Winter is in full bi-polar swing this year. No sooner have we barely survived a fierce battle with blowing snow and temperatures plunging below 0, then next we are engaged in a test of wills with flooding conditions. We have yet to experience a single day of crisp, bright uncomplicated winter. I am hopeful that since there is plenty of winter left on the calendar, someday, we will wake up to sunny white conditions that beckon the animals and me to come outside and rejoice. Until that time I have no choice but to get through one day at a time. From what I gather in the media, the rest of the country is experiencing similar weather extremes.
I miss my quality time in the barn with my horses, goats and donkeys. Interactions with them at the moment are brief and rather terse. In the bitter cold I can only afford to observe that they are eating, drinking water, warm and safe from the elements. The rest of my time in the barn requires a deep focus on necessary chores that allow me to meet their primary needs before my fingers, face and toes freeze.
People often ask me how I am able to care for the animals in these extreme conditions. I have no choice. Regardless of the weather, they depend on me to keep them clean and fed. It is a responsibility that can not be avoided during the harsh seasons. A feeling of warm comfort is derived from knowing that their bellies are full and their bodies are warm. Despite -35 degrees this week, they still greet me with charismatic, (not to mention hungry), welcomes; a whinny, bleat, cluck or a bray. Frustration melts my icy demeanor replacing it with appreciation. What a way to start the day!
|Despite -35 degrees, Easau and Zambi greet me with warm nickers at 6:00 a.m.
|Joshua's muzzle is typical of a well below 0 morning.
|Gatsby wears Lady Gaga styled eyelashes on a -35 degree morning.
|After showing signs of illness a few weeks ago, this hen avoided the bitter cold by moving into the heated tackroom.
|Lacey, (age 12), did not develop much insulating cashmere this year. Two blankets help keep her warm in the brutal cold weather.
|Lilly, in the background, is afluff with cashmere....She almost resembles a sheep!
|The rest of the flock is relatively toasty warm in their heated coop...
|....eating well and producing LOTS of eggs!