Routine

That’s Siegfried (second from the left) with his girls Jill, Nichole, Annette, and Aster. This small breeding group was established just over a month ago with much fuss and running about. All is quiet now, and that’s good, we’ll have lambs come spring. I captured this colorful sunset two weeks ago when the grass still held its color and one could make out leaves on the distant trees. Change has been upon us and we had a windy night and a cold start this morning. The thermometers registered 55ºF in the living room and 15º outside. Joanna did not stir until I had set fires in both stoves. The wood we are using in the cook stove is last year’s surplus. It has been exposed to the elements and shows its age; it is less dense than it was and can’t quite take the stove through the night. Moreover, the wind and cold combined to increase the draft and the thing went out sometime before dawn. I have yet to go out to do chores but have seen signs that the animals too have registered the abrupt change in the weather. The dogs would prefer to be out of the wind. Argus lay deep within one of the sheds and has yet to unfurl. Hank is waiting patiently by the barn. Although the horses have situated themselves to catch the warmth of the rising sun their twitching ears belie their otherwise immobile stances … they anticipate their daily scoop of grain. I have shooed the chickens from the front porches several times already; like the horses they too are doing what they can to warm themselves. Nuthatches, Titmice, and Chickadees have queued politely in the bare branches of the Mulberry. They take turns at the feeders in constant but unhurried succession. The absence of cats is unusual. I know however that Harry, Calvin, Peter, Onyx, Tolly, Moses, and Merlin have each ensconced themselves comfortably somewhere … in a hay bale or in some sunlit corner out of the wind. They, like the dogs, will resume their appointed rounds later, when the sun has warmed the frigid morning air. Sounds too tell of the conditions out-of-doors. Joanna put out the laundry and I can hear the clothes line straining as blankets catch the wind like mainsails on a summer’s day. The stoves too respond to each rising gust. Most times the swift movement of wind across the chimney tops ensures good daft and quick fires below. Rarely however, due to chaotic and turbulent flow across and down the tile, we experience a brief reversal of the usual tide, an event which stirs us from our seats. I will gather my energy, don boots, gloves, hat, and coverall to do chores. Liquid water will have turned to ice, a sure sign that it is time for the annual ritual of installing water heaters. All of the animals will note my departure from the house and slow walk to the barn. Their attentions will focus on what I am doing and how my actions may influence theirs. It is another day with much to attend to. The earth will turn, daylight will dwindle, evening will descend, and night will come again. The animals will forage, rest, chew, and then settle down to sleep. Each of us will endeavor to do it all again come light of day.

Sheep3

%d bloggers like this: