Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Looking out and not down.

I find this piece of advice to work in almost every circumstance - in the mirror, one can zero in on a single eye.  And ignore the rest.  Say, not looking down to discover one cannot see their shoes.  Driving - over high bridges.  Nuff said.  Outside - trying desperately to find beauty in the endless frost/snow/ice.  Of course, the not-looking-down part could also be a little dicey vis a vis patches of ice.

I could have used that last piece of advice last night.  I had left work early to donate blood - I used to donate on a regular basis, way back, many lives ago.  I even was a regular platelet donor, a process that would take almost 2 hours.  Then the new hires at the Red Cross had less than stellar phlebotomy skills and I would leave looking like a black and blue pincushion.   A very interesting church (architecturally speaking - it's round) that I pass twice a day on my way to/from work, hosts regular blood drives.  One of the types they need is mine, so I always mean to leave early and stop on my way home, but - since it is more than 5 minutes from there to work - I always forget.  This time I remembered and made an appointment online.  Once there, I discovered a few things about myself:  I am chatty, as in yadda, yadda, yadda, when I am the slightest bit nervous.  I don't mind the needle in the arm, but the prick on my finger tip makes me woozy.  And I had to get pricked twice, since they couldn't find any iron in my blood the first time - due to the fact that my hands were so cold, the blood really hadn't made it up to my fingertips.  I was allowed to warm them up and the second try garnered plenty of iron.  Ouch.  I am stubborn.  I wanted to leap off the gurney, grab my coat and head home with my bottle of free water.  I almost got away with it, having successfully cowed the young nurselet, but then I ran into the formidable nurse who had been in charge of me and could easily read my mind.  I meekly sat down for five minutes with a packet of raisins.

Anyhoo, short story too long, I headed home and was delighted to see that my neighbor had plowed around my mailbox - it rose in a snowy, icy island, clear enough for even my picky postal carrier to reach.  I then looked up and out to enjoy the fact that it wasn't pitch dark, my foot slipped on the gas pedal, I hit a patch of ice, and went plowing into the giant ice/snow berm at the side of the driveway.  Where I was firmly mired. 

I would like to say that I handled the situation with grace and aplomb.  I would like to, but I can't.  A blue cloud lifted over me and sailed down the street.  Even the dogs ceased barking frantically, and just let out little yips.  I stomped in, let them out and then called my farmer neighbor.  I knew he was still at the barn, since I drove past on my way home.  Yup, he would stop on his way home.  He had me pulled clear in three minutes. I couldn't even mollify my bruised ego with a glass of wine, having been given a long list of 'don'ts' by the Head Nurse.  I had to settle for a cup of herbal tea.  It just wasn't the same.

Monday, February 23, 2015

For those of you who asked for it (you know who you are...)

I am currently not on speaking terms with Mother Nature.  She of the sadistic sense of humor.  Yesterday morning it was 22 and peaked at 33!  This morning was 7 and is heading south rapidly - and I don't mean like tropical south.

I had just shoveled.  Then it snowed
again.  A lot.

Back deck - I'm running out of
room to toss the snow.

From deck to coop.  You can see the
little 'present' the dogs left me.  In
the middle of the path.

Front deck to carport.  Guess there's
no chance of the carport blowing

This week looks to be another repeat of the past three.  Hopefully, without the snow.  I had my friend, Lisa, over for dinner yesterday and the snow piled on either side of the path was almost as high as she was.  She cheerfully noted that, should she fall, she wouldn't go far if she fell sideways.  I ushered her in and we tucked into scalloped potatoes, roasted herbed chicken thighs with cranberry infused sauce, steamed broccoli and apple/peach crisp for dessert.  Then we discussed long underwear, skunks in cellars, egg freezing, milking difficulties in below-zero temps, the price of milk, knitting, families, dogs, and fracking pros and cons.  Actually, there were no 'pros' to the fracking part of the conversation.  I would love to say that my dogs were wonderfully behaved, but that would be a bald-faced lie.  While they do not overtly beg at the table when I'm dining solo, add a guest and there is no getting rid of them.  Pepper little noggin pops up between ones knees.  Lovey rests her little chin on one's thigh and casts worried, starving looks your way.  Scrappy leans heavily, large, sorrowful brown eyes inevitably directed at me - wasting away from hunger by the second.  It is embarrassing.  The best that I can muster is to get them out of physical contact - and then they circle the table like benign sharks.

However, once the guests leave, they do an amazingly thorough job on the greasy pots and pans.  I was thinking of renaming Pepper, "Brillo".

Friday, February 20, 2015

Enough of the vagaries of my life. Let's get down to business.

Pepper in a contemplative moment.  Possibly
remembering green grass.
While I have been rusting on my laurels, celebrating the fact that all major pathways have been shoveled and maintained, a dim bulb went on when I realized that I needed to get more hay.  Thanks to the relentless duo of frigid temps and near-constant snowfall, access to the barn on the human side is extremely limited.  Getting into and out of the door (especially out of, with a half-bale of hay in my arms) is like doing the sideways limbo.  Suck in that gut! 

One of these years, I will think ahead.  Then I got an email from my propane supplier reminding us that we need to be kind to our delivery guys and make sure that they have clear access to tanks.  Oh.  In order for my propane to be delivered, you have to make it through the gate in the chicken yard fence, through the chicken yard, around the corner of the house and into the tank.  Do you want to take a guess at how much of that is shoveled?  I have been pretty good at keeping the gate clear, having learned my lesson on how much more work it is to drag 50# bags of chicken feed through the house, across the deck, down the stairs and out to the coop.  I chipped a short path to the tank to check the level (35%) and I just might be able to hold out until the end of March.

I am not letting it get me down, however, because I have reached that point in February when the delusion delirium (DD) sets in.  That time when, after peeking ahead to the forecast into the next month or so, I know it won't last forever, this forever-seeming winter.  There is a light at the end of this Arctic tunnel.  It usually coincides with the arrival of my seed order.  In a few short weeks, the sap lines will appear in the woods around me.  I will be cutting up my bars of Irish Spring soap to hang from my willow bushes.  About a half-ton of dog 'business' will be unearthed/snowed in the chicken yard.  I will find a renewed will to knit (as perverse as that sounds, it always happens).

I have quite a few projects to be completed this year.  I can so relate to Mama Pea's double-spaced two page to-do list...some of them will be challenging: crawling under the house to the far end to see what damage has been done to the insulation around my master bath pipes.  And fixing it.  I'm claustrophobic and am sure that the damage was done during the Great Rat Outbreak.  Nuff said.  And there is the roofing of the run-in shed (heights).  And lining at least two raised beds with hardware cloth (the cursed voles).  But I am floating in the soft glow of DD and it all sounds marvelous...

Now for some True Confessions.  I spent 5.99 at the grocery store.  I went in to pick up some things for my parents, who have been snowbound, and I bought organic baby spinach from Massachusetts because I couldn't walk by the bin.  Not bad and all that, but, still.  I blame my weakness on lack of iron in my diet - ergo, the spinach.  Right?  Right??

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Odd Memories, Part 2.

That monkey memory got me thinking about my other experience with masses of beings (besides my ex-life in NYC - the animal-type masses were much more enjoyable).  Although by now we all know that I am not a beach/water person, back in my early-mid-ex-life, I went to the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) during one rather brutal Cleveland winter.  This was also the time when the only 'live' stock I tended were a pair of curmudgeonly Hermit Crabs, named Christian and Dior.  They were named thusly as it always took AGES for them to try on and settle on new shell overcoats.

It was my first trip to someplace exotic.  I will have to say that, even though I am not the sun worshiping/sunbathing/bikini type, it was a wonderful vacation.  The sun was saturated in a way not felt in the north.  The beaches were white, you got to drive on the left side of the road, iguanas and goats darted everywhere.  Bougainvillea covered most of the trash. 

I did two things that were very much outside of my comfort zone while there.  I went on a large sailing vessel to St. John's Island for a picnic lunch with a group and I went snorkeling.  Not only am I terrified of being on the water, I suffer from sea sickness.  And motion sickness.  However, once the ship got a full wind in her sails (that is nauticalese for going fast), I was too busy watching the sea gulls and birds and dolphins to think about pitching overboard and drowning or being eaten by sharks or sea monsters.  I was so fired-up when I got back to the dock, that I signed up for snorkeling lessons.

In order to attract fish to adventure-seeking tourists, the fellow in charge gave us each a hunk of bread to break up once we got going.  Once I realized that I could actually breath through the snorkel without drowning (I was trying not to think of sharks), I relaxed and bobbed in the turquoise waters, pinching off bits of sodden bread, leaving a trail of flotsam in my wake.  The first fish to come were small groupers (I love grouper in a carnivorous way).  Then there were all sorts and manner of bright little fish, darting around me, gobbling up the floating bread crumbs.  Then there were much larger groupers.  Much.  Then there were about one million small, medium and large fish inhaling what was left of my bread.  Then, it seemed, they turned their fishy eyes on me.  All of a sudden, they were taking bites of my t-shirt (I burn easily and was swimming with one over my suit).  And then my snorkel gear.  I managed to turn in a blind panic and churn towards shore.  I staggered out of the surf and didn't stop moving until I was a quarter of a mile from the water. 

I vowed never to eat grouper again. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Eleven things you didn't know you needed to know about me.

I am sure, by now, that you know waaaay more than you need to about me.  But, since I managed to totally forget that nice NancyPo had nominated me for a Liebster Award....

Here we go:

1.  When you were a child, what was your dream job? Do you have that job today?  I wanted to be a cowgirl.  I wanted to ride horses all day, rope cattle and roll my own cigarettes.  Of those three things, the only thing I accomplished (more or less) was to roll my own cigarettes.  Ahem.  No, today I am doing three things that I dislike intensely - commuting a long distance, working with lawyers, and having to deal with state legislators.

2.  What are your 3 favorite books?  This is a tough one.  I love so many books.  All time favs would be - Alice in Wonderland, A Confederacy of Dunces; The Beak of the Finch.
3.  If you have to move out of the country, where would you move to?  Did that - to the Netherlands.  If I had to move somewhere else, it would be Tuscany, but I would rather discover all the places I have not seen in this country first.
4.  Can you cook?  Why, yes, I can.  To my detriment, as I never bother cutting a recipe in half and then eat the whole thing by myself. 
5.  Is there any post you’ve been planning to do, but have been postponing for awhile now?  Something that would make me a living legend.  Obviously, it will take more than awhile.
6.  If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?  This always makes me think of my friend, Rosie.  When she would meet a fellow on a dating site, one of her first questions was, "What is your super power?"  I don't know what answers she got, but mine would have answered, "the power to pull the wool over your eyes".  I digress.  My super power would be the ability to fly like a bird.  I may have a fear of heights, but I also have a love of large vistas.  Plus, it would be a neato keeno way of escaping from the bad guys.
7.  Do you prefer the beach or the mountain? Why?  I am a mountain girl.  No beaches for me, as I am terrified of water (as in being in or on it).  Mountains make me feel that I am closer to the beginning of everything, even if we were supposed to have wiggled out of the water as some kind of legless blobs.  Mountains make me all weepy and, yet, feeling that I can do anything.
8.  What movie did you love to watch as a child?  The Wizard of Oz.  My sisters and I would get to watch it each year in my parent's bedroom.  We would be in their bed, under the covers, with lots of pillows at our backs.  The covers would be pulled up just below our noses - waiting for the appearance of the Wicked Witch.  We would haul those covers up and over our heads, screeching in terror!
9.  What is something that you learned recently?  I'm working on learning to drop spindle spin.  It's not going well, but I am determined.  I have also been learning to preserve by different means than by canning.  That has been interesting.
10.  What is your favorite season of the year and why?  Late Summer, into Fall.  Or Fallish.  The garden has reached its peak, the heat of Summer has died back, the leaves start to color, the air is rich with ozone.  I am looking forward to a Winter rest.  (That part nearly made my laugh so hard I choked.)
11.  What TV series do you watch?  I have not watched television for over ten years.  It has been very freeing.  I will admit that, every time I see a clip of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on YouTube, it makes me cry with loss. 
Now you know even MORE about me.  If you have any complaints, go tell NancyPo.  Kidding. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Winter Down Time - Myth or Reality?

I am beginning to think that the entire concept of "Down Time" during winter is a myth of epic proportions.  It's like Government Intelligence (oops - oxymoron) or that Daylight Savings Time actually saves something.  I will admit that I had a rather outrageously ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish this winter.  How many have I accomplished?  Nada, nil, nuthin.  Except that I have read two books.  Whoop-de-do-dah.  I am either spending half the weekend in Vermont, then shoveling snow, unfreezing gates, schlepping water, raking roofs, or sitting in frozen in the doldrums of lack of light and warmth.  It stinks.

Besides my limited weekends, I am in no mood to do something creative and fun when I get home from a long, dark, hair-raising commute.  I am thrilled when I can slog through my chores without forgetting something.  Then it's almost time for bed.

I had hoped to cross one thing off my list - to see the Monet Kelly show at a local museum - when my sister comes for a visit this weekend.  However, the combination of an expected high temperature of zero, compounded by the fact that the day we can go is the day they have Family Fun Day - swarms of children and their parents will be all over the grounds and inside the museum (where it's warmer), makes it highly unlikely.  She teaches fourth grade and I am sure she would like a break from screaming kids.  I have no tolerance anymore for screaming anything (unless I am doing the screaming....Pepper....) and crowds make me itch.  I am scrambling to find a Plan B.

I could make myself sit down and map out my garden, but meh.  I could finish the living room floor, but that's not fun or creative.  I could attack the other side of my craft closet, but my moxie has lost it's stuffing.  Poop.  The only thing I seem to want to do is cook and cram chocolates down my gullet.  And I'm not even a big fan of chocolate.  Let's hope spring arrives soon, or I will need that giant tin of extra virgin olive oil I'm squirreling away in the pantry to lube up the doorways so I can get my massive fanny outside to enjoy the sun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Odd Memories.

Image from cached

Every once in a while, a sharp - but odd - memory will burble up.  I had one recently, when posting about the fluttering of chickadees around me on the deck.  Many, many (many) years ago, in another life, I was unemployed briefly and filled my time between job interviews with trips to the zoo.  One day I was the only visitor to the Monkey House and was watching a zoo keeper feed these little bitty monkeys.  Being the animal-smitten person that I am (and was and will be), I was riveted, face pressed against the glass separating us.

The zoo keeper noticed me staring and came out from a side door.  "Want to feed them?" he asked.  I almost peed my pants, I was so excited (delicately put, no?)  I trotted, all a-twitter, behind him and before I knew it, I was in their 'off-camera' quarters.  He gave me a handful of what looked to be trail mix (without the M&Ms) and the next thing I knew, I was COVERED in little monkeys.  I had little fingers poking in my ears, trying to pry open my fist to get at the mix, hunting in my pockets.  It was an out-of-body experience.  They were chattering away, busy, busy, busy.  After about 10 minutes, the keeper came to my rescue and dinged on a metal dish that apparently held something quite wonderful, because they all made a beeline for him and I was able to scoot out the door.

I walked around in a daze (noting that the thoroughly unattractive orangutan was named Susie), until it was time to go to my next interview.  Where, unknown to me, I entered their offices with monkey poop down my back and my hair standing on end from little hands.  Not surprisingly, it was a short interview with a shocked-looking HR person and I didn't get the job.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Musings.

Saturday was a wash, as far as getting anything of consequence done.  We had these Headlines of Doom, warning us of another terrible snow storm over the weekend.  It did not materialize, thank goodness, but it sure got everyone's attention.  My parents have been virtually snowed in for a week, so needed to get out shopping.  This involved multiple stops and took a long time.  I take it for granted that I can whiz through my multiple chore list without giving it much thought.  For my nonagenarian parents, it's exhausting.  And slooooooow.  I am getting better at calming myself down, slowing my expectations and just going with the flow. 

I can get 400# of feed in the back of my car!  Exciting news!!!  I occasionally pick up poultry feed for a neighbor when I get mine.  The mill is not on our way - ever - so when one of us is going, we save the other a trip.  I tend to go more because I have more chickens and they are bored and they are gluttons.  I can relate.

Faced with yet another round of snow (today), I had to face the snow load on my roof.  I did have a good day yesterday - I got to use lots of tools!  There was the Phillips head screw driver to reattach the light cover on one of the lights over my license plate.  There was the beloved cordless drill/screwdriver for tightening the storm door frame around my front door.  There was the wood chisel and heavy-duty hammer for chiseling off a 1/4 inch of wood that has been driving me mad all winter - my storm door was a bit longer than the original 'special' one, and the kickboard underneath had to be cut out to allow for the difference.  A certain (male) neighbor and I have had many go-arounds on how much needed to be taken off.  I finally took it into my own hands.  Plus, it was the first day in weeks that it wasn't in the single digits!  There was my medium-duty hammer for putting up the wool curtain in the chicken coop and for hanging the light/switch gizmo that will make turning on and off the coop light so much easier.  There was the roof rake.  Then there was the most important tool of all - the Ibuprofen.

It is amazingly difficult to maneuver a roof rake, IMHO.  That is especially so when one's rotator cuffs are virtually non-existent.  And when you need to maneuver through thigh-high snow.  I was contemplating putting on my snow shoes but my screwy logic took the upper hand.  I thought it would be much easier to fall if I was bound to those clodhoppers (I am not named Grace for very obvious reasons) and, if I was firmly embedded in deep snow, it would be impossible to fall over!  There you go!  I cleared the bottom 5 feet from the front - took a break to shovel all the snow I raked onto my paths; then cleared the back 5 feet and shoveled some more.  I then went in the house and made a note - next house will have a steeply pitched roof.  I then shoveled my way to the back gate, chiseled the gate clear of the ice (with my handy coal shovel), then schlepped 200# of chicken feed into the bins.  Dotty, the Spotted Sussex, trailed me the entire time.  It's like having another dog.

I love to fill the bird feeder on the deck railing.  I can stand still for a few minutes and then the chickadees start fluttering around me.  They are so tiny and brave!  I love the sound of their wings.

When I shoveled out to the sheep this morning, I was met by a shocking sight.  A rabbit had tried to bulldoze it's way through the fence on their gate and got trapped.  It had apparently tried to free itself so frantically that it had spewed blood all over.  The sheep were huddled together, traumatized (especially Norman, who seems to be very easily traumatized).  I thought it was dead, but it was just limp from fatigue.  I carefully pulled the wires apart and eased it out, then carried it over and laid it down under the pine trees.  I figured I would let it die in peace.  Five minutes later, it was up and huddled.  Five minutes after that, it was gone -- hopped away.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Since I seem to be spending all of my precious vacation days shoveling snow, I decided to quit widging and whining and do something more constructive with my time.  After I shovel, that is.

So, during the latest snocation day (Thursday), I completed my seed order for this year's garden.  (With a very special thanks to Sue for inadvertently directing me to Dixondale Farms!)  I will admit to a rather hysterical, it's-the-end-of-the-world-as-I-know-it kind of approach this year.  I usually calmly sit down and map out my beds on my graph paper.  Then I thoughtfully review last years goods/bads.  Then I studiously pore through all the seed catalogs, conscientiously noting price differences and organic, heirloom, sustainable seeds.  Right.  Quite frankly, I have a large amount of leftover seeds (see photo below) which I should be using exclusively.  But I am so fickle and superficial that I am easily swayed by pretty pictures....ding! drool!  (Pavlov reference...)

Notice large container of leftover
More honestly, this year's approach has been one of unquiet desperation - ripping through catalogs looking for solace in the photographs.  Some salient thoughts did burble up once in a while - less chard for the g/d voles; not so many beets (see previous); MORE SHALLOTS - but it was pretty much an ugly, disorganized affair.

Some changes - I'm switching to a pole variety for my green beans this year.  After being painfully curled in an "C" shape trying to find ripe beans last year, I've decided that pole beans have just got to be better.  Oh, and I also happened to get a nice pile o'bean seeds free from my pal in PA.  The yeller beans will still be bush types, but they're easier to see.  How's that for scientific gardening practices?

Only one type of winter squash this year.  Blue Hubbard.  They were the only squash that produced through the wilt last year.  And since I am trying desperately to find a spot that is not tainted by the stuff, having only one type to plant makes more sense.  (See?  It's all science-based.)

I've switched my seed potato loyalty from Fedco (they still get all my vege seed business, such as it is) to Peaceful Valley.  Even though I fear this is environmentally/carbonly incorrect, as Fedco is in Maine and PV is in California, the difference in the price for organic seed potato is amazing. 

This is the Year of Elderberries.  Or so I hope.  I am trying to diversify my 'crops'.

I am going to build a little greenhouse for a longer season of greens.  Especially because I am going to be growing five kinds of kale!  (This is the danger of ordering seeds when you are sitting and staring at another foot of snow on top of the three feet that were there already.)

Yes, Thursday a foot of snow fell on 'my special spot', as I am wont to call it now.  Less than three inches fell in the city.  Sigh.  It's not easy being geographically 'special'.  Or should that be 'challenged'? 

Quit musing, lady, and open the damn door!
It is getting so bad that I am running out of places to put the snow when I shovel.  The deck is piled up level to my head.  I am trying to break Pepper (hahahaha) of the habit of racing out to the coop to hunt for his favorite "treats".  Inevitably, after I have yelled at him to come in for ten minutes, he gets too cold to continue the journey back and I am having to suit up and go rescue him.  I tell you, being guardian to a doxie really keeps you on your toes.  Even though he is the last one served, he manages to Hoover up his dinner so quickly that he races over and bullies Scrappy out of his bowl (my boy is such a marshmallow).  So I am now feeding him in Lovey's crate with the door firmly latched.  Take that, Devil Dog.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Got Stress? And the Cats Riot. Or, Why I haven't been posting much.

The entire month of January reached the uppermost tippy-top of the list as the most stressful week IN MY WHOLE FREAKING LIFE.  Or at least as much of my life as I can remember - there are a lot of gray areas amongst the clear bits.  I thought I had seen the last dregs of hell last week, but NO.  After a grueling session with a lobbying auditor (think IRS times 500), I managed to lock my keys in my car.  Sigh.  While I am glad I have AAA, I am not glad that I had to wait over an hour and a half for someone to show up.  While I froze in the garage and got completely angst-ridden about the poor pups at home for close to 12 hours.  Some of that time was spent amusing myself, trying to guess where Pepper had peed.  I limped home on less than an eighth of a tank of gas - reassuring myself that this was the one night during the next five months where the temps were not dropping below zero so I would be/my car would be okay - and was greeted by hysteria.  Even the cats got in on the action.  They are usually above hysteria or showing any outward signs of emotion, good or bad.

The eve of the eve of the last night of January, there was terrorizing of dogs, plastic bags, toilet paper, stacks of books, frenetic scratching at their scratch waves, careening off of hallway walls, a couple of close calls with fragile objects.  Cupboard doors were flung open.  It was awe-inspiring in a terrifying way.

As a matter of fact, the cat hysteria did not stop until around midnight.  Finally falling asleep around one, I was up at 4 to find.... more snow!  Yippee!  I was so, so, so, so, glad that I got to round off my Month From Hell with a nice, challenging drive to work.  And it only took me two hours to get there (with a stop to fill the tank)!  Yay!  I suppose I should be thrilled when there isn't snow and the only problem is the sound of the temperature dropping like an Arctic stone.  Le Sigh.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

And the fun times, they just keep coming!

After slogging through the weekend and getting one precious, single, instagram, beautiful, few hours of sun, no wind, and non-subzero temps, everything just went to Toledo in a handbag.  I follow the weather forecast almost like a religion.  Or one of those British soap operas that everyone gets addicted to.  You can have your Dowton Abbey - just please leave me to my 10-minutes-after-the-hour-weather-update.  The fact that I keep believing these nimrods makes me realize why the folks at Mensa are not beating down my door.  All weekend, I heard dire predictions of another oncoming snowmageddon.  Pooh-pooh, sez I.  MY weather guy said it was going to be waaaay too far south to bring us much grief.

As I sat at the Firehouse Breakfast on Sunday, listening to school bus drivers (there always seems to be a preponderance of school bus drivers at these things) chortling about their upcoming snow day, I pooh-poohed again.

Then I woke up at 4A Monday morning to six inches of snow and a forecast of snow - with wind - all day long.  Luckily, our office decided to officially close, so I won't be using every one of my vacation days shoveling snow.  I hope.  It's only the first week of February, after all.  And don't get me started on the idiotic devotion to the shadow/no shadow of an entitled rodent.

So, I shoveled.  And shoveled again.  And again.  I took ibuprofen and shoveled some more.  We ended up with over a foot.  There was so much blowing snow, that I didn't get my mail because the postman couldn't reach my postbox.  I gave the chickens a good 15 minute pep talk, which I had to take back this morning, when the thermometer registered a high of -15*.  Instead, I apologized for living in the Northeast, for the fact that I couldn't refill their heated waterer because the lid was frozen on, for the fact that I couldn't take the wool blanket down from the window to let more light in.  For the fact that they are forced to live wingtip-to-wingtip for another three days.

Then I went out to deliver the same mea culpa to the sheep.  But, just before I reached them, I fell.  In waist deep snow.  While it was nice to have such a nice cushion, it posed a problem.  I was geared up for the weather - thermal boots, lined chinos, thermal Carhartts, down parka, double mittens, dork hat, scarf.  I could not move.  As I lay there, looking up into the frigid sky, I contemplated my options.  Then I halibuted around for a while, until I wound up on hands and knees.  Then I did my best imitation of a winter inch worm and made it over to the fence.  Where three pair of ovine eyes were contemplating me with alarm.  The camelid eyes are too cloudy to contemplate much.  I hauled myself up, brushed the snow off and continued with morning chores.

Then I came inside and got ready for my slip-slidey trip over the mountains to my 9 o'clock mammogram.

There is no end to the fun around here...