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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Coming up for (warmer) air.

Top of the mountain -
my drive to work.
We made it pretty much unscathed through the worst of the arctic weather.  I believe that was only because we did not get the high winds (or as much of them) as predicted.  But the house was all snap, crackle, pop all night, the dogs were double-blanketed, Kramer slept with me.  It must have been cold, because he did not move from under his double-down nest. 

It's almost impossible to photograph black cats.
Especially when you are a "challenged" photographer.
Kramer's little pink/black nose is nested
right next to Pepper's black head.
I had kept the master bathroom cabinet open and the faucets on drip-mode because that is the only water line that freezes.  However, the faucet still functioned while the toilet did not.  I rummaged around and found my heating pad, plugged it in, and wrapped it like a cosy around the water line to the tank.  In a half-hour, it was running again.  Bingo!

While I still won't put the thermostat up over 55* (hey - anyone want to come visit during the winter??), I do turn on the electric heater in the living room.  I just can't wait to get my electric bill for this month. 

The dogs don't go further than two feet from the steps of the deck.  Pepper shot out the door last night and made a beeline for the chicken coop, outside of which is a rich deposit of his favorite snack.  Ahem.  Lovey was right behind him.  BUT, while Lovey was able to make it back to the deck without freezing her paws (she goes so fast she levitates), Pepper only limped halfway and stopped.  I was prepared and trotted out to retrieve him.  He went on something pitiful until I put him down inside the door - then he shot off to see if there was a molecule of dog dinner that he missed in any of the three bowls.  Drama queen. 

Scrappy is much more dramatic.  It's all in slow motion with the great, sorrowful brown eyes upon you.  I do feel for them, with their cold paws.  I rub his paws between my hands until they warm up, while he leans against me and sighs.  I hope he lives forever.

The wool blanket curtain seemed to do the trick in the coop, although the brown leghorn shows signs of frostbite.  Not surprisingly, as the combs of the leghorns are not suited for any temps under 60.  But she is a trooper and always commandeers the same nesting box for the night.  It does help keep the warmth around her.  I had layered the boxes with a nice thick mulch of shavings so none of the eggs froze.  While I wouldn't call it balmy inside, it wasn't bad.  They had no interest in coming outside at all.  I moved the curtain over and opened their little door, just in case someone changed their mind.  I'd much rather let some fresh air in, than keep it too warm and damp.  Nothing knocks off chickens faster than respiratory illnesses.

From all signs, the sheep called a truce and were all snugged up in the barn.  Apria takes the main stage (center court) and the sheep cosy up around her.  They were all outside waiting for me this morning, looking no worse for the weather.

I, however, had to wear so many layers it made me worry that I would fall over and lay there until spring.  Kay used to say that I ought to wear blaze orange so that someone would spot me.  Not a bad idea.  Even though I let the car warm up before heading off to work, it took me most of the hour drive to thaw my fingers.  My feet still felt like blocks of ice.  The forecast for the next few days is a slow inching up of the temps to a downright balmy 20*!!!

18 comments:

  1. glad you are getting through the cold! i keep my thermostat on 52 and my family is always freezing. i keep telling them to add more clothes. i hate a warm house!

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    1. Jaz - My parents always kept their thermostat low. And they are still living on their own in their 90s. I think we have something there! Of course, now that they are in their 90s, they do crank it up to 65...

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  2. I don't know why we put ourselves through this and not move to a warmer climate. Looks like the cat has the right idea. We learn so much from them. ;-) You do have lots to concern yourself with when housing animals. Sounds like you know what you are doing, though. I'm waiting, too, for warmer weather. Deb

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    1. Deb - I wish I could photograph cats as well as you do. Of course, yours are much more behaved.

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  3. We're having that kind of weather here too, Susan...temps hovering at 0 and winds of 30 mph. Not a good combination. The dogs (even my Caylee, who we call Snowdog in the winter, because she loves it so--will go out and lay on her belly in the snow!) are not going out much or staying out long.. I do keep my thermostat at 67 as I get a little crippled up by the cold, and my house is drafty, so it's always chilly. We do what we can. lol Beautiful pictures !!

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    1. Akannie - Oh, honey! I feel your pain!! The house wasn't the only thing going snap, crackle, pop this morning...

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  4. Something that I do not handle well at all (and it seems to be getting worse as time goes on) is driving (or riding) on icy or slippery roads. That picture of you driving to work on "the top of the mountain" actually make my stomach lurch. I am such a wimp.

    Making sure the animals are taken care of in frigid weather is a real responsibility. (For responsibly-minded people, of course.) Sounds as though no one who lives with you suffers much though. I think the doggies have you trained however. Their little footsies shouldn't bother them that much for their brief forays unless they get ice balls stuck between their toes.

    This winter we've decided to dress more warmly in the house and keep the temp under 70. Some days, waaaay under 70. It's funny what you get used to. Our inside temp right now is only 59, I'm letting all wood stoves die out so I can clean out ashes and we're both quite comfortable. (Or numb. One of the two.)

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    1. Mama Pea - I will admit that I get a might queasy myself, going up and over some of these roads. We cancel all walks until the temps are in the mid-upper 20s. It just doesn't make sense. Also, there is the problem of the salted roads. I don't mind layers at all. It helps disguise the underlying layers, if you catch my drift...

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  5. I don't envy your winters but you sure know how to handle them. It is so nice to hear how much you love those pups.

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  6. I have to admit, as long as I have my wonderful, thoughtful, darling husband to hack down trees and split wood, I'll keep the house in the 70's. I LOVE the heat. The drawback though is, of course, the extra time that is spent (by Paul) in the wood lot. The GOOD think about my love of heat is that during the summer months, I hardly turn on the AC; I'm just fine with it in the mid to even upper 80's in the house.

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    1. Carolyn - Well, I guess I won't be seeing you until August... I like wood heat but it's difficult to regulate. I am much more of a cold-weather person than a hot-weather person. But even I have my limits.

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  7. Susan,

    Be careful driving those icy mountainous roads!!! I'm at home today, won't venture out until tomorrow for a doctors appointment later in the afternoon. Temperature in our home during the winter is usually 67 degree's. My husband has severe arthritis so I keep the place nice and comfy for him. I have arthritis and bursitis too but don't need it this warm. Now our dog, Beans he's spoiled to death. This dog hates going out to snow to do his business, he will run out to the edge of the concrete on the patio in the back and not want to go into the snow. I have to holler at him to "GO", then he will venture into the snow. While doing his business, he gives me the stink eye, then runs slowly holding one paw up at a time to make me feel real guilty. Of course, I warm his paws up and make sure there's no ice in between his pads.

    This dog of ours watches my husbands chair in the living room. He waits for my husband to leave it, then jumps up in it to lay on the heating pad. Talk about spoiled!!!

    Stay warm, give the pups a scratch behind their ears.

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    1. Sandy - I love your dog's name! Beans! How adorable! Of course he is spoiled. All dogs deserve no less. I had to laugh - two of my dogs and the skinny cat (Kramer) all like the same spot on the sofa. The two who are NOT on it, lurk until the one who IS on it moves. It's hysterical. And I can't, for the life of me, figure out why that one spot is so popular.

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  8. Oh, that road looks treacherous. Take care, my friend – and yes, wear blaze orange.

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  9. I too keep my house cool in the winter. We have it at 18 celcius (64 farenheit) so its cool. We have wheat bags (flannel filled with dry wheat) that we warm in the microwave and we keep them on our laps, back, slide into bed before getting into - keeps us cosy! The cats (we have 4) love theirs too. Our Manx cat Abbey has her own....she's spoiled just a little! :) I hope the weather stays decent for you - we are locked in for this until March I am afraid....

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  10. Animals are tough, especially with all the TLC :)

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  11. 55? I'd freeze solid. I hope you have extra warm socks and gloves. When we lived in ND, I refused to check the weather because it was so depressing. Here's hoping for a warm front. :o)

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  12. I thought I kept my house cool! The thermostat is set at 67F (but the master bedroom is only ever 62F by the thermometer on the clock) I like it a bit cooler when I sleep but you are seriously hard core! My kids frequently sleep in hoodies :)

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