Winter has arrived here in the frozen north. Now it is a matter of survival. My little friend, Weezie the goat, passed away today, ill for a year, she finally succumbed to the cold and gave up. It is that way in winter. Winter is a time for surviving. The temperature will be minus 26 tonight. The sheep do not mind so much, with their wooly coats to keep them warm, but the goats do not like the snow and cold. They eat less, when they should eat more to keep warm. Water freezes quickly once it is poured. This is an old time farm and there are no fancy water bowls that provide fresh water 24 hours a day. The ice will be chipped out of the bowls in the morning and new water offered. The goats do not like ice water. The sheep do not mind eating the snow and the livestock guardian dogs will eat it as well. The horse likes his drink and llamas and alpacas should have a good drink every day too, though they will eat snow. At the Fat Ewe Farm, everyone gets fresh water daily and the waterfowl also get a tub full to bathe in, which they do even at 40 below, when the water freezes to ice on their feathers. Silly ducks.
It is a time when farmer Eileen dresses in many layers and tops that off with winter insulated coveralls and good boots. Ninja Ice gloves keep the hands warm and dry as long as I am working. The trick is not to stop for long. That is when the cold works at getting in from the extremities upward. Sometimes, if there is a blizzard or big wind, I will cover my face with a balaclava too. We do what we have to to survive. In the evening, there are two great pleasures to look forward to: sitting by the wood stove and the warm bath in the antique claw foot cast iron tub. Such simplicity after a long cold day is joyous. It makes me thankful that I have a little hovel to retreat to and warmth, when the critters have neither, only simple shelters. But I do not have a built in wooly coat, so perhaps there is a tradeoff. I am sorry to lose my friend Weezie. Winter is here.