It started out with some strange weather. Yesterday morning it was -2 F., but a warm front came in, bringing wild winds and rain. The temperature climbed into the 30's. I slept fitfully all night, listening to the wind howl around the house, and fretting a bit about my animals. As soon as the sun was up I saw that I had a reason to have worried, two of the rabbit hutches, (which house 4 rabbits,) were flooded. I hustled outside with the dogs, and realized problem #2. The yard was so icy that even the dogs, with claws and "4 paw drive," could barely navigate to do important morning dog business. They skidded, slipped and slid across the glaring expanse of lawn. If they were having problems walking, it did not bode well for me.
I crept ever so gingerly to the pasture, and peered into the rabbit hutches, hoping against hope that they were somehow dry, despite the fact that I was standing in water just outside their doors. They were not. Luckily both hutches had a small area where the bedding was deeper then the rest, so the rabbits had a tiny space to get up out of the frigid water, but most of their enclosure was standing in an inch of wet. The bunnies looked pretty miserable. I picked my way carefully back to the garage and set up two large dog crates. This was no easy task, because the garage is a hot mess, and finding a spot to set up crates took some wizardry and muscle. I put dry shavings in them, and then found a plastic tote and gingerly minced back out to the poor, sodden bunnies. I climbed into the girl rabbits hutch and caught them, one at a time, and tucked their wet little bodies into the tote. I grabbed their food and water bowls and risked life and limb once again to slide across the yard and get them to safety. They looked surprised but not unhappy with their new venue, and soon were tucking into a breakfast of broccoli, apples, carrots and fresh hay. One more trip back outside to gather up the boy bunnies. All told I made a dozen or more harrowing treks back and forth getting everyone fed, watered and settled. I almost fell on two occasions, but managed to stay upright thanks to the grips on my boots, extreme caution and sheer determination.
Once all the animals were fed, watered and safe, I went inside to start my work day. My first dog was scheduled to arrive at 10:00. I was just ready to hop in the shower at 9:00, when my dogs began to bark. To my dismay, there was a customer coming up the path. One I had neglected to write down in my appointment book. Covered in hay and shavings and smelling like wet rabbit, I flew down the stairs and let her in. She left her dog, I ran back upstairs and got clean and dressed, and then groomed that dog at warp speed. My next customer came right on time, but the one after that was 15 minutes early, and the one after that 30 minutes early! I managed to get all these dogs done, but it was not a peaceful pace I worked at.
The next grooms went a bit more smoothly, but I was still trying to beat the clock, because I had my farrier coming to take care of the horse and donkey's hooves around 3:00. There was no time to answer the phone let alone grab breakfast or lunch. It was rush in top gear all day. Rushing and working with animals does not go well, because when one rushes accidents can happen. I concentrated very hard on my work and all the dogs left looking and feeling fine. I'm pretty sure they felt better than I did.
The farrier arrived, and I had the horse and donkey ready with their halters on. Normally I lead them out to the driveway so he does not have to go far, or be interfered with by my nosy goats, but I didn't dare walk either animal over the back yard for fear they would slip and fall. (I spent a good bit of the day wondering how one gets a horse up if she slips on ice. Luckily she is old and wise and kept herself safely in the shed most of the day.) The farrier strapped grips on his boots and fearlessly braved the yard and pasture. The horse and donkey stood on the one small patch of bare land they could reach, and were both very well behaved while their hooves got trimmed.
The icy lawn had not improved during the day, but I had to traverse it several more times while I got all the animals fed and tucked in for the night. Again, I managed to stay vertical, which seemed like a major victory considering the conditions.
It was a relief to come into the warm house once all the critters were cared for. I put on cozy, comfy clothes and snuggled up on the couch. I plan to stay right here until bed time. Or until my pulse slows down.