Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

What a day...

So today...   About that...  Frig.

Alright so the plan...  Plans are always good right?  It's Thursday, Thursdays are usually pretty easy in my world.  So knowing Thursdays are easy, I scheduled a lesson for Sasha at 1.  The plan was to come in a little early - 7:30 or 8ish, feed and turnout, and be done stalls by noon.  Then I could go to puppy class, be back around 3, feed, bring in, ride, and still have enough time to eat before I start teaching.  No problem.  There was even an extra "just in case" hour in there to play with.  Sweet.

Now let's revist that plan in the company of the nasty bastard Murphy.

Planning to be at the barn between 7:30 and 8, I set my alarm for 6.  Great!  Except I somehow turned it off without waking up *sigh*.  Woke up at 8:20.  Frig.  Not the best start as it meant I'd get to the barn 9:15 at the earliest.  But hey, I had that extra hour in, it can still work.

Did anybody notice the temperature out there today?   Did you happen to contrast it to yesterday?  Remember yesterday?  It was like 15deg out.  My horses were *dressed* for 15 degrees out.   Today it was -15 (with windchill - which is what they feel and so need to be dressed for).  So I had about 15 horses to undress and redress for the weather.  A couple didn't need to be changed (thanks Katrina!) but the vast majority did.  Ok so that ate up another...  what 45 minutes maybe?  No problem, can still be salvaged - I'll just have to do stalls fast.  By this point I'd entirely forgotten about puppy class, now just thinking about getting the day's responsibilities met.

So I get everybody turned out on the big side of the property, take two out to the other side and notice something nqr...  Nick and Louis' paddock has several trees fallen down in it.  Ummmm there shouldn't be trees in that paddock...  So while Murphy stands smirking on the sidelines, I go over and look -- oh good, no fence left.  2 sections of fence boards - all three rails - are gone and the electric is buried under the trees.  Ugh.

Ok turn the rest of them out.  Deem that Nick and Louis, being sainted beginner horses who happen to have a new round bale in their paddock, can go out and munch while I repair their fence.  Turn off the electric, grab a hammer and wire cutters and go out to evaluate.

And rapidly discover the game is made *way* more entertaining by the fact that this particular section is entirely under water.  *sigh*  Not. Fun.  Also realize I'm not going to be able to move the trees on my own.  So Dad brings the tractor over and basically asks what I expect to happen here...   Well, just put the fork under the trees, lift up, and move them.  He seemed pretty sure it wouldn't work, but sometimes it just *has* to.  Because really, this problem needed to be solved.

So he gamely gave it a try and got the fork under the trees and got them lifted up and "so now what?"  -- From where I was standing it looked like if he drove forward, the trees would rotate around the end that's on the ground -- we just needed them past the fence line.  So he starts that and it's working and the world is good and then...   One branch or vine or whatever is tying the downed trees to the still standing tree in such a way that if the tractor keeps going it's going to pull down more fence.  Frig.   I wade through the water and realize it's not the sturdiest branch around.

Head back into the barn to get my tree trimmers (those things are pretty impressive :) -- and while I'm there happen to realize how late it's getting and the fact that we haven't even started rebuilding the fence yet, much less stalls or anything else...  And after a brief debate, decided it was time to call for backup.  Ran through my list of the wonderful people I can call on when I'm desperate, thinking through who was likely to be where (class, work, etc) and might be available on Thurs afternoon with no notice and the only one I thought might be able to come was Steph.  Who works for me on Wed and Fri so I'm quite certain the last thing she'd want to do on Thurs is stalls *sigh*  But I was getting a little panicky by this point so I texted her what was up and she pretty instantly responded she'd be there in about an hour -- which means basically she left about as soon as she got the message. I don't think I can explain how much it means to me that she would do that.  And knowing that I have a few other students who would be equally willing to rearrange life to help out when things go crazy.  This is a *hard* job.  I love it, but it's seriously intense.  And having a support system like that makes all the difference in the world.  So HUGE thanks to Stephy for rescuing me today -- and to all the other girls who do the same on other random days - Brena with night check last weekend, Rebecca and Amy in the past, Kirby occasionally...   It may not always seem like much, but to me it's a world of difference.  You have no idea how much it means to me that you're willing to do that.

Alright so with the cavalry to the rescue, I headed back out to the fenceline, armed.  Mercilessly chopped the restricting vine which freed the tractor to ditch the trees.  Ok so now the trees are out of the way, but the fence is basically demolished and the boards are buried under partially-frozen water.  One I was using as a bridge of sorts so I didn't get to soaked so I left it in place and fished out one of the others (which btw pretty thoroughly proved that my new gloves are, in-fact, waterproof).  The fence board, amazingly, was in one piece.  Sweet.

Go park tractor and find fence-fixing materials.  With Dad's help we got the fence all repaired -- thankfully all the boards were salvageable.  But frozen (ice water, remember?) -- making hammering nails into them all sorts of no-fun at all.   Booo.  HUGE thanks to my Dad for managing that -- hammering is not my forte *sigh*   It would've taken me forever and a whole lot of foul language to get that done alone.  Eventually though, the fence was good to go again and the ponies safe.  By this point I remembered Sash was supposed to go to school and as we went back in to thaw before tackling anything else (yeah hot chocolate!) I checked the time...  hmmm have to leave in 15 mins.   So much for having the barn done before going to class.

Steph got there right about then so she and my dad started to tackle stalls (have I mentioned lately how awesome they are?) while I took Sash to agility class (story for another day :)).   On the way back I stopped off and picked up lunch and goodies (*always* feed volunteers!) so I ended up back at the farm around 3.  My dad by that point had, understandably, had enough (some retirement eh?) - yet even still he did some more tractoring before he took off.  Steph and I ate and then finished off chores.  I think we started bringing in shortly after 4.  Got a little lucky in that some of the boarders were already up and had brought their own horses in (yeah understanding and self-reliant boarders!  Usually the barn is done, clean, and horses in and fed by then -- but not one comment or even off look at how late I was...  They just got their ponies and did what they'd come to do; several even bringing in a second pony to save us a trip!).

So in the end we were done everything a little before 5.  Not too bad for starting at about 1 and me disappearing for like 2h in the middle!  Had enough time to ride, but - I'll admit it - I wimped out.  Cold and exhausted I just didn't have dealing with a temperamental four year old in me.  I let her run around the indoor for a bit to burn off some steam (I would like to live through tomorrow's ride).  But that's about it.  Ah well, everybody has those days once in a while eh?

Anyways - in the end lessons went well, I had a blast teaching and some lightbulbs went on -- which totally made the horrendousness of the day worthwhile.  And then Katlyn and Brena were a huge help getting night chores done, so I even got to leave at a reasonable hour.  A long and insane day, but one that ended on a happy note.  Thanks all!


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