Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Winter Wonderland

We woke up on Sunday to a white winter wonderland. Over two inches had fallen and had gently blanketed the valley. It was offset by a low hanging mist that hung over the valley, like a fur cape on a model. The flock was huddled like fat snowballs under a snow capped evergreen while the horse rolled in her new white pasture. Kodiak, the Great Pyrenees was sleeping with his charges and the ewe lambs from this year laid next to his face as they did when they were wee ones this spring.

The dog’s breath hung in the air and sharp nips of the wind upon my face made me walk faster to the barn. Tess ran gaily along and then stuck her head into the snow and made snow furrows. Nan loped delicately with her tail in the air and barked at the stray flakes that wafted by her face.

I could feel my heart thumping and it was due to all excitement. I tossed a snowball for Tess and it disintegrated in her jaws and she ran back to me for a new one. I turned the other dogs loose and they ran about in the snow in excitement. Finn took a corner too fast and slid on the ice sheet and as he slid by, I could see the look in his eyes of “Say, what??” Belle, having just come from the Dakotas, was used to the snow. The black and white streaks entertained themselves by the pond while I went to feed.

Fat snowballs shook the snow off their back and came trotting up to the barn and the Arabian pranced the two step while Kodiak held up the back of the pack. The white geese blended into the white snow and only their orange feet betrayed their existence. The chickens peered out and ruffled their feathers at being disturbed.

I wore the parka that my brother had given to me at Thanksgiving. It was thick with goose down and encased me past my hips. I was warm and it even had hood that fit snug over my head. I forgot my gloves and that was the only part of me that was cold. Getty and I filled the feeders with alfalfa and corn for the fowl.

The dogs were done with their workout and threw themselves in the barn floor, their tongues hanging out dripping with beads of water and their sides heaving from their exertion. Their eyes glowed and their tails thumped on the gravel floor.

I have been working on building up my stamina so I have carrying more hay each day. Today I nabbed four to six leaves and heaved them in the feeders. My upper body strength is returning but I still feel my incision. I had overdid it last week and it still is sore. So no more climbing up and down stairs or any leg work. I don’t have my stamina for running back yet but I am getting better at walking longer distances without being exhausted.

The morning feeding was done and we all trudged back to the house. We kicked off our boots and shook off the excessive snow. Hot coffee was brewing in the kitchen and we settled into the couches to warm up.

Mid morning arrived and I went to work Nan. Today was the day of the “Herding and potluck/gift exchange” and I texted/called people to let them know it was rescheduled for next week. I got in touch with everyone except for Janet/Jerril and Ben. As I got to the barn, who should but show up? Janet and her husband, Jerril. We decided to work dogs and then have lunch later. Getty was making Gumbo for the potluck. I called Getty to let him know that the potluck was cancel but we would be up later for Gumbo. Ben arrived as we were loading up the dogs. We dragged him along so he could work Tess. We all went to the far field to work the dogs. It was snow covered with the picket fences peeking out like soldiers at alert and looked like a scene from Norman Rockwell.

We worked the dog for over an hour and it was a pleasure to see white powder puffs being moved by black and white balls. We put alfalfa out to hold the sheep and after a bit, you could see the paths they had wore to the pile. We ran a course and drove the sheep all over the field. Janet worked Scott, Ben worked Tess and I ran Nan. We all had fun and Janet and Ben got good on their lines, both driving and fetching. The dogs frolicked in the spring as shook the frozen water crystals all over us.

I felt good after the jaunt in the far field and the brisk walks did me good. It was nice to come back to the house and not be so exhausted that I had to take a nap. Getty was finishing up the Gumbo and Ben made a salad. The salad had beans, veggies, cheese, avocado and other assorted goodies in it. It was a meal in itself. The Gumbo had over a pound of crab, tons of shrimp and andouille sausage. It hit the spot and warmed us from the inside. Janet made “sheep cupcakes”. They had ears, shaved coconut for the wool, black mouths, noses and eyes. It was very cute and very creative. Janet has some of the best ideas!!

They were tasty as well as cute!!

It was a great lunch and we all ate well. Later, after everyone left, the girls and I did the evening feeding. The temperature had dropped more and there was no more dawdling around this time. I talked to my mom that night as she was supposed to come over on Monday. I told her that we would talk on Monday to see if the snow had melted.

On Monday, the roads were clear but it was cold and icy so we postponed the trip until next week. It was still like the frozen tundra on Monday. However, we did not rest at all. Tony came over to get my truck and Tony and Getty had to pull the canopy off. The fuel sensor in my fuel tank was not working properly so Tony took my truck to put in a new fuel pump unit. He brought it back today, all fixed up and ready to go!! Thank you, Tony!!

We hung out in the house for the next few days aside for the brief training sessions and feeding. I decided to do some belated spring cleaning and donated 3 large boxes of books, 2 boxes of clothes and one box of toys. Getty was not amused that I had a sudden inspiration for cleaning.

Tonight as I write this, Tess is snuggled next to me on the couch, Nan is at my feet and Rainey is in the dog bed. Tess knows my leg still hurts so she has been very cautious. Getty just gave me a heaping bowl of ice cream and an Italian Cherry Soda and I am in deep reflection of how just lucky I am.

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