Full-on Blizzard Conditions It was really hard to motivate myself to get out there and do morning chores this morning. At 7 a.m., it was 11°F with 18 mph winds, steady snow, at about an inch an hour rate. But we bundled up, long johns and double socks underneath my ski suit, and Frank put on an old snowmobile suit that we bought 10 years ago, right after the fire. (It is huge on him now! Wow has he lost a lot of weight.) Note to self: I need to get myself some really thin gloves that can go under my work gloves, because I think I need two layers even there, and I keep having to take my gloves off to open a gate or untie something, and then my hands are horribly cold the rest of the time I’m out there.

Feed me! All the critters are fine. Also, cute. Most of them have been staying inside their sheds all day, except that every now and then one will go for a walk-about, but briefly. The pigs have barely poked their heads out of their shed at all. Polly and Prince got really giddy with excitement for some reason late this afternoon — I think it was just pent up energy from staying in the shed all day. It’s kind of nice to watch them, in particular. They are huge enough and a great contrast to all the white snow that I can watch out the window and stay quite entertained, inside where it’s warm. The pup loves to go out and chase them, but is smart enough to stay way back from the wild and crazy horses, with the bucking and rearing and general silliness.

We kept the chicken coop all cooped up, just going in once in the afternoon to bring them some rice and cooking scraps, and to make sure all the chickies get up into the nesting boxes properly. Frank says the double mamas had three of the four up on the roost, including one who was next to a hen that wasn’t either mama. But since there was still one in the nest box, squawking madly, he put the others there as well, to make sure they would all be toasty warm through the night.

Keeping the paths open We’ve had power on and off through-out the day. Mostly on, though. Go NH Co-op! There were years when a storm like this would knock off the power for days. The wind has been pretty steadily in the 20 mph range, and now that it is ending, it is supposed to be much windier tonight and tomorrow. I worry about the wind more than anything — when I can hear it while I sleep, I always have the worst dreams about roofs flying off and leaving hurt and exposed critters. I’m always very nervous about pulling up the window quilts and looking out after a night of worrying in my dreams.

Breakfast I’ve spent much of the day cooking and doing holiday cards, which is perfect for a blizzarding Sunday. I warmed us up after morning chores with pancakes with smiley faces on them. Then I used some left-over turkey to make a BBQ sauce pizza for lunch, which turned out great. For dinner, I made carnitas, which is like a Mexican pulled pork, using one of our pork shoulders. I wrote that recipe up, because I think what I do is pretty different than most of the recipes I’ve seen. It made enough that I have lunch and probably another dinner out of it.

Evening Grosbeak Oh, the grosbeaks are back! When we were coming in from doing the morning chores, after the blessed silence that happens when every critter’s mouth is full of hay, I heard these two, at the empty bird feeders, wondering where their breakfast was. Frank thought I was crazy, but really, I speak bird! We hadn’t gotten around to filling them yet this year, but they should be all set now. They gorged themselves for over an hour. We have a flock that returns every winter. Soon we’ll get the purple finches, gold finches, and rose-breasted grosbeaks, if this year is like previous ones.

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