Friday, November 21, 2008

Morning Chores in Snow

This is the first time in my memory that we’ve had significant snow in November. And it is significant. We woke up to several inches and it was still snowing.

I went to milk after fortifying myself with coffee and donning multiple layers for warmth. Visibility was maybe 100 feet, up to 200 sometimes. Then the wind would blow and the snow on the trees, and especially on the pines, would say “Geronimo!” and the air would look like a fog.

I always milk first and feed the horse second, but both things happen in the same little shed and most usually the horse is waiting in the shed even before I milk and I bark “Back!” to him and used to he backed out (he is trained to voice commands) but now he turns around to get out and the shed is just barely big enough for him to manage to turn himself around in. But he comes out and he and donkey wait just outside the shed while I milk and the cow eats.

Milking is a meditation, really. My consciousness becomes a speck while my body continues to sit on the stool and my hands continue to squeeze the milk into the bucket and I am not my body and I am not separate from the cow or from the bucket. This morning I was in such a state when the speck of consciousness became aware that something was eating my hat! The horse was a bit impatient maybe, or maybe he just thought the giant pompom on my hat was funny. My consciousness was immediately aware of my body being on a stool stuck between a 700# cow and an 1800# horse who pretend they don’t particularly like each other. “Back!” I said, and he took a step or two back and I laughed at him and at the beauty of the morning.

Then I took the milk to the house when a wind came and blinded me under the trees and I just stood there while white came down all around me and into the collar of my coat. The children were already sledding, laughing. I took the feed back down to the horse, gave the donkey his obligatory handful, and waited while the horse eats. Donkey took his usual aromatherapy from the empty bucket while I scratched his withers and admired his snowy, spiky mane and the curls on his thick coat. I turned to check the horse over and found a place that needed my attention, just an itchy spot on the side of his hock, and while I was bent over attending to this I felt something quite heavy come up against my behind. It was donkey’s behind. After his withers get scratched, he has a spot on his rump that is his real favorite spot and he can be quite insistent that I attend to it. While I did this, the goats came up waiting to clean up any grain the horse may drop. They were fluffed out to twice their real size.

When the horse was finished I went to get a bale of hay and throw it to them in piles in the field, and then I found my way back to the house and to a breakfast of eggs and toast by the fire.


J said...

I really enjoyed this look into your every day world. The companionship of your animals and yourself. I know it's hard work for you but there's a feeling of peace and contentment that comes through this post that leaves me with a pleasant feeling.

Kitt said...

That's lovely. The donkey's aromatherapy and itchy tush made me chuckle.

Anonymous said...

Answer me this: how can I miss this when I've never even done it?

(the powers that be wouldn't let me leave a comment with my ID)

CG said...

you can miss it because it is how we're supposed to live.

That sounds self-righteous, huh? oh well, truth is truth.

Alecto said...

oh, yum, thanks for that. I can smell it.

Alecto said...

oh, and also, god it's cold early this year! Good-bye to the chicken water fountain and hello to water twice a day and a lot of extra straw in the hen house! But at least the chicken and dog poop are frozen into nuggets. There ought to be a market in that, don't you think?

Mickle in NZ said...

C.G. - I'm sure cow was grateful for your warm hands on her teats. I have a very funny picture in my head of Duke trying out the taste of your hat's yarn pompom.

Alecto - freeze dried manure!

Here it is humid and warm overnight - way to early - we usually don't get these overnight temps until February. Would happily send this warmth your way.

Michelle and Zebbycat in New Zealand.

Cielo said...

...and you might be milking and feeding in snow again tomorrow!

I'd love to see Duke turning around in that shed!

Anonymous said...

No, that actually doesn't sound self-righteous at all.

And I've thought about it a bit.

Thing is, I do sorta "live that way," just under different circumstances right now.

But there's no snow here, dammit! ;-)


CG said...

Then I hope you see the joy Annette!

No more snow Cielo, which I can't say I mind not having. I also don't mind not having the super cold temps Alecto! My goodness, it has been as cold as January usually gets. We did have a decent rain. Sure would like more no matter how sloppy is makes everything.

Kitt, everything about donkey is funny. I mean, he really is akin to a stand up comic.

And J, that's what I've been thinking about lately -- how some short sighted people see me as doom and gloom and TEOTWAWKI and really, the as we know it part, that's pretty good really because the as we know it consume and rape and pillage the world part is, well, I'm having trouble thinking of one word for how awful that is. And my vision is a hopeful vision, a vision for a better world . . .

Mickle -- my hands don't necessarily start out warm! I do wear gloves down, but take them off to snap her in and at the beginning I'd say both my hands and her teats are cold -- but milk flowing through them warms them up!

Mickle in NZ said...

A well earned double warm up for you each and both.
Sending care and admiration

Anonymous said...

Then I hope you see the joy Annette!

Of course! That's exactly what I meant.

(Sorry, still can't comment under my ID)

CG said...

Annette, I meant in YOUR life! Your latest posts have, mostly, seem to indicate you do!

Annette said...

Dammit, we're saying the same thing :-)

CG said...

yeah, damn.