Saturday, January 26, 2019

Does Anyone Wash a Carhartt?

My friend leaves her Carhartts to the garage. Mine stay in the mud room, far from any coat or jacket that ever leaves the farm.

I bought my Carhartt coat years ago during an after-Christmas sale. Had I known how long it would last, or how much I'd like it, I would never have settled for pink.

But the pink Carhartt became my go-to coat for shoveling manure, moving hay, working dogs, carrying wood, cleaning fence rows and birthing lambs. It's not bulky, but provides warmth, breaks the wind and, if I'm not outside for too long and it's not raining too hard, is somewhat water resistant.

Several years old now, it wears its history well.

The fresh pink marks are from the livestock spray paint can that I shoved into my pocket as I grabbed for inspection. I heard the squirts of paint as I was wrapped my arm around the animal, but opted to hold onto the ewe rather than save my jacket.

Many parts of the jacket, especially the sleeves, are now frayed from everyday wear.

The pocket, though, had help from a hard-working Border collie who smelled, and freed, treats.

The coat could definitely use a bath, but I really don't want to put it in our washing machine. And, would a washed coat repel the wind and rain as well?

I'll give it another year, or two, or three without a bath. Or, if I want to hasten its demise, I could always put more dog treats in the pockets.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

No Day for Daydreamers...

The sun was out and the wind just a whisper.

That's a rare thing during winter in Ohio.

Even though it was 5 degrees, I stepped into my skis and took off across the fields into the sparkling wonder.

A winter storm had glazed the existing snow cover in ice and then frosted it with more snow. Now, even two days later, much of the ice remained.

Because I ski around farm fields--that's what I have around me, I don't have to focus on tree limbs or obstacles in my path. I can just take in the winter time and let my thoughts wander.

But on this day, I discovered I'd have to pay attention to the terrain. While the fields looked snow covered, there were areas where the wind had blown the snow away, leaving patches of ice.

Though I was going just 5 miles per hour, when I hit those patches, my skis skittered and my arms helicoptered in an attempt to stay upright.

And so instead of daydreaming as much, I watched for ice and tried to keep my knees and feet closer together, and I skied on.

Because the sun was out, the wind was still, and it was a beautiful winter day in Ohio.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

While Others Buy Bread and Milk...

The weather forecast predicted single digit temperatures, up to 10 inches of snow and 45 mph wind gusts later in the day.

So, I took an extra long dog walk in the morning. The dogs didn't seem to mind the freezing rain and ice pellets piling up on their backs.

Emma was too busy hunting rabbits to notice the freezing rain.

Caeli, now 13+ years old, loves the daily walks.
Jack says working sheep would be more fun.

If the weather forecast is correct, they'll be spending a few days hanging out in the house.

I let the horses out into the pasture. The Haflingers are designed for the cold, and only come to the barn for feeding.

Emma and I then drove the sheep out to the hay feeders in the pasture.

I then went to work preparing for the storm. I moved hay feeders under the barn's overhang and set up a wind block for the sheep.

I brought in armload after armload of firewood.

And, then I grabbed a book and made popcorn.

Who eats break and milk during a snowstorm?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chicken Little

The Buckeyes are okay with snow. The
Wyandotte? Meet our newest barn

When the snow started falling Saturday morning, two Buckeye hens peered out of the chicken coop and opted to stay inside where it was dry, and food and water were plentiful.

Three other Buckeye hens and the Silver Laced Wyandotte did what they also do; they ventured out to roam the pastures and visit the sheep and horse barn where they were sure to find bits of grain and seeds among the hay chaff.

As the snow continued to fall, they lazed and scratched under the barn's lean-to. When the sun began setting, they noticed the wide swath of snow that separated them from their chicken coop.

Collectively they decided that could not walk through 5 inches of snow, and it was certainly too great a distance to fly. Allowing me to catch and carry them was also out of the question.

And so, as the afternoon faded into evening, I walked back and forth from the chicken coop to the barn, stomping the snow and creating a path for the chickens. They refused to leave the barn.

I, though, was cold and hungry and more than willing to leave the barn. I'd return in a few hours when they were roosting, grab them and carry them to the coop.

But, when I checked the hen house a few hours later, I found all five Buckeye hens on their roost and snoozing. The Silver Laced Wyandotte was by roosting by herself in the barn. Unlike the Buckeyes, she refused to put her dainty chicken claws in the snow.

Now, days later, the Buckeyes are okay with the snow and happily traverse the path from the coop to the barn. But that Wyandotte remains in the barn, waiting for the snow to melt.

Walk in the snow? No thank you,
I'm a chicken.