I woke an hour before dawn and heard it. The wind scouring around the house, whistling at the windows and buffeting the walls with hissing snow. I pulled the covers up and snuggled in for a bit, listening to the storm and enjoying the exquisite warmth and comfort of our soft bed. I knew that when I got up I would have to go out into the storm, and I was in no hurry.
The sun cast a half-hearted light when it rose, the sky heavy with clouds and the snow blowing sideways on fitful gusts of wind.
It took three trips to get the hoof stock settled. Ziva came out with me when I insisted, ears flattened, tail clamped, back hunched. She went as far at the garage and waited while I dished up goat and pony breakfast, then she beat it for the back door and convinced my husband to let her in. "You are on your own," she seemed to say. "YOU have boots and a warm coat!"
The goats and horse were glad to see me, and grain. I stood in the shelter of the shed a while, watching them enjoy their meal. The wind was so fierce it had blown a dusting of snow through the seams of the roof, and the goats had a light frosting of white on their thick fur.
I waded back through the snow, varying in depth from ankle high to well over my knees, and returned with a bucket and a jug of warm water. The goats refuse to go out in the weather for a drink, so I hung a bucket in their room and filled it up. They dipped their muzzles in and sucked the water down silently. I offered some to the horse, she was not interested. She does not hesitate to wander out in the storm, and it is not a far trip to the heated water tub in the pasture. One more trek out into the wind and back filled the hay racks to the brim.
Next I checked on the chickens and tossed some scratch grains into the coop to keep them occupied. The ducks got a pan of warm water and a scoop of food. They look unhappy locked in their hutch, but it is the safest place for them, bedded deep with dry shavings and keeping them out of the wind. By the time I got inside my face was stinging from cold. The thermometer on the deck read 8 degrees.
Looking outside from the warm house, everything is shades of pewter. The wind was blowing so hard it forced snow in around the window where it melted into a puddle on the sill.
And the pantry window is just filled with snow!
The wild birds seem grateful for the full feeders. And I know I should have taken my Christmas wreaths down by now... but isn't this pretty full of snow?
We had to insist quite firmly that the dogs go outside. They rudely did what they must on the deck, mere inches from the door. Smooch looked woeful as he waited for us to allow him to re-enter.
We all agree it is best to be inside, where the house is cozy and tidy and warm...
And soup is bubbling on the stove, perfuming the air with spicy goodness.
I need to go back outside soon, carrying more hay and water and checking on the critters. How grateful I will be to come back inside.