March 2006 Report
Posting of the March report was delayed because on March 31st a fire broke out to the east of the Conservation area and Preserve. By the end of the day the flames had jumped the east border road. The tractor starter failed, we could only sit and wait to see where the fire would come first on the road we had cut last spring.

We were lucky. While we've been unable to maintain the road it was still bare enough that our two security/maintenance men were able to push the fires back where they tried to jump the road. This was an arduous task, involving a half mile hike to the fire fronts, then patrolling up and down the two mile road to stop the outbreaks. By Monday the wind had begun to haul towards the west, making the fighting easier and turning the fire back on itself. As of Tuesday, April 4, several fires are still burning, the Preserve is still intact, much of the Conservation area is burned.

During the preceding weeks of March the horses remained calm, dignified and well fed, but activities swirled all around them.

Until the starter failed the tractor was functioning and some work was done with it.We've slowly begun to work on our two horse trailer so that it can be turned into a mobile clinic.

Good friends from Canada visited the Preserve and showed us how to build excellent fences that don't need any post holes.

At last the Preserve has a functioning gas stove and a small gas refrigerator. The composting toilet was dismantled, repaired (we hope) and put back into use. A ceramic filter and gravity feed system was installed so there is now good clean water for drinking and cooking from the well on the Preserve.

We are actually looking forward to getting the health checks done in April or May.

On a lighthearted note: two weeks ago I decided to eat my lunch while among the horses. Having had dinner with friends, I was given a large portion of home cooked Peas and Rice (a delicious staple here) for the next day's lunch. As I sat on the ground munching, Alnitak (the younger roan mare) started approaching me. Normally rather shy, this was interesting in itself. She came to within a few feet of me and I had the distinct impression that she wanted that rice. What else could she be smelling? I discouraged her gently. She moved away but then slowly worked her way near on my other side. Once again I discouraged her. I had dropped a few grains on the ground. I got up and slowly moved away. She marched right to where I had been sitting, right to the grains in fact and started lipping at the earth and pawing with a fore hoof. She wanted Peas and Rice. No doubt about it. A friend reminded me that while still on the farm I often saw the horses raiding trash cans. Apparently Alnitak discovered Peas and Rice, and after not having had any for two years wanted some of her favorite snack food.

No, we are not going to indulge her unless some day she needs to have some medication slipped down. Now that we know her secret, it will be easy.


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