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Monday, November 30 2015

After years of worrying about water up here, I can finally breathe a little easier. This area of Texas normally only gets something around 34 inches of rain. This year we are now over 54 inches and moments ago I just heard the weatherman say that we may as well say that we'll get at least 60 inches of rain this year. Wow.

Let me make this clear - I'm not griping. I'm celebrating!  Our water retention tank for the house is full. Our stock tanks are full. We have enough water to last us into the spring and summer. All three ponds are not only full, they are creeping well out of their banks and the overflow is being whisked away by the creek. Ahhhh the creek.  She is a beautiful yet deadly neighbor.

The main body of this creek meanders through our property giving it its wild beauty. The banks are steep and the bed is dotted with fields of large boulders. Most of the time the creek is dry leaving a highway for wildlife.

It is also an expressway to death for some. We see the tracks where coyotes run piglets into the creek where they cannot scramble up the steep sides before the pack takes them down in the boulders, leaving nothing but footprints and bits of fur.

Multiple dry branches of the main creek also thread like veins through the ranch. They are so numerous that we don't pay them any attention until the rains come, then they are a map leading to the big event. You can hear it before you see it. The water eases along like a freight train, moving much faster than it seems. And like a train, there's a lot of power in that water. We see large trees moved great distances. These trees take out our fences before moving on in the next rain, taking what's left of the fence with them.

 This is the road crossing. It is 4 feet deep now.

There is a rule to living on this ranch. Respect that creek. Power like that can kill you quickly. The bulk of our ranch is actually on the other side of the creek. Most of the deer blinds around here are little shacks, and yes, at least one hunter has had to spend the night in his blind because the creek came up while he was hunting.

That water is nothing to play with, so you can imagine my worry when the rains trapped my beloved horses on the other side. They have access to the entire ranch now, but every morning the horses still show up at the barn for breakfast. It rained all day on Thursday. Friday morning the horses didn't come up. Saturday morning the horses didn't come up. Sunday morning the horses didn't come up.  We knew they'd been trapped on the other side of the creek. This created a dilemma. They have plenty of pasture, and rocky bluffs with thick forest to protect them from the cold wind, and duh, they have plenty of water on that side. They're safe from everything but a cougar dropping out of a tree, and I don't think that's likely. But what if we call them? What if we call them to the barn?

Tiny is a mustang, he has good sense. Musket is thinking man's horse, he's nobody's fool. Joe isn't a big thinker, but he's not brave either. But Montoya, bless his heart, Montoya would try to cross that creek if I called him.

I few weeks ago I saw him cross a pond that came up above his chest because I called him from the other side. This is a bad picture, but see the water line?

I called him, and instead of running around the pond, he came trudging through it to come to me. I was so stunned that I forgot to whip out my camera to photograph it. The water line along his side shows you how high the water was. Montoya forged across that pond because I called him.

Some folks see Montoya as a spoiled, pushy horse who doesn't know his place.

These folks are attracted to horses like Musket, a horse who keeps his distance and would just as soon that you keep yours. That's not Montoya. He may be in your face, but you will never have to chase this horse with a halter. He wants to interact with you.

He wants to do whatever you're doing. You have his undivided attention. He doesn't act this way with total strangers, just friends. And with friends Montoya wants to go through his repertoire of tricks.  (He was a big hit at the neighbor's pool parties. They would call him to the fence to get him to perform.) He wants to bow, back, sidepass, lift each foot, and give kisses. Montoya wants to do Stupid Pet Tricks and show you how smart he is. He wants to learn more Stupid Pet Tricks. He wants you to scratch his butt. He wants you to lean on him, and hug on him, and comb his tail. Montoya is the Barbie Doll of horses. He is the perfect horse for little girls who can't keep their hands off a horse.  Montoya eats up the things that would annoy other horses. (Don't hug and lean all over Tiny. He's polite but he really doesn't like it.) I've had Montoya since he was a weanling, and he trusts me, so if I call this horse, he will try to cross that creek. And it'll kill him.

We know this, so we've made a point of not calling the horses. Sunday we headed out on foot, walking the forest along the creek, hoping for a glimpse of them.

We can't get them back across the creek, but wanted to know they were safe. It took a long while of trudging through wet brush, but eventually I saw just a flash of white. I touched Other Half on the back and we dropped into "sneak" mode. We hid behind trees to stalk up on them.

I could see Joe plainly and there was a flash of white through the trees that had to be Montoya. Joe thought he heard us but wasn't sure, so we continued to hide lest they see us and try to cross.

It took a few minutes but Tiny and Musket came into view. Unlike the white horses, they are perfectly camouflaged in the forest. I took this picture a moment before they came into view. Can you see them?

I couldn't either, and yet, they were there.

We satisfied ourselves that the horses were safe at Moss Bluff. It is the most protected area of the ranch.

If they stay at Moss Bluff they'll be fine. The rain is finally ending, but it'll be days before the creek goes down enough for them to cross. I won't be happy until they show up at the barn again, and the next time the weatherman calls for rain, you can bet their shiney hineys will be locked in the front pasture. We're not going through this again.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 09:11 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
I'm glad you were able to see that they were OK. I would have been worried sick. Hopefully, the stream will settle quickly and things can go back to "normal" again.
Posted by Patty on 11/30/2015 - 05:57 PM
Trust me, Patty, I WAS worried sick. I may be able to romanticize about Tiny's experience as a wild mustang giving him the skills to survive, but I KNOW what experiences Montoya has - diddley squat! He has never encountered wild country like we have here. Unfortunately, he's a leader, so his wrong decisions could kill the others. Fortunately, he's a thinker. So I guess between he and Tiny, the group was able to cross safely when the time was right.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/01/2015 - 07:54 AM

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