Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bunny Boots

On December 21 I posted about my 6th anniversary and how Carhartts and bunny boots were part of my wedding ensemble. These boots are so common here that I took it for granted that everyone would know what I meant. (I know oregonsunshine got a laugh out of it!) So I had my daughter snap a picture of my footwear of choice for Alaska winters.

"U.S. Government cold weather Mickey Mouse boots with valve are made for U.S. government troops in arctic conditions down to -60 degrees. Rubber design keeps the wool insulation dry. White Mickey Mouse boots are great for snowmobiling, ice fishing, or outdoor workers, etc." from the Army Surplus store description

We call them bunny boots. I heard it was because they make your feet look really big like bunny feet. Mickey Mouse works for me too.

I wear Outdoor Research gaiters over my boots because I cannot stand to get my jeans bottoms wet. With the gaiters on I can walk in snow up to my knees and still be comfortable.

When I first moved up here and got into all the outdoor activities I went shopping for boots, gloves, hats and snow pants. Everything I tried on made me look like the Michelin Man. So I bought the Gucci snow resort gear............and froze my butt off. I learned first hand that function trumps pretty any day.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reindeer Facts

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, both male and female reindeer grow antlers. Although adult males grow the largest racks, adult females can have some very impressive antlers making it difficult or impossible to distinguish the sex based on antlers alone. Bulls generally shed their antlers in winter between November and December. Pregnant females will retain their antlers until after they have their calves in late April and May.

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should've known…...

only women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.



Wordless Wednesday

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Favorite Day of The Year

Finally.......after six months of watching the daylight dwindle down to a mere five hours, Monday December 21 at a little bit after 8 am, it's Winter Solstice!! There will be a 9 second gain of daylight. That's not so dramatic but soon the gain will be measured in 5 minutes. In June just before the Summer Solstice, my least favorite day, the sun will set somewhere around 2 am and will rise around 4 am. There will be no dark just dusk. How cool is that?

The biggest advantage to that is that we can begin a ride at 7 pm, ride for at least 4 hours, and be assured that we will be coming home in the daylight. It does take some getting used to though. Anyone remember Northern Exposure? There was a great episode about this.

The other reason that this is a favorite day is that December 21, 2009 will be our 6th wedding anniversary. We had a stealth wedding and didn't tell anyone except the friend who performed the ceremony. My wedding dress was a ratty old Carhartt jacket and I wore bunny boots and fur mittens. We had a blast.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Stuff

I mentioned to a fellow blogger that the reason I had for starting a blog changed soon after I started the blog. But, like so many other bloggers, I found that I enjoyed writing on my blog and reading others. Now I feel as though these blogs are more like "letters from home". I'm old enough to remember when long distance telephone calls were very expensive and most communication was done by letter. When I was in junior high school I had several penpals and my cousin that I wrote to on a weekly basis. This blogging feels very much like that. Thanks to all of you for reading and commenting on my blog.


After almost 4 days of continuous snowfall, the totals in this area went from2.6 inches in south Anchorage to 63.5 inches in Valdez. I am so glad I don't live in Valdez. Here in my barn lot the totals were about average. My 1 ton dually hadn't been moved since just before this last round of snow.

On the hood is a yard stick:

11 and 1/2 inches of snow

Parked just behind the dually is the flatbed hay trailer and the horse trailer is behind that. Neither one of those have been moved or shoveled since it started to snow in November. We haven't had any days above freezing so the snow total is pretty accurate for the whole winter.

Seventeen and a half inches of snow!

I think I might need to get the snow shoveled off the roof of my trailer. I can't wait until we get the big shop finished so that I can store my trailer inside during the winter. Hopefully I can trailer to the indoor arena after the first of the year.

My favorite day of the year is fast approaching. We will have a bonfire to celebrate.

My animals have been so neglected. My daughter feeds morning and night and checks water. I go out with a flashlight to count noses and check the critters before I go to bed. Until last night I think I got a total of 6 hours of sleep from Sunday morning. Because we have several large parking lots that need to be plowed before the stores open, we generally plow from 3 am to 9 am on the commercials then start the residentials. That's at least another 6 to 8 hours depending on how much snow we have. This past week we plowed four times in 5 days. Some of the residentials only got plowed three times. One place got plowed twice in the same day.

The forecast now is for cold temps so hopefully we won't get another storm like this one for a while. We have plowed in this week half as many times as we plowed all of last season. I heard that in Wahington DC the snow was falling at a rate of 1 inch per hour and the plows couldn't keep up with it. I can so sympathize with you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Snow. Snow accumulation 8 to 12 inches. Highs 5 to 15 above. Light winds.

Numerous snow showers. Snow accumulation 1 to 4 inches. Lows 5 below to 5 above. Variable wind 10 mph.

Numerous snow showers. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Highs zero to 10 above. Light winds.

This is on top of the snow that's been falling for the past two days. My sweety is chomping to go snowmachining. All I want to do now is sleep. We've been plowing since Sunday afternoon. I have a church parking lot to do for evening services tonight. Then we'll start all over at 3 am.

Maybe this should be Plowing Log since I'm certainly not getting to ride!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to my sweety!

Today is my sweety's 49th birthday. He is a very non-horsey person and this is one of the few pictures I have of him horseback.

This is where he would rather be.

Or here.

Lilly just finished whelping 10 puppies. He thought she deserved Haagen Das.

Happy Birthday, lovey.
Wait till next year!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tough Day Today

One of my long yearling Suffolk ewes died. Her name was Thirty (because I couldn't think of a name and her ear tag number was 8430) and she would have been 2 years old in January. She's the one in the middle. She came home from the Alaska State Fair in September underweight and unthrifty. I worked extra hard with her as far as feeding away from the rest of the flock and hand feeding grain. She was dewormed, had access to a sheep mineral block and finally was completely separated from the flock and kept in a semi-heated box stall. I called the vet in last week when I couldn't think of anything else I could do by myself and Thirty's face started swelling up.

The swelling was caused by edema and is known as bottle jaw. Sheep get it usually because of a parasite overload. The first thing I noticed was a swollen left ear. I thought it was frostbite but when the vet came out she said hematoma. We pulled fluid and it was just edema. Then the space under Thirty's jaw got bigger: more edema and the diagnosis of bottle jaw. We pulled blood and a fecal and sent it off to the lab in Washington. (Another drawback of living in Alaska - no lab.) Meanwhile Thirty is getting weaker. We thought pneumonia so I started a round of antibiotics and probiotics. She didn't get any better. Last night she was lying flat out so I called the vet who said she would come out this morning to give some steroids to see if we could get some of the fluid off Thirty.

I plowed from 2 am until 5:30 am. Thirty was still alive at 5:30 but when I checked on her at 7 she was gone. The vet came out at nine thinking she was just going to do some injections but our plans changed. So she did the things she had planned and came back about 1:30 pm to do a necropsy. Boy did I learn some interesting things. Briar took pictures. No, I didn't post them but they are on my photobucket if anyone is interested.

Bottom line? Thirty died of congestive heart failure. Why? We don't know. Her lymph glands were swollen, there was bruising on the tissue in her throat and heart, and her heart was abnormally formed. There was a lot of fluid in the heart cavity as well as the abdominal cavity. The rumen was working fine. We found no signs of parasites, a blockage, or a foreign body. The bloodwork hasn't come back yet so we're going to ask for another test to determine Vitamin E and selenium levels.

I have a long list of things to eliminate to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile, I have eight sheep that are fat, happy and hopefully five of them are bred for late February lambs.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

When I went to bed at 2 am it wasn't snowing. When I woke up there was 3 inches of the white stuff. Off to plow again..........