I could feel my breath freeze in my nose. Bud kept to the shoveled path and Fate was hopping around on the snow-covered ground. We didn’t stay out long, just enough for the dogs to do their business and for me to clean it up.
The thermometer outside the kitchen window read zero degrees. The drop in temperature came quickly and unexpectedly. I put on extra layers to feed the donkeys and sheep.
Lulu and Fanny greeted me at the gate, as usual, their whiskers, laced with frost. I threw some hay over the fence to divert the animals’ attention. They would get grain this morning to help keep them warm, but I didn’t want to be mobbed by the sheep. Once they saw the bucket they would know I had grain and would surround me till I dumped it in the feeders.
I like to think I can fool the sheep and donkeys, but I’m not always successful.
Everything changes when it gets this cold including the sound of snow under my boots. That’s what I noticed most this morning how so many things sounded different.
The small pellets of sheep manure chimed like a shovel full of plastic beads when I threw them on the manure pile. Constance and Robin butted heads with a low thud that seemed to evaporate in the air. And the cars on Route 22 were louder.
I filled up the bird feeder and made a note to get some more suet. I gave the hens fresh water and more laying mash but didn’t bother to open the door. Without the sun shining, I knew they wouldn’t be coming out anytime soon.
I took a break and went back to the house to warm up my hands before finishing the morning chores. The cold came so quick I didn’t have a chance to adjust to it.
Now it’s 5pm the windows inside the farmhouse darkly reflecting the lights within. I’m sitting in the living room, with a blanket around my shoulders, the woodstoves clicking and breathing warmth.
Winter is here.