Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow, snow, snow

Sometime during the night, snow began to fall and it is still falling as I write at breakfast time. I’ve been to the barn for morning chores – slipped and fell on my right knee (same knee I fell on and cut open on December 4) - but was able to recover and continue to the 150 feet to barn, while carrying four filled feed buckets. Recently it has been in the mid to high 30s, so the earlier snowfall melted but the colder nights left icy patches, which is what sent me to my knees this morning. The snow is like powder – not good for snowballs, but it sure makes shoveling easy.

Of course, Lady and Buddy accompany me to the barn. In fact, it’s almost impossible to leave the house without them. As you see, I am dressed like Nanuk of the North, but I'm not bundled against the cold as much as against the wet, knee-deep snow. My outwear includes snowpants, snow boots, an insulated vest, Carhart barn jacket, gloves and Canadian beaver hat. I'm toasty warm! Buddy the poodle is quite a trooper when it comes to the winter weather. He bounds along where Lady has blazed a trail. When it’s subzero I monitor his shivers or how many paws he’s trying to hold off the ground and often put him back in the house before chores are finished. He is unhappy with that and barks his fool head off in protest!

Our six Pilgrim geese are not impressed with the snow at all. They overnight in the barn, but usually spend the day outside – not today. Dressed in goose down, they waddled as far as the pasture gate – about two feet – where they nestled in until I was done with the morning feed, then they went back inside the barn.

Barn cats Zeus and Tonic patiently waited for the breakfast. They are very good mousers and get a pigeon every once in a while, but they like their chow too. Both are two years old and, like our housecat Tiger, they’re neutered.

The chickens had the run of the barn, but I’ve closed them in their coop now (a large room built in the barn next to the horse stalls). It’s warmed by heat lamps, has a heated warm bowl and it is so much easier for me to find the eggs! The geese also enjoy the chicken scratch feed, so now the chickens don’t need to compete with their larger poultry cousins.

The horses that winter outdoors are fine. Just like a well insulated house, snow stacks up on their backs. Their winter coats channel off the snow melt without wetting their hides and getting them cold. Ingenious!

As soon as the snow stops – the prediction is around lunchtime – our snowplow guy will come and do his usual great job. We plan on having hay (round and square bales) delivered today too, and I expect that once we’re plowed out Steve will come with the bales.

In the meantime, the living room’s pellet stove and kitchen’s propane stove are doing a great job and we’re really cozy. Ian continues to work from home this week, so he is not caught up in today’s snowy commute.


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