Sunday, December 22, 2013
Ice, ice, baby...
The weather people called for ice and they were not kidding.
I woke at 5:00AM (thanks to a dog with a potty urgency issue.) I lay a moment in the dark and quiet, and heard the unmistakable pinging of ice on the windows. Then I heard the rumble of the sand truck and saw its lights pass by.
Once up, dressed and down the stairs I ushered the dog in question out into the weather. She was not amused, but took care of business. We were both glad to go back to bed for a while. At 6:00 I rose to do chores, but before I stumbled blearily outside I dug into winter storage drawer and found my ice grippers. These were a gift from my friend Liz several years ago and they have no doubt saved me from several uncomfortable dances with gravity.
Outside, in the dark, the thermometer registered 32. Icy rain pattered down. Our cars were uniformly coated in at least a quarter inch of the stuff, the light from my headlamp showed that everything in sight was glassy.
I made my way gingerly down the deck steps, and went to the garage where I store animal feed and milk the goat. The door was frozen shut and it took several firm hip checks to coerce its opening. Inside the air was chill and still and smelled of summer hay. I scooped feed into the bucket of the milk stand, then some into a bucket for the horse, and more into the old metal scoop for the kids. The path over the snow to the pasture was a shine in the light of my lamp. I walked in the deep snow to the side, making exaggerated marching steps and trying to stay upright. The horse met me at the gate, impatient. Starving, really. She pawed the iron ground and nickered her message, "Feed me. Hurry!"
Like the garage door, the gate was quite frozen. We fasten it with a tight elastic cord that we loop from gate to post. For some dumb reason I had not worn gloves outside, and by the time I got to the pasture my fingers were terrifically cold. I struggled with the elastic cord, peeling it from the frozen pole. The pony "helped" by rubbing her warm lips over my hands, "hurry, hurry, hurry" she urged. My fingers throbbed and ached and were repeatedly jammed between the frozen post and cord. In a fit of determination I finally managed to peel and prod and shove it up and over. Cuss words were involved, I am ashamed to say. The horse and goats jostled joyously around me, urging me to the shed where they well know food will be delved out. The routine is that I pour feed into the blue pony bucket fixed on the wall first, and the goats jam into their little room and call plaintively to me until I empty a scoop of food in their black rubber pan. Then I grab Luna the dairy goat out of the little herd and take her back through the pasture, through the back yard,and to the garage where she has breakfast and gives milk. She was quite unsure of the footing. Goats do not like to get wet, and it took a good bit of encouragement, (and dragging) to get her to our destination.
As soon as I turned her loose, she hustled back over the glare, stopping just long enough to get a long drink from the heated water bucket. Then she tucked herself into the goat room, safe from the stuff falling from the sky. There she stood in clean, deep bedding and helped herself to the plenty of hay that is kept there. The kids prefer to eat the horses hay,but now that the weather is bad I find all of the goats snuggled up in their cozy room quite often.I am so happy to have that space for them!
It took several more trips back and forth to fill water for all the animals, and top off food containers. The Runner ducks came out of their shelter while I topped off their pan with warm water and tossed seeds and grain for them to scavenge. They do not like the snow.
There are very few cars going by the house today, showing that my neighbors are wise. I will stay here, too, and admire the glaze from this safe vantage.