Friday, December 31, 2010

TWELVE BELOW

It doesn't feel that bad, but that's what it is outside.  There is bright sunshine, clear unpoluted blue sky, and dazzling white all over everything.  Trees have branches breaking off from the weight.  I took a garden rake out to try to remove some snow from them, but it was too little too late.  Nature had dumped too much, and some old trees and branches are just lying down and giving up.  There are strange looking icicles coming out of the roof edge snow.  They seem to be made up of individual drops that froze in place, making the icicle not so much smooth ice as faceted, like long dripping diamond jewelry. 

The dropping temperature woke me around 3:30 a.m. as the fire was fading.  The wood on the porch seems to be impregnated with ice, not just damp.  It has to be dried out by the stove before it's of any use inside as firewood.  Fortunately, it's a soapstone lined stove, and it keeps radiating heat long after the fire has gone out.  They are frightfully expensive.  I thank my daughter mentally every day for such a lavish gift.  The cold would not be maneagable without that gorgeous stove.

 I worry about Buster, the border collie.  His feet must be suffering from this frigid ice on the ground.  Yet he won't quit his appointed rounds, which consist in herding The Boss around as he does his jobs, even in this cold.  The Boss once told me he was in a 40-below winter.  He could take a cup of warm water, toss the water up into the air, and watch it become falling ice crystals in an instant.  We haven't reached that point yet. 

I have actually put a space heater down in the crawl space so the washing machine pipes do not freeze.  One also has to keep all cupboard doors open and the hot water faucets on slow drip. 

We have had periodic power outages.  I slept through two of them.  The huge towers owned by the company, Avista, can be seen from my windows.  Some of them have osprey nests on them, covered with icicles and snow, empty until next season. 

One of the former milk cows, Serenity, is being traded for a couple of others.  She's the one who kept kicking The Boss during milking.  A more ill tempered cow they have never seen.  She's a beauty, though.  Palomino colored Jersey cow.  Someone is getting a good deal.  She'll be a good breeder.  If she doesn't kick the crap out of the bull.

I wrapped up in several layers to walk out and watch them separate her from the other girls in
Chuck's harem.  Chuck was beside himself with glee, leaping in the air and dancing around, all because humans (the best toys) were there.  He wanted to play so much.  But The Boss and his wife were all business.  I guess if you have been in the business for most of your life, you don't get excited about a playful Jersey bull, no matter how rare.  But I'm just a damned-fool foreigner, and I adore that crazy bull.

Happy New Year to all,
s

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