Tuesday, January 5, 2016

a week of winter

A week ago, the weather finally shifted into Winter.

Billions of tiny ice pellets fell from the sky, met a surface of unseasonable mud, and formed a layer of frozen slush with a smooth crust strong enough to support my weight. In fact, it supports the weight of even the heaviest goats and is very slippery. All the goats are having trouble getting around, as am I.

Then there was a light snowfall.

And another.

This made the ice look like a soft and harmless dusting of snow, but in fact it made the ice even more slippery.

Despite the metal cleats attached to my huge insulated muck boots, this surface can take me down. I have fallen flat at least three times, and "caught" myself several more times.

do you think falling is worse than doing that awful jolt-and-flail in an effort to keep from falling? I'm not sure; I think it may be easier on the body to Just Fall. But it's painfully reflexive, that adrenaline-flavored effort to stay on one's feet. I never seem to have a nanosecond to choose whether to relax or fight gravity.

Piper has the right idea about how not to fall:

remain airborne as much as possible.


It's been gloomy and grey quite a lot this week. And very, suddenly, bitterly cold. Time to start feeding the wild birds! Before putting the "squirrel-proof" feeder back up, I scattered handfuls of seed on the ice and was thrilled when a flutter of little birds appeared only minutes later. Here are some (pretty terrible) pictures, taken through hazy grey air in the late afternoon:

(I am not expecting a call from the Cornell Ornithology Lab
asking to use these images. Heh.)

Saturday brought a welcome change: the sky was blue and the sun was bright. Saturday is the day my town dump is open, so I loaded my bag of Still Making An Effort at Cleaning the House rubbish onto the hayboggan and slid it - wheeee! - down the driveway to where the Little Green Sportswagon is parked at the bottom. And there I found a little gem of ferny glory, lit through with morning sunlight:

Such a relief for eyes weary of gloom!

When I did the evening chores tonight, it was 9F (-13C). After feeding and watering everyone, I sat in the barn for a while, wrapped from head to knees in my ancient down coat but still feeling the cold of the barn wall gradually reaching my shoulders like one of my icepacks. In the dark, I listened to the sound of Dara pulling hay from the manger on my left and chew-chew-chewing away. I just love that sound. Then I had stereo, when one of the kids (I think it was Tansy, but I couldn't see her in the dark) started nibbling hay on the other side of the barn. Through the open doors I could see the lights on the tree, reflected from window to window on the porch. Like this:

This makes me so happy.
It may become a new tradition for me:
not just a Christmas Tree, but a Winter Tree.

Makes sense, really, since the association of a decorated, lighted tree with Christmas is very recent - Queen Victoria, was it? - while the bringing indoors of greenery and light in Winter is old. Maybe as old as the human need for hope and cheer in a cold, dark season.

Right this moment, for example, it's after 3 AM.
I've been awake since midnight with a few aches and pains.
Not complaining; it's just the way it is.
But this is my view from bed:

So magical.
Better than narcotics.

Good night :)