Nature dropped the deep freeze over us last week. It’s been in the teen’s and it hasn’t been fun because along with that cold came the wind. Dry and cold, cold, cold. The lack of moisture in the air has made my hair stand out on end it’s so dry. In a futile attempt to soften the effects I boil a pot of water on the stove to put moisture back in the air. But it doesn't really work. The air is a sponge for the moisture. It sucks it up and never gives it back.
Last night Ma Nature did a switcheroo and we got what we’d been praying for. Big, big lazy flakes of snow floating like parachutes out of the inky blackness above. We tried to catch them in our mouths. It was glorious. Back sitting in our living room with the wood stove glowing like a Besemer furnace we gazed out the window past the Christmas tree framed by pure winter joy. It didn’t stick but it sure was nice while it lasted.
Now it’s gone back to dry, dry cold. Every morning when I go out to feed the stock I have to take an axe to break the ice that has formed over the water in the tanks. I think “Man I sure am glad I don’t live in Wyoming” because for me Wyoming is the pinnacle of hard living in winter. If I thought about it actually North Dakota or Canada is worse. How about Alberta or Saskatchewan? Brrrrrrr. When I lived in Iowa we got the left-overs of the winter they had up there. It blew straight down across Minnesota to us. The snow blowing over the ground sizzled and hissed.
But that was back in the day. Weather out here is actually mild by comparison.
Still I can describe it accurately as not technically pleasant. It’s only just bearable. To we humans. The animals don’t seem to mind but they’re still undeniably ready for their hay when it’s feeding time. In addition to the large animals we take care of - the horses, cow and bull - we have one lone chicken. She lives by herself in her nice chicken house. Her four companions passed away from old age this year. She’s by herself until spring and then if she makes it she’ll have some new younger gals to get to know. She has food and water but not chicken companionship. She doesn’t seem to mind. I go over there and give her greens and we talk. Each morning I heat up a kettle of water until it boils and then I drive it over to her pen and pour it on her little frozen water trough. It steams and melts and she comes right over to drink. It’s chicken tea.