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Snowglobe

Barns chores Eggs Existentialism Inspiration Philosophy Vermont Weather winter

snowy sheepy wintery days
snowy sheepy wintery days

Reports of 15 below and more in Vermont this morning, fresh dumping of powder from yesterday’s storm which followed Friday’s storm which followed last Tuesday’s storm, so, plenty of snow.

It’s beautiful. The sun is shining today, the sky is blue. The air is full of crystals and with a slight stir in the air, you feel like you’re part of a live snowglobe.

I think about the days of holding a crystalline globe and being captivated, wondering about the magic of how they existed. It never occurred to me that the snowscapes within were less than what I beheld, and when my own children were younger, a friend helped them construct their own with babyfood jars, water, plastic toys, glitter & glue. Somehow, to me, it was akin to telling them that there wasn’t a Santa Claus.

The water doesn’t work in the main aisle of the barn and I’m filling all of the buckets the hard way by loading them into the deep sink in the tap room, turning on the small faucet and waiting. There are a lot of things to do in and around waiting for the buckets to fill, like emptying frozen buckets outside, filling grain bowls, sprinkling kelp meal on the individual dishes, divvying flakes of hay…and it’s a perfectly timed operation as too long and your buckets will be overflowing, too short and you have to stay and idly wait out the filling-operation.

The options are considerably more troublesome – I have no idea why the hydrant quit, but it might have something to do with sub-zero weather. I hesitate to contact any plumber because of the expense and the expanse of the project. Running a hose is out of the question with freezing temps making it impractical. Not complaining. Just a little concerned.

Just think…in the old days I would’ve had to hike to the well.

I cuddled one of my hens for quite some time out in the coop this morning. Her comb is more prominent and she is one of 6 White Leghorns that are quite strong producers. I have been selling eggs to the local hospital through an outreach/grant assisted local organization. It’s a good feeling supplying local, organic eggs to the community. I value my little hen.

Something’s up with her today, she didn’t want to join in the feeding frenzy when I loaded up their hopper this a.m.. So I cuddled her. I think she needs a small wool hat for her large comb. I’d bring her in the house for a warm up, and I might still, but I like to allow for them to figure it out on their own sometimes. They don’t (the animals) all benefit from moving into the house to convalesce even though humans might think so. It can be stressful for them to leave their group/home. So I’ll check on her this evening to see if she’s coming around.

I loaded up a few wheelbarrows full of frozen manure which I was able to pry/scrape out of one of the horse stalls and wheeled it out back. Parts of the job were easy. Getting the stall clean was much more delightful than pushing the barrow out to the manure pile. And in fact, I couldn’t make it all the way through the deep snow, across the culvert and to our old heap. I felt like a failure when I had to stop short of the manure mountain and dump it, making a new pile.

It’s not really a problem, just a temporary set-back. I’ll relocate the manure when things loosen up, soften up, melt. That time will be here before you know it. May is only 3 months away.

I thought the sheep would enjoy their hay more if I spread it out in the field under the sunshine. They have been sharing closer quarters since the snow is so deep and there’ve been a lot of shenanigans because of the cabin-fever. They were happy to trek out and have their own small-group hay-clatches vs. crowding around one or two hay racks.

After most of the flock relocated, I went into their paddock to organize their feed troughs, check their buckets, fix the door that keeps getting stuck in the frost…Custer & Mocha were hanging out. Custer, the Shetland ram, was there to keep an eye on Mocha, our Cotswold-cross that has bottom-feeder tendencies. I love that girl. She’s got the same opportunities as anyone to eat her grain out of the troughs, but it’s her instinct/preference to go around and search out little bits in the snow or in the corners. I had kept her with a small group for awhile when I thought it might allow her the chance to gain some weight, not have to compete for food. She still kept her old habits though she had all she could want from bowls or troughs. So there she was, missing out on the sunshine-y hay breakfast while she played clean-up in the paddock, Custer waiting for her to finish so he could go out with the others.

I like to talk to myself while I’m working. And to the animals. I’m great at pep talks. Today I turned myself around in about 45 minutes. I grumbled for about 15, rebounded and then waxed philosophically for the other 30. That allowed for another hour of jokes and songs, which the animals really appreciated. I’m in my own private snowglobe. No amount of griping is going to bring me down and stop me from enjoying the glitter.

Viktor E. Frankl was an existentialist, physician, therapist, and prisoner of the Holocaust who lived to 92.  He left us with an impressive legacy of therapy and research, and some of the most meaningful of his readings I have come across were constructed after his Nazi-imprisonment.  I recommend, if you are looking for inspiration, to learn more about his work, and also, I leave you with this one chosen quote:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

 

 

 

 

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