Friday, February 5, 2010

El Nino Day

We experienced one of the mildest Januarys on record in 2010. So far this winter we've had one day of snow that lasted only long enough to snarl the Portland metro area's evening commute. Today, while the east coast is hunkering down under blizzard conditions, we are enjoying a sunny warm day with very strong Spring vibes.

The farrier stopped at the barn to do four of the horses. Phantom was good, per usual, for his trim and reset front shoes. Finn and Pugsley got trims, and our Renaissance Arabian, Bay, was scheduled for four-on-the-floor (shoes all around). Jan took her lesson from Trainer Tracey in the outdoor arena, while Phantom and Pugsley were allowed to free graze following their sessions with the shoer.

I ran an errand on the way home and decided to give Indy a treat so we could both enjoy the day. Memorial Park is our largest (I'm pretty sure) city park and it features a leash-free area for dogs, soccer and baseball fields, access to the Willamette River, as well as picnicking facilities. I was pleased to find the leash-free area occupied by small, albeit feisty, dogs. No labs tackling and rolling the the other dogs. Goofy Indy turned shy on me, but he did eventually run around a little with a min pin. We then completed a circuit of the park before coming home where Indy ran and ran around the house in excitement. Um, wasn't that what the leash-free area was for?

With our thus-far mild winter, the daffodils are half-grown, a neighbor's camellia has blooms, and the roses are sprouting leaves. We may yet get experience a burst of cold weather, but it's hard to believe on a day like this.

El Nino years do have a price. The mountains are low on snow pack, upon which we are highly dependent in the Pacific Northwest. Not only is this a bummer for the upcoming Vancouver Winter Olympics, but we depend on snowmelt to power our hydroelectric dams, supply irrigation and domestic water, and provide summer recreation. In past years, Mother Nature has been known to make up for the deficit in snow with an abundance of spring rain. A full reservoir is a full reservoir.

Meanwhile, as an icy cold front batters the east coast, we'll soak up as much Vitamin D as we can while we splash through the puddles and slip in the mud.

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