Saturday, December 5, 2009

The ultimate cocooning weather

Heavy snow, high winds, slowly dropping temperatures... whiteout conditions, icy and snow covered roads, cars in ditches... we are staying home today. And tomorrow.

I wouldn't go outside at all if I didn't have outdoor animals. The cats are shut in the hay shed. They have lots of blankets, and I bring them out water a couple times a day. To get in the shed, you have to dig out two feet of snow first.

I blanketed my horse. She's wearing a polar fleece blanket with a rainsheet over it. When the wind stops, I'll switch her to a winter blanket. The two ponies are tough and are doing fine despite being full of snow.

About every four hours I go outside. The first challenge is the drift at the back door. I fall through it, up to my thighs. Next, I dig out that 2 feet of snow at the hay shed. I get a load of hay, and climb over the pasture fence. The gate is snowed over. Notice the drift the ponies are standing beside in the picture? It's 5 feet tall. I've NEVER had drifts that big in the 13 years I've lived here. I give them the hay, and check that they are okay. I grab the rubber feed bucket, and go back to the water trough. It's snowed over. I bang on it until the snow and ice cracks, then wet my gloves to pull the 3 inch thick pan of ice and snow out of it. I bring a bucket of water back to the horses. Then, I go back to the hay shed, get the cat's water dish, dump it, and refill it with warm water from the house (climbing over that back door drift again), and take it back to them. Then I get back inside quickly since my wet gloves are starting to freeze!

If you've ever skiied through the snow from a snow making machine, then you know how that wind driven snow feels on my face when I'm out. But animals must be cared for, and in a weird way, it's fun to go outside in such extreme weather.