Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weekend Update

The fire on the mountain is now 40% contained and I no longer see flames, just smoke. While the fire raged out of control, I rationalized that the BNSF railroad would never let the fire jump its tracks, which run 7 miles north of my ranch and 7 miles south of the fire. It's a primary east-west freight corridor, and a train moves through that area every 15 minutes. Surely my ranch would never be in harm's way from a fire on the mountain...yeah, right. Bottom line is if a fire ever started moving in this direction, I'd be s.o.l. as the only fire protection out here is my garden hose. And that's why I pay a fortune for homeowner's insurance.

So using a wood stove to heat the house might seem like an unnecessary risk, but so be it. The raging fire in my living room is safely confined in cast iron, and the radiant heat feels better than forced hot air out of a noisy furnace. The downside? Unloading and stacking the cord of wood I picked up yesterday. But that's just another line item in the normal list of ranch chores, and I really don't mind. It's good exercise and something to do outside when it's too cold to ride.

It's been too cold to ride or do much else outdoors for four days now, and I suspect that is why George seems p.o.'d. I was busy cooking, then gone to the neighbor's for most of Thanksgiving day, and since then, George has not been his usual affectionate self. He doesn't follow me around and walks off when I want to hang out with him. So today's priority after the wood is stacked is to spend some serious time with the burros. The sun is out and the temperature should climb above 40 if I'm lucky.

Neither the burros, nor the horses, seem to appreciate the sacrifices I make for them. By moving the horses' water tank into the barn this year, I had hoped it would not freeze over. Wrong. On Friday, I rearranged equine accommodations yet again so that the burros and horses would share a heated water tank. That, of course, involved digging a trench, running conduit, and dealing with water and subfreezing temperatures. They might not appreciate my efforts, but I sleep better knowing their water supply is not frozen. And I try not to walk past the electric meter and watch the dial spinning out of control as the 1500-watt stock tank heater does its thing.

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