Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy February!

Tomorrow, in the United States and Canada, it’s Groundhog Day. In weather lore, if a groundhog, also known as a woodchuck, marmot or ground squirrel, emerges from its burrow on this day and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If the groundhog sees its shadow, it will return into its burrow, and the winter will continue for six more weeks. Well, it’s cloudy today in Minnesota, but regardless of what the furry rodent sees or doesn’t see, there will be another six weeks of winter here! Maybe even another 10!

The weather in January was really deep freeze cold with actual temperatures at 10 and 20 below zero and with wind chills that dipped and stayed at -30. The corn stove did the best it could, but there were days it was just miserable and even being indoors was best spent bundled in layers, which sometimes included ski pants, gloves and winter hat. Today, we are at 10 degrees Fahrenheit and with no wind it feels quite nice when doing chores outside.

Ian fixed three burst pipes in the crawlspace area of the basement. These old copper pipes were not insulated and of course the basement itself is not heated. Ian replaced the lengths of pipe with a plastic pipe product called Pex. He’s also placed an electric space heater facing into the crawlspace and this has done the trick to keep our water from freezing. Ian also built a hutch around the water pump in the basement because its switches, which are mounted on an outside, un-insulated wall, kept freezing open and stopping the flow of water into the tank, which meant we didn’t have water then either – in the house or the barn. This hutch is also warmed with a small heater, and we have had no problems in recent days. I can’t imagine what a plumber’s bill would have been!

For the last two full weeks in January, I worked at the post office for
Helen while she was in Mexico on vacation. It was fun and I learned a
lot. Now I am back to my usual Saturday and Monday morning shift. I am called in once in a while when Helen has an appointment or just wants a day off. She’s been working with the postal service for decades – four, I think – so she’s got plenty of vacation time she can use.

The horses we have here at the farm did very well during the cold
weather. They are quite fuzzy and well nourished. They have places to
get in out of the wind and they have access to 800 pound round bales of
hay and warmed 100-gallon tanks of water. With their shelter, food and
water needs being met, they’re quite hearty creatures.

Our stallion Legacys Renoir is in the southwestern United States in Scottsdale, Arizona acclimatizing to the warmer, drier weather that he will show in on the 15 and 23 of this month. Ian will show Renoir on the 15th in an amateur-owner-to-handle class (AOTH) and one week later our trainer Jerry Schall will show Renoir in the senior stallions open class. Ian, Lady and I are leaving for Scottsdale on Saturday, February 9. It’s 30+ hours of driving and we’ll stay on the show grounds in our trailer. Tina will take care of the horses, barn cats and chickens while we’re away. We will board our housecat Tiger at a local kennel. We plan to begin heading back to Minnesota on Sunday morning.

We’re starting to hear percolations of interest from real estate agents
in Spain regarding chalet number 11. For the English version, click on "English" in the top right-hand corner of the page, then click on the second hand listings and scrolled through to page 9 to Chalet Riofaro. We continue to pray this gets sold soon at its asking price.

I’d love to be going to Europe soon! We’ll see what the future holds!


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