Do you see the frost on his back? That's a good thing. Snow on a horses back, or even ice, means that the hair is working as a living blanket. Keeping his outside hairs colder and inner body warm. Snow can rest on a thick-coated equines back and never melt if all systems are working right. He's my tough love.
Chores were all done outside around 8AM. Inside chores started at 6:30, getting the house warmed up from the 44 degrees it slipped into during the night. I know some of you cringe to read that, but it is wonderful! Oh man, to wake up with a mission and to have the power to overcome the elements, you feel like a damned superhero! Fires are lit, wool is slipped over naked, steaming, skin. Shearling covers toes. Matches strike hope. Coffee perks and its elixir fills the room with a verve more potent than any drug, at least to me. Yes, the slushy ice-coated water in the dog bowl in the kitchen was a bit of a shock but that coffee was hot, the cream was thick, the sweater heavy, and spirits high.
To wake up comfortable under a pile of wool and sheepskins and see the steam rise off your body makes me feel like a woman warrior from another time. To greet the day on fire, literally smoking, puts your mind into this primal mode of action and comfort. The trick to sleeping warm in cold weather is to always sleep naked. Even a tee shirt and shorts under that pile of wool and skins stops the body from radiating the furnace it needs. Sleep naked. It's better. We keep forgetting we are animals. I was warmer under that pile than any resort spa's sauna.
In years past mornings like this were met with fear. Not today. All the animals on this farm are now tended by a woman with nearly a decade of experience. Mistakes were made in the past, for sure, but last night not one turkey, chicken, sheep, pig, goat or horse seemed worse for wear. All had thick, warm, beds. All had wind-free shelter. All had more calories than I ate on Thanksgiving. All had been checked on during the night. They are bonnie and braw.
So were this 1860's house's pipes - which did not freeze! Now the house is up to 52 degrees and the fires are roaring. I am roaring too. I feel strong, and motivated as hell. I have a real task ahead to achieve this week and I will figure out a way to meet it. If I can keep this place running smooth at -18 degrees; I can handle a few bills. At least that is the mindset I am choosing. Half the battle in this scrappy life is deciding you already won.