Moose River Farm Blog

Saturday, January 26, 2013

36 Below

       Good Evening,
       It has been a long week.  Extended cold weather is providing challenging conditions to care for farm animals. The last four nights have dipped to either side of 30 degrees below 0 and the daily temperature has barely risen above 5 degrees. Visits to the barn must be brief; performing only essential chores.  Aside from a fleeting glimpse of each occupant's condition it is not possible for me to spend quality time with them.  I worry about my animals incessantly.  Concern for my baby donkeys wakes me in the middle of the night when I hear trees outside our window, crack and pop with the dropping temperatures. 
      The following poem is a description of my morning routine this week.  Read it quickly to get a sense of the urgency in feeding 11 horses, 3 goats and 2 donkeys before hypothermia sets in.  

36 Below
My eyes blink in disbelief
36.7 below?
Adrenalin pumping, Into snow pants I'm jumping
Bundle up 
then out to the barn I go!
First breath is tight in my chest
Crunchy snow under each hurried step

The lights moan and chug
too cold; they barely flicker

Think quickly, only essential chores
Extra hay, measured grain, thankful for heated water buckets

A frosty head appears 
at every stall door
Eyelashes, whiskers and ears
Each hair strung with icy beads
Between large nostrils 
I leave a melting kiss

Fingers numb but, I'm not quite done
In the heat of the tackroom I seek relief
allow warm water to flow
A dry pair of gloves
then back into the cold I go

Goaties' twisted bodies huddled;
faces buried in each other's thick cashmere
Onto their feet they rise and greet
then plunge mouths into grain with gusto

Off to the 'indoor' next
where another light fails 
Donkeys lie still
No welcoming 'wuffle'
In my panic they rise
Wipe the relief from my eyes
wrap an arm around each 
press my face against their tiny muzzles
gusts of their warm breath on my frozen cheek
ah, such an indulgence 

Windy's, (1983 to 2010), frosty complexion is the result of -30 degrees. circa; 1995. 

Despite the bitter cold, (36.7 degrees below 0), Lowtchee is in good spirits and ready to dig into her hay!


2 comments:

  1. Great poem Anne. Makes our-13 feel like a heat wave!

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  2. Nice poem! Speaking of poems, I sent something for you with Hannah. Be sure to ask her about it Monday!

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