the weather has been eventful this week. we’ve had subzero windchills, above-freezing temperatures, a snowstorm on a day it was too cold to snow, a rainstorm on a day it was too cold to rain, and i’m looking out the window now on thickening fog at 28ºF. it has been drizzling all day and everything’s pretty crunchy out there.

baling twine with glaze
weirdly hairy icy baling twine

it’s supposed to switch back to snow tonight, which means three inches of snow over a hearty crust of ice. it’s time to dig out the Yaktrax. i prefer this gear to other brands because

1. they work on all kinds of icy conditions (packed snow, glaze, hard ice)
2. they don’t gum up too much with hay or manure or what have you
3. they won’t puncture anyone’s paw, hoof, or talon if you accidentally tread on someone. they work using little grippy coils of wire and are a lifesaver in icy conditions
4. you can wear them inside (the house, the barn, the supermarket) without slipping or wrecking the floor

at the moment, trying to use the weather forecast to plan things like the number of horse feedings and when to blanket is an exercise in processing the absurd. today, it’s warm enough to take blankets off, but the rain would make the horses wet and miserable, so i left them on. tomorrow should be dry, along with the day after, and then we descend into ruggedly cold conditions for the forecastable future. i’ll try to use the next couple of days (yes, including christmas day) to get those blankets dry before they’re needed again. i’ll also fill up the water tanks, because the sillcock will likely freeze toward the end of the week and then it will be me, half frozen at the faucet, with the hairdryer, like some dumbass rural game of clue.

when i came home from a trip into town, i used the jeep as an icebreaker, driving the loop to make it walkable. with studded snow tires and four wheel drive, she did fine in the deep snow and hard crust, but it was strange to hear the snow cracking under the tires and then skidding out across the unbroken ice. it was kind of a “drums… drums in the deep…” moment.

i threw some hay at the horses who were wet from the nose to the shoulder and from the knee to the coronet, their blankets fringed with icicles. then i topped up the goats and scampered inside to put all my stuff up against the baseboard heater to dry before i have to go out again.

i’m sitting with a dog on my legs and a cat on my shoulder, watching the blue deepen outside as night falls, trying to find the motivation to do what needs to be done.

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