Sunday, December 21, 2008

riding it out

Holy crow folks, it is a blizzard out there! I woke up to the BANG BANG SNAP SLAP of the scren door on the porch being whipped open by the screaming wind. Jazz, who sleeps with his head on the pilow next to mine, shot his eyes open and snarled his teeth. Which is something I am used to seeing, but not used to waking up too. He made me think the place was blowing down. I sat up and moved the curtains aside from the window behind the headboard. Snow was falling horizontally across the farm. In the wind the howling crow of Winthrop the wererooster made me feel like the Donnor party was about to trudge by any second. Oh. Great. That'll be fun to be out hauling feed in in about twenty minutes...

After the fire was lit, and a strong cup of coffee downed, I bundled up and headed out. Sunday mornings are the heaviest work time at the farm. With a 9-5 job during the week, this is when I have the most free time to take care of bigger jobs. It's when fresh straw is bedded, and fifty-pound bags of grain and feed are hauled out of the back of the Subaru to refill the metal rat-proof cans. I also bought extra straw, and had a new mineral block for the sheep to set out. So between the extra goods, heavy snow, wind, and foot on the ground already - I had my morning work cut out for me, but I want to know every creature is as comfortable as it can be during weather like this.

The chickens have it the best. Their outbuilding is windproof and the chicken wire front is now covered in a wool blanket. Inside a heat lamp keeps it a comfy 45 degrees even when the temp drops below zero. After I laydown a bed of fresh straw, I like to plop right on the floor of the coop and watch the birds eat, scratch around, and live their free-range life. Plus, being inside the snowless, windless coop in the amber glow is a little oasis in a blizzard. I looked outside at the sheep, chewing their hay, and got up. I needed to get them ready too. So when the sheep had their minderals, grain, fresh straw in their shed and a pile of hay - I called the morning done. Usually farmwork like this takes an hour tops. But with the snow, pulling hay and straw and feed on a sled, and the deep snow I was outside for well over two hours. I would come in to warm up and feed the fireplace, but only for a minute. I didn't want to be seduced and hang up my parka and scarf before everyone outside would be as okay as I was indoors.

When I did come back indoors to start making breakfast and baking my sunday bread, the dogs were curled up and in deep sleep. Annie was on the couch, her black fur warmed from the fire. Jazz prefers the bed, since it smells like me and it's where he prefers to stretch out. A sleeping husky is pure peace. Unless a harness was in their immediate future they had no interest in going back out into that garbage. I don't blame them. That's Jazz in the photo, when you come back into your cabin, covered in ice, shivering for the fire, and see a putz like that, you can't help but laugh. Jazz rides out this life better than most.

Also - Happy Solstice to all! It's officially winter here, and I think this weekend is a heck of a birthday party for the new light coming into our lives. The days will start to get longer, and before you know it mud season will be getting our cars stuck in ditches. Here here. And I hope everyone has a safe and warm holiday, whereever you are. I'll be traveling for the Holdiays, going back to PA. But when I come back there will be a little book tour and some New Year's resolutions to see too. I hope to meet some of you at the Northshire Event on Jan 9th, or down in Troy or Albany.


Blogger Anna M said...

We are starting in with the wind up here and both Corgi girls are oofing at the new noises (first winter in this house).

My husband loves the idea of your were rooster and if he breeds true, we want one!!!

December 21, 2008 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Mama Pea said...

You paint a mighty cozy picture, girl. Lovely.

Up here in NE Minnesota our snow stopped sometime in the middle of the night . . . about 8" of new stuff this morning on everything. Husband is shoveling off the roof . . . again. Now a moaning wind is picking up and I can feel it seeping in when I walk by a window.

Good day to sit by the wood stove and finish that last handwork project for Christmas.

December 21, 2008 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good morning!

Looks like your book has really caught on. Found this short video online about your success. You are about 15 seconds in.


December 21, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that mounted deer wearing a scarf? Love it! :-D

Blessed Solstice by the way!

December 22, 2008 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger The Old Man and His Dog said...

You give me hope for the world. We need more like you. Have a Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

yeah, i knit that scarf myself! that's stew, the deer.

December 22, 2008 at 5:24 PM  

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