Thursday, 8 November 2012

Snow Ghost - My Little Lawnmower!

[This blog details some episodes in our lives while in the Falkland Islands.  Been here since January.  Time is whizzing by, but we should be here for another year, at least.   Spring has sprung: Summer is coming, which means it's marginally warmer.  Babies are being born and grass is growing......Note - no harm came to any animals during the making of this blog!  Penguins will return soon.]

Introducing Snow Ghost  >>>
Day 1, Year Zero.
A number of my friends in the UK quite like horses, so this is for them.  In the Falklands, it's almost the norm to own at least one.  Amateur horse-racing is a big social event, and Stanley has racecourse. Unfortunately,  I'm allergic to them, as I confirmed this week, when I came into close proximity to a couple friendly beasts.

The air is so fresh here, that I have hardly sneezed or sniffled in 10 months - very unlike me.  However, within minutes of meeting my new friends, my nose was running and I sneezed most of the next day.  Now that they've moved out again, I'm back to normal.
Still on the liquids

Anyway, the reason I'm aggravating my nasal passages is because our back garden was getting out of control, and a friend offered to lend us her horses to graze it.  She gets free grazing and we get a tidy garden.

Trying to be helpful while I shift the muck.
There are grass-cutting services in Stanley, and lawn-mowers in the garden centre, but they are both rather expensive solutions.  This arrangement is not only free, but green!   No pollution from petrol engines, and the grazed grass is converted almost immediately into useful manure.  All I had to do was collect it in a bucket.  Simple!
Snow Ghost was born about a month ago, during a short snow storm, and is still finding his feet.  But his Mum, Seran, is looking after him, and eating for two!

Counting the fingers....
Initially, the foal was very wary of strangers, but having seen a TV programme about breathing up horses noses, and whispering to them, I thought I would reassure the little fellow that he was in safe hands.....I also know a song horses like - "Head 'em up, move 'em out, Rawhide...Rollin', rolllin' rollin'...Rawhide!"  It seemed to work.  (see end for more).
Resting after a heavy morning at the office udder.
But most of the day, he simply watched Mum chomping on the grass, and prodded her for his nutrition.  She efficiently converted our garden to milk and manure.

I suddenly remember where his nuzzle usually is....

All was going well for a day or two, and most of the "lawn" had been reduced to a pile of steaming manure in the corner.  I was hoping they would now concentrate on the dandelions, but before they moved on to "dessert", Stanley got hit by a violent thunderstorm, followed by hail.
First thunderstorm and hailstones!
Snow Ghost's owner phoned to check he was OK, as he'd never seen lightning before. I reassured her that he was calm, if a little damp.  But worried that he may be getting frozen stiff, she came over with his coat.  Most horses in the Falklands go through winter without coats, so that their natural coat thickens and protects them.  But little Snow Ghost didn't have much hair or fat to keep him warm. Sniff!
After all the thunder and lightning, we remembered that it was November the 5th, and there was a slight possibility that fireworks might be let off.  This was unlikely as there is a lot of pets and livestock in Stanley.  Many people keep chickens, and most families have a horse or sheep in the garden at the moment.  It's also difficult, if not impossible, to import fireworks now.  (Live ammunition is shipped to the garrison.  No-one wants a rocket going off amongst that.)  But, as a precaution, Snow Ghost and Mum were moved to a quieter paddock at the edge of town.
The problem. Pre-horse.
The garden seems deserted now, but I'm expecting the horses to return to the temporarily vacant house next door.  They have certainly done a good job for us.  But I can't get that song out of my head.......
Before  (right) and after (left) close attention from horses....
Who remembers Clint Eastwood in "Rawhide"?
Keep movin', movin', movin', 
Though they're disapprovin', 
Keep them doggies movin' Rawhide! 
Don't try to understand 'em, 
Just rope and throw and grab 'em, 
Soon we'll be living high and wide. 
Boy my heart's calculatin' 
My true love will be waitin', be waiting at the end of my ride. 

Move 'em on, head 'em up, 
Head 'em up, move 'em out, 
Move 'em on, head 'em out Rawhide! 
Set 'em out, ride 'em in 
Ride 'em in, let 'em out, 
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in Rawhide. 

Rollin', rollin', rollin' 
Rollin', rollin', rollin' 
Rollin', rollin', rollin' 
Rollin', rollin', rollin' 

Yee Hah!



  1. Thank you Peter - I've fallen in love with
    Snow Ghost! Lucky you not having any fireworks
    there. I'm not altogether anti them but why
    do they have to make them so loud these days?
    Nordic walking now back to Bushy Park after
    the rutting season and the Beast of Bushy Park no longer terrifying us! Sue

    1. He is a cutie. Hope he is alright when the guns give the salute on Sunday. Nordic Walking here cancelled this week due to the weather. Inclement, even by Stanley standards....

  2. Thank you Peter, I now can't stop humming THAT tune - Yee Hah! Bx ps lovely photos.

    1. I didn't think you were old enough to remember Rawhide!

      Snow squalls today. Luckily it's Friday and Annie can wear jeans. Otherwise skirt gets a bit tempremental!

  3. Snow Ghost is adorable - and the pic 'frisky' is wonderful.
    Definately need this type of mower in T.D.

  4. He is coming back this evening Peter - just for you

    1. There's plenty of grass next door for him!