Snow day

Actually a cold day. School buses don’t run when the windchill is below -40. This morning we are -45. Brrrr. 

My furnace is still acting up. I was warm and toasty in bed but I woke up at 3am. I hadn’t heard the furnace come on for a while and knew it had stopped. I went out to check. Yup. 54 degrees in the living room. But the service mans’ instructions still work. Turn off the furnace. Then turn it back on and bang here (post it note stuck to a round cylinder inside the furnace). I called last week, having received the bill, to tell them the furnace wasn’t fixed–it was still all in pieces. I had just assumed they were waiting for a part. The man who answered sounded very bored and disinterested. He said he would check into it and call back. Now another week later I’m still waiting.  

I was not very enthusiastic for chores but the animals need to be fed, more so when the weather is nasty. I only changed one item of clothing–I put on my big mittens.  And it was bloody cold outside. The wind was howling but I had locked the goats into the barn last night. They don’t like to be locked in. More so the younger goats cause mamma goat pounds the shit out of them (just because) and they can’t get away but I fixed that. I tied her on a long lead just so she can move in a small circle under the heat lamps, just enough to move into a warmer or cooler spot, and a flake of hay all for herself. The others can move freely but stay a respectable distance away from her business end. It was quite warm in the barn, piggy on one side and the goats on the other. It was -31C this morning but only -18C in the barn. And no wind so quite pleasant. 

I feel sorry for the big dog cause I have no idea where she sleeps. I actually think she doesn’t sleep at night as most nights I hear her barking at coyotes and when she does sleep she seems to prefer to be outside. I made her a nice open front shelter backed up against a big round bale, and topped it with an insulating cover of loose hay. I put a thick layer of fresh hay inside for a mattress. It looks so nice and cozy I could snooze inside but as you can see she prefers to sleep outside. But she has made an indent inside so I think she is learning to appreciate the coziness of her own house. 

The sun was out for a bit, and the chickadees were busy at the feeder, but I’m warm inside. Periodically thumping the furnace.  Oh summer, where are you??

Things that go bump in the night

My little dog woke me up last night at 2am.  Full disclosure, she sleeps with me. Normally a quiet and well behaved fuzzy hot water bottle,  except for the occasional hissy fit when the coyotes are howling, she woke me by growling. Not the loud and angry barking like when she hears coyotes, but low quiet growling that meant something real was happening. I listened but of course couldn’t hear anything. Then the outside porch light flicked on. Oh oh. Something or someone is out there. I got up, found my glasses and peeked out the window. Was it a stray cat?  We’ve had a few of those around. Or an especially bold coyote going after the suet I had hanging outside for the chickadees?? Or maybe my own big dog, after the same thing. I couldn’t see anything. So I went out to the kitchen and peered out those windows. Nothing. Back to my room. Maybe I’ll have a look out the bathroom window into the driveway. Wait a minute. What’s that shadow?!?  I don’t remember anything there. Then it moved. Oh my god!! That damn pony was out!! That fence crawling escape artist!!

So I threw on some clothes, my coveralls, my hat, mitts and boots and headed out to recover the pony. She was wild with the excitement of the forbidden. I could see the tracks across the lawn, up the sidewalk, and all around the house. She had nibbled off the corner of the bale that was in the back of my truck, dug patches of lawn bare, and just generally had been enjoying her freedom.

When I opened the gate, she dashed back into the pen to join her buddies who had not escaped. I was puzzled as to how she had got out. No wonder the others hadn’t joined her. She’d snaked her way over these fence posts and through the fence. What a gal!!  Athletic, smart, curious. All the pony traits that mean trouble.  I tried to block the hole. But I wasn’t overly ambitious at 2 in the morning and I knew she would be out again after my bus run. It was calm and clear in the middle of the night. I was sorry after I crawled back into my warm bed that I hadn’t gone those few steps further into the back pasture to see what was happening back there. 

Sure enough, after my morning run she was out again. She’s just bored. But now fed and the hole plugged (we’ll see for how long) she’s back where she belongs. 

Out with the old, in with the new

So, here it is, the New Year!!!  I’ve never been much for celebrating this event but when the kids were little we would have a big bonfire and fireworks.  As they got older there wasn’t quite so much enthusiasm but this year we have a new generation of littles–my nephew’s children.  Just the right age to cavort around a fire and wanting to retire early like us old foggies.

I had purchased a beautiful chunk of beef, a brisket, before Christmas and needed an excuse to cook it up.  I braised it slowly over two days on a bed of garden onions, surrounded by garden carrots. It was fork tender and very tasty.

 

We had piled a lot of deadfalls in the fall when my fencer was building my small pony pasture.  My daughter suggested we burn those for New Years and what a great idea it was too.

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We invited some friends to share the meal and the fun.  First we rigged up a float to smooth the path out to the fire pile.  Then my daughter used the ponies to drag the tires and smooth a walking trail, and then to haul out bales and other supplies.

After supper, and dessert, we rolled out to the fire.  The boys had already got it going–it was quite impressive.

The fireworks were loud and colorful–I think my big dog ran away during them–she was nowhere to be found till this morning.  It took a very short time to burn the three piles down, but the kids and old farts had had enough by then and it was time to head inside.  But it was a lovely mild evening, and a great way to bring in the New Year!!

I hope you all enjoyed your evening, and best wishes for a Happy New Year!!