Friday, November 21, 2008

baby, it's cold outside

So it's cold here. Really cold. The average nightly temp is somewhere in the mid teens, and every morning when I go outside to feed the animals their water is frozen over. It doesn't freeze solid, thanks to the the thick rubber containers and the layers of hay that insulated them, but it gets a good inch-thick capping which involves some offense from the animal end. The sheep have the ability to hoof their softdrinks open, but if you're a chicken, you just stare at your water despondently until some sucker (read me) bundles up to waddle outside and pour hot water from a tea kettle over and into their fonts. I can never tell who looks more pathetic when I'm doing this. The barred rock hen watching me - or myelf, now at wookie size due to parkas, caps, and sweaters, pouring it with an expression that suggests later that morning I have to go wait in line for bread somewhere in the old axis.

Baby, it's cold outside.

The locals say it's just a snap, and we'll be back in the comfortable thirties soon. But while the cold is here it's making the mornng chores a little more interesting. Sarah joins me to rustle up and herd the morning poultry. She doesn't mind the cold, or if she does, she plays it cool. Frank at the Sands cool. She trots around that farm like she owns it. She will go in the coop and give the hens on their roosts that famous border-collie eye until one of them breaks and then the feathers fly. It's hilarious.* She even managed to "pen" a trio of geese and a duck, using me, a wall, and her own pacing to contain three big birds from going anywhere. Watching her think, figuring out her place in the world, is quite a sight to take in before you get to shower. Keeping Sarah so far has been exhausting. Someday I'll tell you the whole story of this dog-week from Hell, but I'm holding my own, and all she wants is to work and please me, I can deal with that. I'll work on my patience.

We're all waiting for snow to insulate us. It'll make this cabin in the woods more like a maple syrup bottle than it's current frozen-wasteland status, and it'll entertain the farmer; Who can not wait to harness up those sleddogs and hit the road.

*no chickens were injured in the making of this blog post.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just love reading this blog. The imagery an experience. Still laughing about the wookie sentence! Thanks Jenna.

Sara WM

ps. its snowing good here in pa- coating and all...a real surprise for Nov. The kids are bonkers. Happy Friday.

November 21, 2008 at 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my dad uses water trough heaters to keep the ice from forming through the winter. they are intended to be submerged in water, are safety designed and coated, and might be a good solution for you to try. he gets them at tractor supply.
they are electric so you may need to rig up some extension cords

November 21, 2008 at 11:43 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

patience should be handed out in SPADES to anybody who adopts, buys or simply lives with a young border collie (or mostly border collie)

I thought I was a patient person til Sally came into our lives... man, have I learned! A dog who can open fridges, open zippers, lives to organize things according to her vision requires some almighty patience!

It'll come - as the two of you bond more and more you'll appreciate each other more and more too :)

hang in there

November 22, 2008 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still in the nineties here, at least in the afternoon. I was very busy for three weeks, I missed some of your posts, I just got caught up. This week I got two more acres for traditional crop planting. They are loaned for free. That brings the arable acreage to 6 acres. Without machines and row crops, it is a lot of work and will take several years to get it tamed. At least there is a 365 day growing season here. I'm considering getting goats for another very large acreage. So much free land here, so little time. I like the aroma of mesquite charcoal myself, we have a couple of million tons on the hills here. All hail Bag Balm, a true elixir.

November 22, 2008 at 7:27 PM  

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