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Copyright 2011 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

October 2011 Issue  

 

 

     Once again, I can’t believe that the summer has slipped past and we’re well on our way into fall. It’s equinox as I write this column. As I was driving home yesterday evening, I noticed that the day’s last golden sunlight on the canyon walls was shining on the south-facing slopes, evidence of the sun’s southward path. And it had set just a little after seven. We remarked at eight-thirty that it was dark. Oh, darn!

     I always go kicking and screaming into winter, resenting the shortening days and, at the same time, cognizant that there’s nothing I can do about it.

     A couple of years ago, I heard a report on the radio about a study of people who lived at the Arctic Circle which tracked their seasonal depression. It turned out that their depression was worse as winter approached than it was in the depth of that cold, dark season. Ha!! That’s exactly the way I feel! It’s never really as bad in December as I think it’s going to be. Warning: Don’t try to apply logic to this musing.

 

     Other signs of fall are that the irrigation ditch will be turned off in a week or so, and I’d better be draining the lines and pump before the first deep freeze. The horses are well haired up and it surprises me that they seem almost fluffy. Yes, I saw the hair coming on a month ago, but I wasn’t ready to accept it!

      I won’t be sorry to see the grasshoppers go. They are moving more slowly, but they have much harder shells and are not easy to eliminate. Rick has a special technique where he extends a thumb and forefinger on either side of a grasshopper head, so it kinda “mesmerizes” the creature, and then he pinches the head. He’s very successful at catching them with this method.

      A news release from Montana State U says that “grasshopper populations increased dramatically in Montana from 2007 to 2010, from one million acres with more than 15 grasshoppers per square yard in 2007, to 17 million acres with more than 15 grasshoppers per square yard in 2010.” I don’t know who is doing the counting, but I’m picturing grad students!

     A couple of light frosts have already done in the herbs and cucumbers and the colder nights will soon chill and kill all of the plants in the vegetable garden (except, of course, for the chive!!). Every year, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to dear friends—friends who have produced so much food and filled out the garden with their lovely greenery. Sounds overly sentimental, doesn’t it? It’s that non-logic thing again.

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     The water bucket in the barn claimed another life last night. I found an adventuresome and thirsty mouse in the bottom. I keep the bucket full in the non-freezing months for the cats who spend hours hunting in the barn, and for the occasional dog to get a drink. When old Puffy, the barn cat, was alive, I would keep a heated water dish there in the winter.

     Which reminds me of another chore! Get the heaters into the stock tanks before the night it goes down to 18º.

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     Keep in mind that our annual “Kids & Horses” photo album is coming up in our December issue. We love to see kids actually riding horses— whether they’re competing, trail riding, herding cattle or just goofing off. If you have photos of kids riding their horses, please email them to us by November 5. Include the names and ages of the kids and their horses. The email address is: photos@rockymountainrider.com.

   

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Copyright 2011 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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