I need to find my leather winter sheep fleece lined mittens. That is what I should have had on today. I tried a double pair of gloves, with one over the other, but did not have a firm grip on the pitch fork and had to take one pair off. By that time, my hands were warm enough that I was not uncomfortable. The temperature was almost minus 30F. All the animals were huddled in the warmest places they find, except the sheep. Sheep are naturally well insulated for the most part, but breeds like Cotswolds do not have the same wool and their curls only provide marginal warmth in comparison. The Angora goats are the same. Their fibre parts along their spines and they can get snow against the skin and a fierce chill resulting in pneumonia and quite often death. I was seriously thinking of putting coats on the little Angora buckling and the three Pygora babies. If they are freezing tomorrow, I will do that, at least until the temperature climbs up or the wind stops.
The people who built the Inn, obviously had no intention of using the exterior frost free tap during winter. They put the outlet, the only exterior water outlet, on the north side of the building where it gets the full winter wind and no sun. It freezes. Last winter my son broke the handle trying to open it and I did buy a new handle, but it is not fixed. Of course, the handle froze today, though I have devised my own way to open it. The dryer vent is beside the faucet, so I go inside and set the dryer to high for 10 minutes. Outside I put three buckets together to create a warming pot for the faucet and then go do something for the ten minutes. When I come back, the tap is thawed and easy to open, though if I leave it for too long, I have to repeat the process to finish the watering.
I spent a long time chatting with the wonderful couple at the Inn this morning and was late starting the chores, so late finishing too. The temperature had already plummeted and by the time I finished putting new straw in the waterfowl house and two of the coops, it was already casting long dark shadows in the dusky light. I was cold.
I fed the dogs and removed not one, but two mice from the traps I set yesterday. The three traps in the basement did not catch any mice, so I am thinking they came inside when the door to the porch was left ajar and had made their way into the kitchen area. I hope there is not another way they got in. I reset the traps after giving the mice to the cats, for which they were grateful.
And speaking of gratitude, though I have not warmed up and remain feeling chilled to the bone, my spirit is glowing and I am living in gratitude for this life. This may not be what folks think of as bliss, but what more is there? I want nothing more for myself, only for my children and my heart is filled with love. How could I not be grateful for my humble existence? I am, most certainly, I am, even on this very cold day.