In The Bleak Midwinter

This seems appropriate for today’s grey, overcast stillness. It’s, as John Mayer once put it, “the kind of morning that lasts all afternoon”, where the sky remains the same dreary hue from dawn to dusk.

It is, however, above freezing today. The polar temps we’ve been experiencing have relented and given way to some balmy 40 degree days. Honestly, I’d rather keep the polar cold. It’s helpful in killing off harmful parasites and bugs that plague us all through the warmer months. On the plus side, it’s nicer when the water troughs and bottles don’t freeze immediately after they’ve been filled. The sheep have a heated bucket that keeps water liquid, but it’s rather small and requires me hauling buckets of water out rather frequently. The rabbits, unfortunately, do not have heated water bottles, and we’ve spent a great deal of time thawing them out so they always have something to drink. They are otherwise doing very well and producing an impressive amount of compost for the gardens.

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The ducks and chickens are hard-up for water, too. Mostly they drink from the stream, but as it is solid right now, they too are depending on us putting out water.

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Despite the relative quiet and lack of activity here right now, there are a couple of new faces.

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This is Scout. She is a Great Pyrenees who belongs to friends of ours who are transitioning from one home to another, and she is lodging with us while they find their new place and get settled. Though she’s used to guarding livestock and being outside, she followed me in one day and claimed the couch as her own. Most days that’s where you’ll find her.

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She does get overheated fairly easily in the house, though, and will tap on the back door in order to go lay out in the cold for awhile.

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The second new face around here is a permanent one. Meet our new farm cat, Samson.

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Samson is what you’d call “aggressively friendly”.   He’s the friendliest rodent control you’ll ever meet.

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He’s an outdoor cat, but he has a bed in the garage, as well as a sun room on the back deck ( basically, a big box with a cat door with a glass panel that faces out and gets a ton of sun. He loves it).  He is a much better solution to keeping rats away from the livestock feed than any kind of poison or trap!

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Samson accompanies me on my walks around the farm to check on things and enjoy the sites. I love the bare shapes of nature in the winter.

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Even the little waterfall in the stream is frozen solid. There were little birds skittering over the surface, but on my approach with the cat, they flew off.

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It’s an interesting state everything is in; not quite asleep (there are buds on some of my fruit trees!), but not quite ready for spring, either. We haven’t had any real snow yet, though I am still hoping for at least one good storm. Maybe we are all holding our breath a bit, waiting to see how much winter is left.

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