Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snowy Day Activities

What do you do on a snowy, miserably cold day? Well, I'd guess stay inside where it's warm with a nice cup of hot chocolate but that's because you're smart. I on the other hand am outside freezing my fingers off taking photographs. On the day I took these shots our oldest daughter came along. She borrowed one of our cameras and we set out walking around the neighborhood taking macro shots of the hoar frost. We shivered in the intense cold and spoke of how nice a hot cup of herbal tea sounded but were having too much fun to hurry home. When we did it was time to do livestock chores. Kirk was our chauffeur and stopped periodically to allow us to shoot some shots I had scouted out across town earlier but was just waiting for the next snow storm to dust the vegetation. Of course I was the only one still outside the truck when a gal pulled out of her driveway and gave me the "Are you crazy?" look I'm so familiar with. I flashed my perfected smile and friendly wave that reassures most people that I'm may be odd but I'm harmless.
It's amazing how much hoar frost or snow will enhance a scene. It's often the inclement weather days that offer great photo opportunities.

So of course when we saw the buffalo (bison) in a good spot to photograph, we had to take a few pictures. Note the blowing snow.

And because we didn't have the lens we wanted with us, we had to go out again later and photograph some more. I'm being kind and not showing you the umpteen pictures we took.
But that was after we spent hours outside in the snow storm doing livestock chores, ours and a couple neighbors who were gone for Christmas week. Toni took all the chore pictures because of course we were doing chores.

Despite the wool long johns, wool socks, wool hat, wool Swiss Army pants, wool sweater and coat I was a bit cold. Then my husband would tell you I'm always a bit cold and he would be right.

But I figured not as cold as the chickens. Gertie, the white hen, roosts in the hay shed under the plastic where it's quite warm but Mildred, the dark chicken covered in snow, insists on staying outside. I've built her a hay bale house out by the round hay bales where she hangs out and tried shoving her into the hay shed countless times but she insists on burrowing under a flap of hay that lays over off one of the round bales. When you stick your pitch fork in to fork hay to the stock you have to do so carefully in case she's hidden underneath.

Kirk went into Tinker Bell's, Angus heifer, pen and they played a game where Tinker Bell pretends she's scared of Kirk and runs off, then come galloping back for more.

Toni was wishing we had a video camera. My Canon camera will do videos but I haven't read that far in the manual yet.
Every day we have like this, snowy and bitter cold, I give thanks for our warm home and that I'm not an animal. Though the only ones that it seems to bother is the goats and pigs. The goats shiver despite their heavy coats and the pigs don't stay outside their shed for long. But my horse loves the snow, that and the mud. She rolls and rolls in it and the beef don't seem to be bothered by inclement weather either. But the colder it gets the more fuel the livestock need to retain their body heat and that means we also spend more time out in the nasty weather tending to their needs.

The biggest pain in the winter time is the water that freezes up. We had electricity years ago when we lambed the kids's 4-H ewes in the winter but disconnected it when we stopped raising sheep. It cost several times more just to have it than the electric usage bill. Now we put water in rubber feed pans and then break the ice out each day and refill them.
So was I right? Are you smarter than we are and stay inside where its warm and cozy? Or are you adventureous and maybe a bit crazy like us?

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