Dunrovin was treated to visits from a couple of birds that are rarely seen in these parts. For the first time ever, a common grackle made it appearance, while a merlin falcon was seen for only the second time in eight years. The ranch crew spent much of the week preparing for winter, which means receiving, stacking, and safeguarding 60 tons of hay for the animals.
Two Rare Avian Visitors
by SuzAnne Miller
A Couple of Rare Avian Visitors
The ospreys' nest web cam recorded two special visitations this past week. Many thanks to our volunteer webcam operators for catching these gems! A Common Grackle visited and was here long enough for some terrific close-ups. This is the first sighting of a grackle at Dunrovin. They are generally in Montana only during the breeding season and almost exclusively east of the continental divide.
Later that day, a Merlin Falcon briefly landed on the nest. This is the second sighting of a merlin at Dunrovin--- a rare visitor.
Dunrovin Prepares for Winter - It’s all About Hay
Many of you have noticed and questioned the fact that Dunrovin Ranch does not provide its herd of horses with shelter during the winter. Indeed, Montana winters can be brutal with long spells of subzero temperatures and high winds. Dunrovin’s method is to keep the horses warm from the inside out by feeding them unlimited hay. Take a look at these photos of some of our horses during previous winter storms. You will see that the snow piles up on their backs and icicles hang from their sides. This means that there is little heat escaping from their bodies to melt the snow. Their body heat, fueled by lots of high fiber food, keeps their engines running and their fur coats thick.
With so many equine mouths to feed and with such uncertainty about what kind of temperatures we might have to endure during Montana’s long winter, Dunrovin generally lays in about 60 tons of hay each fall. This past week the entire Dunrovin crew was involved in getting all of that hay delivered, stacked, and protected. Thanks to James, Ashley, Ryen, and our hay supplier Sean for gettin’ ‘er done!
In this short video, you’ll see Ashley and Ryen rearranging the barn hay to make room for more. Great work, ladies.
In this time-lapse video, we condense a full day’s work into a few minutes. Please notice what a critical piece of equipment the “hay elevator” proves to be!
Oggy Reluctantly Continues His Training
Like many human teen-agers, Oggy is not all that thrilled about attending classes. He tries all kinds of tricks, from passive aggressively ignoring Ashley’s instructions to outright defiance at her commands. However, Brandon and Ashley are forming a very effective training team and are on to Oggy’s evasion tactics. Ashley is quickly perfecting her timing which is critical in horse training and she is attentive to details, noticing Oggy’s tender footedness after his recent hoof trimming. Brandon is an encouraging instructor with such clear explanations that the two of them are making real progress in overcoming Oggy’s attitude. Ashley will soon begin training sessions on her own between her coached sessions with Brandon.
Visiting Brandon’s Hashknife Ranch and Enterprises
Brandon continues to take us by the hand for tours of his ranch to help us understand the intricacies and complications of ranching in Montana. This week he walked us around the maze of steel corrals, chutes, and holding pens that he built to minimize the hands-on work of sorting, managing, loading, and providing healthcare to his herd of cattle. Having a well-organized and flexible arrangement of fences and gates to guide the animals to where you want them saves an enormous amount of time and labor.
Fanciful Flagpoles - Colors Blowing in the Wind by the River
Dunrovin’s Paula and Ashley worked together to create a transition tree showing the transition of the yellows, reds, and oranges of fall into the icy blues, grays, and whites of winter. Indeed, we have been having fun all this week, watching their transition tree blowing in the wind along the shores of the Bitterroot River.
YOU Asked for It - DIVA Parkour
YES! Mackenzie received input from all of you regarding new goals for his Clicking with the DIVAS training session. Naturally all of you migrated like bees to honey to select what is sure to be the most hilarious and challenging of the options Mackenzie presented: Donkey Parkour. While there are hundreds of great videos of human and dog parkour, Google’s answer to my donkey parkour search yielded a video game and our own [email protected] blog, Clicking with Mackenzie!
On this Sunday’s episode of Clicking with the DIVAS, Mackenzie and Michal will keep moving forward with Donkey Parkour! They will expand on their stays, release cues, and creative ways of moving about the barnyard! And, if the dashing DIVAS are amenable, they will start working on the foundations for bowing and rolling over!
The Monday Socials Schedule for November 9, 2020
7:00AM Sunrise Tour with James Wasem
8:00AM Feeding the Herd and Ranch Chores with Ashley and Ryen
10:00AM Sorting Pen Tour and Training Oggy with Ashley
12:00PM Finding Freddie with James and a [email protected] Volunteer Cam Operator
1:00PM The Pink Flamingo Arrives
2:00PM Fanciful Flagpoles
3:00PM Ranch Talk
4:00PM Feeding the Herd with Ashley and Ryen
The schedule for other activities throughout the rest of the week can be found on the [email protected] website calendar.
Stay safe and warm! As autumn continues to give way to winter, please join us for fun at the Dunrovin regardless of the winter weather.
See you at the ranch!
SuzAnne, James, Paula, Ashley, Ryen, and the rest of the crew.