I love the month of March. My birthday is in March. I married my love in March. Our daughter was born in March. And, in my mind, even though I was born and bred in New England, March is the beginning of spring. This March has been cold. No sign of spring to be seen. And last night and today we have had snow.
It began as rain yesterday afternoon. I hurried home from work to clean out the chicken coop before the storm hit. I knew the birds would stay in the coop all day today if the weather was bad, and the coop was pretty messy. I wanted them to have clean digs to scratch around in if they had to be "cooped up." It rained so hard as I shoveled out the old, soiled shavings that Ziva ran back to the house and hid under the overhang by the door. Pathetic! I got the birds all settled with a surplus of food and a scrubbed water pan and then it began to snow. Ziva found this more appropriate, and joined me for the rest of my chores. The flakes were supernaturally huge, some as big as quarters, falling lazily from the heavens.
The rain that had fallen earlier froze. The flakes got smaller, and then became like wee, icy bullets. They sang a dismal song as they hit the windows. The wind picked up and the stuff falling from the sky began to blow in sideways sheets. I made a pot of taco soup. It seemed like the right thing to do. I was glad when Chris arrived home safely.
By bedtime the wind was howling around the house like a wild thing. I took the dogs out for a potty stop and let the little ones right back inside. Then Ziva and I hauled hay out to the horse and goats. The three goats were snuggled in a cozy pile, chewing their cuds and looking quite content. Their little shed blocks the wind and the deep bedding keeps them warm. I paused a while, listening to the horse tear hay from the rack, smelling the singular perfume made of clean shavings, sweet hay and healthy stock. It is a peaceful place, and they animals don't mind if I linger, giving them scratches and sometimes a ginger snap or two.
As I left the peace of the shed, the cold wind tugged at my coat and hat. I heard an eerie cry from the edge of the meadow. At first I thought it was a coyote calling, and I looked to see if Ziva would react. If she hears coyotes in the night on on a recording, her hackles go up and her voice lifts to the sky. I heard the sound again, warped by the wind. Ziva acted as if she heard nothing. I was puzzled. Then I heard it a third time. A barred owl... nothing to alarm my good dog, but small rodents should beware!
This morning I had to hip check both the garage door and the pasture gate, breaking the solid seal of ice. The animals walked gingerly across the glaze to get food and water, then tucked themselves right back up in the shed. It seems as if this long winter will not end. But I did find some hope... a few bent blades of greening grass are struggling under the heated water tub for the livestock. Surely spring will arrive eventually!