(post by  Jason) It seems like once every winter the universe converges in such a way as to make sure that chores are going to be absolutely miserable and Monday was our turn for 2013.

On Friday of last week Carter caught a stomach bug of some sort. Aside from some diarrhea, his illness was pretty mild and in 24 hours he was pretty much back to being himself. Unfortunately whatever Carter had was extremely contagious. I came down with it early on Saturday morning and I can assure you that I felt exactly like death warmed over for most of Saturday and much of yesterday. It took 36 hours until I thought there was some chance of being able to keep any food down. Melissa laughed at me until Saturday night when she started feeling ill herself. She got really sick….way more sick than Carter’s light sickness or my moderate illness. She spent all of Saturday night and most of Sunday in the bathroom. 
After an illness of that sort you really want to step gingerly into Monday morning. When I worked for someone else I probably would have called in sick, and judging by how I felt Monday morning I would have been justified in doing so. Melissa frankly needed to spend another entire day in the bed. What we did instead was feed and put blankets on all the horses on the farm, stopping periodically to lean on the fence and retch our way through some dry heaves for a few minutes. I fed and Melissa blanketed. She had the harder job by at least a factor of five. It is easy to underestimate how hard of a job it is to blanket horses in a pasture. You have to find the correct blankets for each pasture, drag them to the pasture by the armful, then hope the horses are feeling cooperative (knowing of course that there are certain horses in each group guaranteed to be runners).

As we worked our way through this it started freezing rain and the temperature dropped from 40 to 31 degrees accompanied by a gusty northwest wind. This was hard to take after several days of 70 degree weather, and even harder to take in our sickly condition.  By the time we got through I don’t think either of us could have been colder, more sick or more miserable. But the horses were happy and warm, smiling and even playing in the miserable weather.  In the end, that’s what counts. We all take care of our kids when we get sick and when you run a retirement farm you take care of the horses when you are sick.  (Melissa here – I wish putting a waterproof coat on me instantly made me immune to the weather and perfectly content to be out in it. I envy the horses a lot in that regard).

Jason showing Mina something on his smart phone; were we really healthy and walking around in t-shirts a few days ago?!
Sky and Griselle

 Moe, Homer and Leo
Merlin (Fabrizzio hiding behind him), Walden and Noble
Gus, Lotus and Asterik on the run
All grey horses come with a gene that programs them to get dirty, but I have decided Bergie wins the grey horse constant. He is always dirty!!
Rocky, Tiny and Johnny
Hemi and Apollo hanging out
MyLight and Calimba having some quiet time
Silky having a snack
Gus, Faune, Winston and Titan