Happy December 1st! Just another 20 days and winter will officially arrive! I love winter. I love the” all snuggled in” feeling I get sitting in front of the wood stove. Usually I have three dogs and a cat in close company. I love the beauty of the forest in it’s bare and occasional bleak austerity. The Black Locust and Yellow Poplar are standing naked. Some are wearing their beautiful crowns a hundred feet in the sky. I love the white pines that stand sheltering me from the wind coming up occasionally from the south west. Those were planted some long time ago by a dear soul since departed. I get the impression they were set to mark the side of an old cart road barely, discernible these days.
Here some simple lessons I seemed to have forgotten since the last of the previous season’s freezing rain, ice and snow season and just had the opportunity to remember last week during those three wet and freezing days we had up here on Spoon Mountain Farm.
Work harder and more when the sun shines. Do the heavy work early in the day. Take breaks before you have reached your last gasp. The work will still need to be done twenty minutes from the time you feel you are about to drop. Have something warm to drink and sit down for a few minutes, but not on anything too comfortable. Take hot water out to melt a hole in the layer of ice in the goat’s and Alpaca’s frozen water buckets. That way you can stick your finger in the hole and remove the inch or so of ice that has formed during the night. Get waterproof gloves. Pay attention to were the sun shines longest during the day. When ever possible, put your buckets where they will get the most sun. This means paying attention to where the sun is because it moves and a couple of weeks can make a difference. The buckets will take longer to freeze up again if the sun is on them. Do not kick the rubber buckets. It only hurts your foot. Keep the water you are pouring into the bucket well away from your boots. Pouring cold water into your boot is not any kind of fun to walk around with while doing the rest of the chores. Make more trips with lighter buckets. You’ll last longer at the chores and feel better at the end of the day. The same goes for hauling the hay. Give everything fresh water every day. Make sure the chickens have some bedding to keep them warm even though they prefer to roost. Try to keep drafts out of the coop. Very cold water is no where as uncomfortable as freezing water when you mistakenly pour it into your boot while transferring drinking water for the livestock from the bucket you are hauling to the bucket they’ll be drinking from. Carry your jack knife and cell phone religiously in the snow, and ice. Buy a pair of YakTraks . Attach them to a pair of sturdy boots and wear them every time you go out. They will tear up a good pair of boots if you are always taking them on and off. Lastly. Indulge your self without reprisal when it comes to making delicious food with more calories than you generally would eat in warmer weather. Recipes to follow in my next entry.