Sunday, January 10, 2010


This face says it all... This picture of my son Conor was taken on a Christmas Day hike in the woods behind out house. It was cold, but this was actually before the present BRUTAL cold (real temps in the sub-zero range, even after sunup!) set in and stayed.

This round of cold weather has been a real challenge. Our pipes froze and then busted, so we have had no hot water for four days. We're getting a minor warm up today, so Chris finally gets the unpleasant job of crawling under the house to attempt repairs. We heat primarily with wood, and have burned through our stockpile a lot faster than we had expected, just keeping the house at 60 degrees. Chris and Katlin have the outside chores of feeding the animals. Chris is up at 5:00 AM, because a job that takes under half an hour in the summer now takes 2 solid hours - breaking through thick ice in water tanks, hand-carrying fresh water from the house, giving extra rations of hay and grain, etc. We have a house full of our own dogs and cats, and have even taken in our neighbors' outdoor pets. So, needles to say, I am walking through the house with a broom and dustpan pretty much all day. The chickens are cooped up for their own good, which they hate, being free range chickens most of the year. We started deep-bedding the coop early in fall, so they're snug.

Chris saw animal tracks leading right up to the chicken house door, and packs of coyotes yip-yip across they lake all night. But we don't have to worry too much, because our handsome and loyal (and slightly crazy) Anatolian/Akbash Shepherd "Scout" refuses to come inside at night, even in temps down to negative 7, wind chill negative 12. He has his own cozy straw bale doghouse, but I'm still amazed that, though we try and try to coax him into the house, he simply will not leave his post. He's bred to be a sheep guard dog, and he loves his job. He should get a medal for a job well done.

Scout on Guard

Our Handsome Scoutie!

Scout in His Cozy Straw Bale House

I've been staying home to tend the fire and the animals, which has given me a chance to catch up on some things. I finally started knitting a scarf using yarn I spun using my Romny sheep's wool. It is very silky and long and a joy to work with.

I also got a chance to sort my seeds from last year, to get a feel for what I already had before I start putting together a seed order for spring. I took a few minutes to dream about how great my garden is going to be this year, and also to think about my goals for 2010.

They say that spring is a time to do, and winter is a time to learn. And although it's miserably cold, winter will go by fast. Every year I regret not taking better advantage of the slow time of the year, but this year I am hoping to change that. More on goals later...

All in all, our family is hanging in there!

Don't forget to feed the birds and squirrels! Here's an older post about how to build a squirrel feeder.