me, but I’m just an outdoorsy kind of guy. I like to be able to move around as I please and roll if I feel the need and a ten-by-ten box stall just doesn’t provide that kind of freedom. It beats the tie stall I endure when we spend time camping in Kananaskis Country, but it’s still a box.

Being indoors is far more tolerable with a good neighbour.

However, when I can hear the wind howling past the walls and the snow billows in whenever the door gets opened, and I’m down to only a small percentage of my previously heavy winter coat, I suck it up and appreciate the shelter.

I’m not sure just when the snow stopped, but the wind eased through the night. The storm had passed. Now we just had to wait patiently for the humans to come and let us out. It wasn’t easy to be patient. I wanted to roll so badly I could hardly stand it. Nevada kept telling me to relax and enjoy the warm barn, but the dust from the shavings and hay felt like it was crawling around on my skin.

Good ponies were we.

Finally, the door slid open and the cold morning air blew in bringing T and Nollind with it. After a few good-horsies-for-not-getting-yourselves-into-trouble-overnight, hand-fed snacks, we were out the door and frolicking in the fresh snow.

Post-storm frolic.
More frolicking.

I have the stall #1 so was first out and didn’t get very far before I dropped into the fresh snow … for the first time. I lost count of how many times I lay down and rolled after a half dozen. It. Felt. So. Good.

Aaaaaahhhhhh…..
The post-roll shake is almost as good as the roll.

Our world that was turning to delicious green has been transformed to bright white, but it won’t last long. The spring snow never does. Patches of earth are already starting to show through. Until then, the hay nets are filled, the sun is shining, and I’m in the great and glorious outdoors!

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“I’m Sorry I Can’t Get to the Blog Right Now…”

It was Storm’s turn to write the blog post this week but he says he’s too busy grazing and soaking up the sun before the wintry weather hits us. In our many years of blogging, we dogs almost never missed a Fur-iday. It seems equines are just not as reliable as canines.

He says he’ll get to it over the weekend but I wouldn’t count on it. My bet is he’ll be hunkered down in the shelter or barn and too busy chewing on hay to tell tales.

I’d take it on this week but, as you can see by the banner image at the top, Storm’s not the only one with a full schedule.

Ski Dog!

I’m sure many of you will agree that February was a cold, cold month. At least it sure was on the west side of the continent. Even the low elevation parts of Arizona, the places we normally spend the winter, had cold and snow. And February’s cold extended into March and is just now, finally, looking like it’s going to let us be.

Going for walk on one of the really cold days.

The cold weather did ground us a few times, when the wind-chill was just too nasty. We’d go out for a little while to tend to horses but then come right back to the house instead of heading out for a walk or a snowshoe.

The snowshoe tracks make the snow a little easier to stay on top of.

But, sprinkled very sparingly into the long cold stretch, were a few days that sneaked into the single digit temperatures (still below zero Celsius, of course.) On those days, we went skiing!

I’ve skied with T many times across the prairie. When there’s enough snow to cover the rocks and stubble, it’s her favourite way to get around in winter. Logan used to come too, back when he was better able to manage the deep snow, and T would sometimes attach one of us or other to a strap around her waist so that we’d stay close. Now that was entertaining! I may be a Heeler but I’m not much for heeling.

Our first interaction with oncoming skiers. I’m ready!

Anyway, the skiing this year hasn’t been on the flat of the prairie but out in the foothills of the Rockies. The biggest difference? Man, do they go fast as soon as there’s even a slight downhill section of the trail. I can’t remember the last time I did so much running. Lucky for me, the peeps aren’t in great skiing shape so we didn’t tackle any steep or lengthy trails, but I was still exhausted by the end.

Doing my best to keep up! (Stay until the end for when the cameraman almost falls.)

The first ski day, a couple of weeks ago, was my big test. They told me if I didn’t wander off the trail, bother other skiers, or cause any wipeouts, they’d bring me again. I almost blew it early on, trotted across the trail in front of T when I smelled something in the woods. If we’d been on a flat section it would have been fine but we were on a downhill and she was going pretty fast. It was more of a side-swipe than a dead hit so we both stayed on our feet, and I learned my lesson. Don’t cross in front of the skier. In the end, I passed with flying colours, got a bunch of praise and treats. It was a good day.

It was a good day.

We went out to the Bragg Creek Trails again this past Tuesday. The trail was a little tougher, more work going up for all of us, and I had to really hustle on the downhill section. What makes it possible for me to keep up is that the trails are all very well packed so it’s almost like running on bare earth. In the deep snow I’d be done for.

Ski Day #2 – Working on my gold star!

Again, I stayed on the trail, out of the way, and with the skiers. Another gold-star day! This is a good thing because I hear we’re headed out for a bigger ski trip next week, to the Cypress Hills, and I don’t want to be left behind in the trailer or the truck every day.

I’ll try to report in from the road!

Tuckered out at the end of the trail.