Saturday, December 17, 2016

Fight The Cold Winds

The cold came and the cold left. The past few days were mostly about that here at Cold Antler. Thursday into Friday was the worst of it, with intense winds and temperatures below zero. (That’s Fahrenheit zero, mind you.) The entire day Friday was spent defrosting stock tanks, feeding extra calories, checking on animals, making sure livestock was comfortable and kept. I am happy to report not so much as a pullet was lost to the cold snap. No frostbite on the pigs' ears or black combs on the roosters. I brought the hawk inside to sleep on a perch (old lamp) near the daybed by the fire in the living room. Did I lready share that info here? Maybe the cold stole some brain cells.

So yes, the cold! It means such presence on a farm like this. This is a farm heated by firewood, worked on my human lungs and horse collars. No tractor carries bales to the fields - just forearms. No thermostat turns up the heat at 2AM when the world goes numb - alarms are set to restock my stove.  But the house and the animals are my job when real cold comes.

I rarely worry about the poultry, sheep, or the horse - if they have the calories and wind protection they need and their body condition is good - they are golden. It is the comfort lovers I worry about - pigs and goats. But the trio of goats tucked into their corner of the barn with grain-fed tummies - well out of harsh winds. The pigs had burrowed in their forest home several feet deep with hay and three walls of wind block. When I came out to check on them at first light Friday they popped their heads out of their deep bedding with steam rolling off the, little scorched fields on their black bristled backs. All was well. It felt good.

Well, mostly. The pipes did freeze in one faucet and are in the process of unfreezing. The plumbing is still an issue here (calling for some creative resourcefulness I’m certain you don’t want to hear about). Also, the antibiotics stopped my toothache. If I can afford the trip to the dentist I will go Tuesday. Things are touch and go right now. 

I am happy and tired as I write this. It’s dark outside and I spent the morning frantically working on artwork and commissions for Christmas gifts folks ordered. I drove in the snow to the Post Office and waited in a very long line to mail the stack out to 5 states and 2 different countries. After that, I got Aya Cash ready for some hunting and we hiked for miles in the snow together. She flying above me, and I hiking below in the drifts. I was grateful I made that 2-egg omelet before we left. I needed the energy. Without snow shoes hiking in the snow is exhausting, but a great workout. We stopped to make tea in the woods. It was lovely. I took out my Kindle Fire and listened to My Favorite Murder while sipping some Lyons with a dram of whiskey in it. I looked over my snowy land and said a little thank you to the local wights, swirling about seen and unseen. I poured half the tea out for them, a thank you for keeping an eye on this feral place.

Speaking of stories - I have the winners of the audio book! Email me please Delayne and Fungus Queen - and I will email you your download from Audible soon! Thanks to all who entered.

At the end of this long day I feel like celebrating. I am tired, but it doesn’t take much fuss to play some music. Usually it’s the fiddle I grab but lately it’s my little uke, A beloved sponsor sent to me that instrument and the book that taught me how to play it in DAY. I must talk about these chaps at Native Ground more, because they are the same books that taught me and hundreds of CAF students to play the fiddle over the past six years or so. That little ukulele has been tuned up and in my lap a lot on these cold days. I think because the somewhat tropical and bright sound is emotional warfare against the cold. I have found all sorts of Yuletide music to play online, too. Some songs learned in minutes with simple tablature and strumming. I sat down mentally, physically and creatively exhausted today from farming, illustrating, and hunting - but it doesn’t take a lot of brain power to strum some chords on that little buddy. It took me minutes to learn Away in the Manger - and I added some Jenna Flair to it with faster strumming on try 3. In the comments of this post I will put details of the combo package they sent me of Uke, book, and CD. It was under sixty bucks. Not bad for fighting the cold winds and low spirits.

I hope you guys are looking forward to the holidays and keeping your farms, families, kids (human or caprine), flocks, horses, sounders and more safe as the days grow darker. Light comes back soon, or has every December for quite some time. Let's hope for the best together.


Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Uke set info! Native Ground is selling ukulele & instruction book set for $59 (plus shipping -Place order on the phone at (800)752-2656.

December 17, 2016 at 5:45 PM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Goodness, girl. How much snow did you guys get?

December 17, 2016 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

December 17, 2016 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Lotsa snow maybe 5-7 inches with drifts from the wind up to my knees while hiking/hunting.

December 17, 2016 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Cube! thanks for this, I read/listened to the book and adored it. Camp was the first movie I saw her in, maybe 2007? I was using Netflix via mail in Tennessee. Saw Camp in an entertainment magazine and checked it out. Who knew the weird girl who poisoned her crush with Woolite would still be chuggin' along. :)

December 17, 2016 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger crashdown said...

How did you make your tea? That sounds awesome!

December 17, 2016 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Crashdown - I have a cheap little Esbit stove. It heats up with a little fuel tablet and had the water boiling in about 4 minutes. I brought that along, water, flask, tea bags. Pics on twitter.

December 17, 2016 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger crashdown said...

I want one too!

December 17, 2016 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger kbrow said...

Would it ease up your plumbing to (once the weather warms) put in an outhouse, or more ideally, a composting toilet? Having grown up using them at relatives' houses, and living in a house through my childhood with equally dicey plumbing, to the point of often using a chamber pot which we then emptied each morning, I can say it DOES ease the stress put on a septic system. Then your sink/shower can still be used for showering, once reasonable repairs are made. Maybe?

Is it just a cold weather problem?

December 18, 2016 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger jules said...

Happy Solstice, Jenna. The light should come back now!

December 21, 2016 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Winter Solstice...finally the daylight will get longer again. BTW, I had a strange thing happen on my blog, someone...who is one of your haters...tracked me to my blog. They posted a comment about you, that was totally unrelated to my post. I deleted the comment, and finally the post.It was a bummer, my post was about a vintage McCoy vase. I had to change to comment moderation. I have a couple of ideas for blog posts. How about a post showing how you bake bread in your woodstove. I would also like to learn about making mead, as I have bees.

December 21, 2016 at 8:47 PM  

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