Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Good Morning, Jennifer Lawrence!

Lest any of readers out there assume my life is one of nonstop hobby-pursuing, coffee sipping, and animal cuddling let me report about this morning. Before I sat at this desk to go through emails or had my first taste of that holy bean water - I was outside in 2 degree weather breaking ice off a rubber trough while seven sheep started daggers at me for not offering hay and grain first. There I was, dressed in layers and puffing smoke like a dragon as I used the business end of a pick axe to crack into the 2-inch thick ice while Sal, Maude, Joseph and the rest loudly heckled a few inches from my face. Sheep volumes, like most sounds, gain intensity via proximity and I swear I can still feel my ears rattling from Joseph's yodel. Lesson Learned: in a vortex feed grain to ovines before going into ice battles.

Then there was the extreme sport of Ice Walking! The entire farm (which is a hillside, yay!) is covered with a sheet of ice. This is a gift from a nearly 60 degree day followed by a 70 degree temperature plummet within 36 hours. A foot of snow turned to slush, which turned to ice, which turned to the most agile walking seen on this farm since I moved in three years ago. Well, mostly agile. I did fall directly on my ample ass a few times with a force stronger and more violent than base gravity. I am now convinced that ice is the hardest substance on our planet. A shard of ice from my property could cut diamonds. That harshness combined with the swirling brown, greens, blacks, and yellows of various canine and avian dedications in various stages of melting and freezing creates quite the beautiful stratification. So at least when I crashed into a pile of ice I could appreciate the way a swoop of dog piss frozen around a perfectly round goose turd makes for a little natural art. Performance art if you count the falling, which I do. I mean, might as well enjoy the ride, right?

I woke up at 6:30 and within an hour and a half of opening my eyes I had managed to feed the horses, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and poultry. I walked the dogs, fed the horrible cats, and even combed my hair. I did this last thing in case a neighbor stopped by to chat on their commute down the mountain so rumors in town about my feralness would be waylaid a little. Everyone had water (in a liquid state!), thanks to refilling headed troughs, broken ice, and carried buckets over a hellscape. Every animal had shelter, bedding, and besides a few frostbitten rooster combs -seemed okay. I know because most of the morning outside wasn't spent falling or working, but watching. I looked over horse to hen for signs of struggle or discomfort. Besides little Ida's shivering when coming out of her warm nest in the barn and into the sun for hay - no one seems to mind the cold. I checked on Italics, restarted the wood stove, carried in wood, made the bed, swept the floor of 12 hours accumulation of dust, hair, and dander, and last (but not least) got a percolator on The Hob for some serious and blessed coffee, which I am about to head downstairs now to enjoy. My breakfast these days is coffee with real cream. It carries me through until lunch or later without a problem. The human animal craves a lot of things, but mostly fat. While I am practicing a whole lot more moderation these days in the art of eating (mostly to keep up with my advanced training in Tae Kwon Do), I don't skimp on whitener for my coffee. I certainly use the calories and life is too short and too rich for skim milk. As the wonderful Jennifer Lawrence so eloquently said to her interviewer on her body's state of being:

"I can think of a lot of things that taste better than skinny feels. "

I raise my mug to you, Jennifer. Come hang out here anytime.


Blogger Becca said...

I remember seeing basketball looking devices in water troughs in New Mexico. They may well have been basketballs for all I know. I never managed to ask how exactly it worked. But it did seem to help keep the ice at bay.

January 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

We finally finished with the ice, snow and -40 wind chills here for minute.

I went out the other evening to toss some cracked corn out for the wild rabbits in the yard. Toss, to put it mildly, as when I pitched the container of corn, I tossed myself right off my feet and landed front down on the ice. I knew better.

Jenna, look around to whoever has ice fishing stuff. Danielson Ice Tackle makes Quick-On Cleats. Probably 2x3 metal plates with 3/4" triangles in the bottom. You step on the cleat and wrap the rubber strap over the top of your boot and hook it on the other side.

I've used them ice fishing a number of times and they allow you to maneuver safely. Guys have said the velcro ones aren't as good. These beat the pants off yak traks for this type of stuff ...and go on real boots. Just bought a couple pair off ebay.

January 8, 2014 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Jenna.
Your winter is just like here in Maine! You may have already tried these things, but if not, they may help you out in coping with the cold temps and ice:

Use the ash from your outside ash can to put down for traction. Of course, you would not want to use fresh ash and embers out of the wood stove! Putting ash down on the ice not only provides traction, due to its dark color, will help to melt the ice when the sun hits it.

Rocks are not easy to come by this time of year, but if you have some larger rocks (fist size) put them on your wood stove. When they are hot, put them in the animal waterers with hot water and the water will stay open waaaay longer than it normally would.

Another way to provide some traction across the ice is to spread sawdust/shavings. Unlike ash, it will stay put even through a melting cycle.

Lisa in Maine

January 8, 2014 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am sitting here in Florida loving your non-fiction tales. I went to college in NY & I well remember the cold. You're preparing me for what's ahead when I get to live with animals again.

January 8, 2014 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

What a great post to brighten up my day!
I do not envy you with all that ice on your farm.
Wait, I actually do envy you, just not with ice.

January 8, 2014 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

take all that ash coming out of your wood stove and throw it on the ice where you walk. tada! cheeper, and more environmentally friendly than throwing down salt.

and if you can throw it down when there are still live coals in there all the better.

my car skidded off my driveway 2 days ago when i was puling out at 3 km per hour! now that i said screw this and started throwing down the ash, no more ice!

January 8, 2014 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger Sue Guzman said...

I feel your pain. As for the ice, I cannot recommend these inexpensive pull-on cleats highly enough. 8 Years of dancing school and I'm still a klutz. these help immensely!

January 8, 2014 at 6:54 PM  
Blogger Bonniejean said...

I LOVE that quote! I too, can think of many things that taste better than skinny feels. And a nice creamy cup of coffee is definitely on the list.

January 8, 2014 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

I agree about the ice, it always seems like you fall down faster when you fall on ice...

January 8, 2014 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

And here I thought you were just taking it easy at home! NOT:) You work harder than anyone I know!

January 9, 2014 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Fisher said...

Our farm is similarly iced over. Extreme ice walking is a torturous exercise!

January 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home