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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Snow Day on the Farm

It's been another great day on the farm, albeit extremely cold, windy, snowy and exciting. At some point last night, the rain turned to sleet and, early 0'dark thirty, sleet turned to snow. Since Dave died, my sleeping arrangements are...crazy. The three dogs and I sleep together and there are mornings I awake and we're piled up like a litter of puppies...but we're warm and cozy and, in this ole farmhouse, warm and cozy are passwords to nirvana.

This is the de-icer, put into the livestock water trough, to keep ice from forming. It might be hard to imagine how much of a thrill this is in my life, but think...Sunday morning I was chopping two inches of ice in this trough and, at dusk, had to chop ice again before "installing" the de-icer.

I'm not the only one who is thrilled, the gold fish are happy to be warmer. Ummm, those orangey spots in the water are the gold fish; bought three for $1 at WalMart and have done what guppies goldfish tend to do...procreate. If anyone wants any, they're yours for the asking...and getting.

The weather report says six inches of snow before morning and we're halfway there now. The right photo was taken about 4:00 and the one below was taken about fifteen minutes later...see the difference?
 Against my better judgement, I had to go to town today. Roads were icy and snowy but the trip still had to be made and when I got home, chores had to be done. In the winter, I do chores twice a day, about twelve hours apart so I can give the animals a bit of extra food as well as cast my eye over them to make sure everyone is okay. Even so, there are times I'll still need to go outside later on to check on someone, open a gate, give extra food, etc. Today, by 3:30 I was in flannel nightgown, bathrobe, warm socks and wool slippers with the intention of staying inside until daybreak tomorrow.
Then I noticed the bird feeder was empty and the internal argument began...fill it now or wait until tomorrow? Self said, "You're already in your nightgown, robe and slippers; you should wait until tomorrow." At the exact point I was ready to agree, a sparrow flew to the feeder and found it empty. AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! So yes, I got a container of bird seed and very slowly, very carefully went down the snowy, slick back stairs, filled the feeder and then crept back up the snowy, slick stairs and then inside the house.

I am such a sap! On the other hand, I'll sleep well tonight, knowing that the birds will have food when they show up at 0'dark dawn in the morning.
Remember these green boots? Useless, I tell you...totally useless! At least in the snow they are useless. "Why", you may very well ask? Because they are rubber, have no traction and are slick as greased lightening. Useless! After filling the bird feeder, I came back inside and looked out another window and saw sheep at the back gate. So...for this trip I slipped off my woolen slippers, slipped on these rubber boots, grabbed a walking stick and headed outside. Where my feet promptly slipped out from under me and I landed, flat on my back, in the snow.  AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!
Nothing broken, not even my pride, and the sheep are now finding the open gate and beginning to wander into the yard where they'll have grass and warm water to drink.  Things like this...making sure the animals have food, shelter, water make me happy even at the same time I'll feeling tired from the exertion. Yes, the work is physically demanding but it's good work, meaningful work (to me at least) and work I love.  The sheep, below, is one of Carly's relatives, another Shetland and happy to find food. Can you tell the poor little thing is nothing but skin and fleece? Not! -chortle-
 It makes me happy, knowing Carly has an extra ration of sweet feed with her arthritis meds. it makes me happy, knowing I've done my best for her poor arthritic bones. It makes me happy, knowing her last days are filled with as much caring as it's within my power to give. What doesn't make me happy is not knowing when to say good-bye to her. There's a saying: if you have live stock, you'll have dead stock and that's true. The big question is: when to say good-bye? When is she in so much pain the meds aren't enough any more. It's the age old question for me...when?

So many folks tell me, "take them to market, sell them off. They're too much work for you" but I'm not listening to those folks. Dave and I had an agreement, never take anything to market and, as long as I'm able, I'll honor that agreement. Just because he's dead, doesn't mean our commitment is void.

When I first got animals, I would brush the snow off their coats and break the icicles to make the animals more comfortable. It took me a while to learn that snow is a great insulator and breaking the icicles doesn't make any difference at all. Leaving the snow on their backs keeps them warmer and more comfortable; brushing it off makes them colder.

High in the maple tree, two guinea's are roosting, huddled together, gripping tightly their hold on the branch. The white guinea was wandering around, on the ground, and I'm not sure if s/he's confused, hungry or what, perxactly. There's no way of knowing so I scatter food on the snow, hoping the guinea will, eventually, wander over and find it. I bought a bag of chicken scratch for them and am trying to gentle them by feeding them. I'd love for them to become tame but it's going to take some time. The dogs like chicken scratch, I suppose it's the molasses and corn combination, so I am constantly shooing dogs away from guinea food. It's a delicate balancing act, keeping the animals fed, sheltered, watered and in good health. It's also my job and I like to think I'm good at it; so far, anyway.

Blessings ~ snow ~ guinea's ~ sheep ~ dogs ~ work of my hands and heart ~


  1. I'm glad you're okay!
    Please be safe and have a lovely holiday.
    When you are there to take care of everyone else, may I ask who takes care of you?
    Don't make me come down there!



  2. Two turtle doves and a Sandra in a snug farm. There's Carly! Love from here, Carly xx Please stop falling in the snow.

  3. Glad you didn't hurt yourself. Next trip into town you'd better look for some super grippy boots for all those chores.

  4. I love that you honor the commitment not to sell off the animals. Stay warm!

  5. I'm glad you're committed to your livestock and wildlife. It warms my heart. Stay warm and cozy as the storm comes through. I hope you have some different boots to wear? How about some Boggs?

  6. A fresh blanket of snow adorns your landscape views, beautiful. At the same time, snow and adverse weather can make every day chores more demanding. I'm sure you're plenty cautious, but you can see how quickly accidents can happen, do be careful, and I hope there is someone who looks in on you or that there's a way for you to reach someone should you face injury while out doing your chores. That would be my fear if I were in your place. Have a blessed Thanks-giving :)

  7. I can't get enough of your accounts of daily life and the animals - it's as nice as "Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm," a children's book we also loved. It's comforting to see a post from you and know that in spite of the exhausting work and falling down in the snow, etc., you are still plugging away and loving your world.

  8. Oh, you are good, good, good in all ways. I hope you won't be sore in the morning after your fall. Bless you, friend.

  9. You don't even need to make a trip to town .... look on the internet for some of the grippers that slip onto your shoes / boots with elastic cords to make walking on icey areas safe. Let the mailman or the FedUps guys bring them to you. I just saw some in a mail order catalog, now I wonder if I can remember where.

    Take care, stay safe and good to see you don't have to chip ice and splash cold water all over yourself.

  10. You don't even need to make a trip to town .... look on the internet for some of the grippers that slip onto your shoes / boots with elastic cords to make walking on icey areas safe. Let the mailman or the FedUps guys bring them to you. I just saw some in a mail order catalog, now I wonder if I can remember where.

    Take care, stay safe and good to see you don't have to chip ice and splash cold water all over yourself.

  11. "I am such a sap! On the other hand, I'll sleep well tonight, knowing that the birds will have food when they show up at 0'dark dawn in the morning."

    Hahahahahahahha! You are such a sap. But that is what makes you you. At least there will still be food there at the dawn. I fill my feeder and it is empty within two hours. I am not such a sap I go out there every two hours. Maybe every 24.

    Your strength impresses me. Rock on!

  12. I love your term 'I gentle them by feeding them' and what an amazing no market agreement, absolutely heartbreakingly amazing, bravo! Happy Thanksgiving to Thistle Cove Farm, and toss those pretty cool looking boots.xxoo

  13. I'm so blessed by the fact that you are still holding to the commitment you made to your husband about not taking live stock to market. You are amazing!

  14. Dear Sandra ~ I loved this post. I'm glad you're ok after your spill to the ground.

    Your commitment to your husband and your critters is a wonderful example to others on how to live a peace filled life.

    I love hearing about your life there and you are an inspiration to me.

    Have a lovely Thanksgiving day. It turned 'cold' here in s.e. FL last night, down to 49 and feels like it is 40. That's wonderful!

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  15. I am always impressed by your attitude and your perseverence. I know it is not easy sometimes. But we do what we have to do, eh?
    I always sleep curled up with my dog, sometimes I wake up and his nose is buried in my neck. It's all good.

  16. I love it when you have pictures. Your place is so pretty, even buried under all that white stuff. Dern, y'all have some serious weather up there! Makes me especially thankful to live further south. (I know, rub it in ... ha ha). I'm as bad as you about the birds, though, they depend on us this time of year, so, we keep the feeders full no matter what. They bless us back with their beauty and antics.

    Now, no more falling in the snow. At least be sure to always carry a useable phone on ya, 'k? That way help is only a phone call away. Stay safe my friend!

    Happy Thanksgiving. ~:)

  17. Wishing you a safe and blessed Thanksgiving! I love the mental image of you snuggled up with the dogs!

  18. Ah, we are kindred spirits in so many ways, Sandra! A blessed Thanksgiving to you.

  19. so glad you are going to be okay!
    I'd take those shoes, put a hole through the heel of the, hang them up and let the birds feed out of them! one for seed and one for water

  20. *´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Happy Thanksgiving! ¤

  21. White and light impressions for this time waiting for the birth...

    Lovely snow and most lovely animals around you!

  22. I know the feeling you describe. There is something so satisfying about knowing the stock is fed, watered, sheltered and healthy. Although I often point out to the goats (especially Lily and Tsuga, who loudly "encourage" me from the moment I open the porch door to the moment they plunge their noses into feedbuckets) that of ALL of us, only ONE of us is getting soaked with rain or covered with snow. And it's the only one of "us" who hasn't had breakfast yet! ;)


    ~Have a lovely day!

  24. I admire your devotion to your animals! And please throw away those boots. You could have been seriously hurt from your fall!

  25. I'm so glad you didn't get hurt when you fell. The de-icer looks like it's working well and I bet you're glad there is no more chopping of ice - at least there! Brrrrrrrrrrrr looks too cold for me. Hugs!

  26. That's interesting, about leaving the snow on the animals' backs.
    So much work you have!


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