We had the first snow of the winter season last week, which meant that I was home from work for a couple of days. Days with no big plans. Wonderful days of fireside reading, jig saw puzzling, hot tea guzzling, cat snuggling, and so much meal cooking. All of these favorites, intermixed with frequent outside adventures - I love snow days.
Just getting geared up with insulated coveralls, wool socks, hats, gloves, and coats is it's own adventure. There's no quick trip to the barn when it's ten degrees outside, so we might as well stay out for some fun with the herd while we're all bundled.
The herd doesn't stray far from their fluffy beds of hay and straw, but everyone got a little exercise with us there to play with. The Rivers know to jump up and beg for treats and pets, but Peaches has figured out that her pointy little snout fits perfectly in my pocket, so she helps herself while the Rivers create a distraction.
Rufus and I got to demonstrate our running routine for Brandon. Even in the snow, with bulky clothes and giant boots, we managed a awkward jog down the fence line. With Wendigo pulling at her leash, and Puck stopping mid trail to sniff a sniff and nearly causing a pile up, my donkey running skills were shown to their best advantage. ha! Brandon thinks it's only a matter of time before I hurt myself while hurling down the fence line being dragged by a dog and chased by a donkey. Weeee!!!
I like to round the last post and let Wendigo off the leash so that as I approach the last little hill both dogs and the donkey are looking back waiting for me to catch up. I'm coming guys! My nostrils feel frozen from puffing such cold air. My cheeks feel chapped, and my heart is pounding. Oh my, all of sudden it's so hot out here! I bet steam rises off my head when I rip off my hat.
It's a good warm up for the real work, which is scratching forkfulls of hay off one of the giant hay bales that sits near the barn. It's not easy to knock the snow and ice from the tarp so that I can uncover the bale. I use a curved pitch fork to pull the hay from the tight bale into a big fluffy heap, and then use a regular pitch fork to move the hay to the goats and donkey. When I explained my method to my horse owning friend he shook his head and said "that's not that way most people do it, Rain." Doh!
Birds with horns are weird, right? The guineas and chickens hang around the barn and hay piles during the cold weather. They have a heated water bucket near the house that they share with the dogs. Rufus and the goats don't have heated water buckets, so I've been taking them warm water several times each day. Sometimes Rufus slurps up several inches of warm water right away, so I know he gets thirsty out there in that dry cold. The goats snuggle up and keep each other warm, but poor Rufus doesn't have anyone to lean on. He shivers, but he won't let me wrap him up in my coat or give him hugs. I give him extra food and he stays out of the wind.
Did you wonder if Brandon and I would have the resolve not to invite Wendigo inside the house during freezing temperatures? I did. She is supposed to be adapted to the cold, but I knew that if she wanted to come in, all she would have to do is shiver just once in front of Brandon and he wouldn't be able to stand for his puppy to be outside. Thankfully, she acts like it's not even cold!
Even with her drool freezing into icicles, she's happy in the snow. Whenever we check, her dog house is toasty warm from her body heat. Her fur is long and thick.
She gets clumps of ice between her toes, and still wants someone to throw a toy for her. She's a snow beast.
The roads are clear, and I went back to work today. The snow and ice are melting, which means the mud will soon be back. It also means the water pipes in the kitchen will thaw out, and we won't have any excuse not to wash the dishes!