The ponies have been growing their winter coats for several weeks now, and I’ve been mildly concerned about the sort of winter the vigorous growth of those coats portends. We haven’t had a frost yet, and the aspen have just begun to turn, a few weeks late. I feel like we’ve been living on borrowed time. Saturday dawned yet another unusually hot day, but then moisture moved in, and we’ve been really wet ever since, with the high temperature dipping more than ten degrees. We’ve taken a sharp turn towards fall.
A new neighbor complained to me last night about the rain we’re having. Yes, it has been torrential, and the mud is more like spring than fall. I was tempted, though, to remind her what the alternatives could be. It’s not uncommon for us to have our first snow the last week of August, and we passed that milestone without even being close. If this moisture came with colder weather, I can guarantee there’d be more complaints about the weather than this moist stretch is generating. And this neighbor is new enough that she wasn’t here earlier in the summer when we had days on end of very hot dry weather and high fire danger. The moisture doesn’t seem as unwelcome when I remember worrying every time lightning threatened to start a wildfire.
With the cool, moist weather, the ponies have grown more demanding about their feed buckets and hay. These monsoonal storms have often been accompanied by lots of thunder and lightning and wind, and when I’ve appeared at pasture on the face of a storm front, I’ve had to be mindful of high spirits.
The aspen have begun to turn finally, without the frost that usually triggers the change. This is by far the warmest and wettest fall I’ve experienced here, and I’m uncertain what to expect of winter. For now I’ll don my mud boots, tarp the haystacks, and light a fire in the woodstove to dry out my rain coat. I’ll make friends with my long underwear top and wool socks and start making a mental list of what must be done before snow covers the ground. I only hope this sharp turn towards fall doesn’t mean an early arrival of winter.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2013