Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Six inches and rising......











This morning we awoke to another six inches of snow and now, three hours later, it is still snowing. The good news is that the temperature is just about on freezing, so it is not quite so cold, although it feels worse with quite a brisk North wind.

Tess was keen to explore it, so I let her out at 8 o'clock (just the time that the sun rises!) - you will see her in the photograph standing in the snowy dark.

The cattle are snug and warm in their loose housing. The side is open to the elements but it is the South side and there is a roof, so they can see the bad weather without experiencing it. They have a plentiful supply of silage and seem quite happy to sit in the deep straw chewing the cud all day. The sheep - pedigree Swaledales, bred for such conditions - seem quite impervious to the bad weather; some of them have a few inches of snow on their backs but they wander about quite happily. It made me think of how these days one can judge whether a house is fully insulated or not by whether there is still snow on the roof! Of course, typically, they choose to be in the field farthest from the farm, on the top of the hill, open to the elements and will little shelter. The farmer goes up there on the tractor every morning with four bales of hay, 2 bales of sheep nuts and the dog. (Tess would love to go but is barred - this is serious work stuff for border collies only). They all come to eat the hay but only about half of them are interested in the sheep nuts. They would rather paw and scrape at the snow until they find a blade of grass to eat.

Our lane is pretty impassable this morning. The wind blows the powdery snow through the gates and across the lane so that any clearing away of snow is quickly filled up again. But we don't need to get out, apart from collecting our newspapers. If we have to be without them all day I shall suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms, but the farmer can always go on the tractor if all else fails.

He listened to the weather forecast yesterday and as a result we went down to the Feed Merchant and stocked up on feed for the birds, the hens, the farm cats and the dogs, so we should all survive happily. He has just put out a dish of oats, a dish of currants, a dish of chopped suet plus various bits and pieces (garlic bread for one - wonder whether it gives the birds garlicky breath?) and he has filled all the feeders with peanuts, sunflower hearts, mixed seed and fat balls - so hopefully the birds will also survive. I have just watched two cock pheasants in their full winter plumage, stroll through the farm gate and down the drive to the feeders looking for all the world like a couple of smartly dressed young men strolling down the road to their favourite restaurant. Picking their way carefully through the deep snow, they appeared to be chatting casually to one another.

Meanwhile, on the sitting room window sill Spring flowers - azalea, hyacinths and Christmas cactus- bloom, carefully shielded from the weather by double glazing. Have a nice, warm day


##photos. The road to the Feed merchant yesterday - the road is clear but the woodland is still snowy. Tess in the snow at dawn this morning. This morning's view from our front door.

20 comments:

maggi said...

Looks like we are all up to our necks in it today. I am glad I am not one of your sheep, I would much rather be one of you spring flowering plants!

steven said...

hello weaver - but for the livestock and the wild game that's a description of where i live. minus twenty eight, snow, and (as my brother said yesterday) around foruth more moths of it! have a lovely warm day in the dale weaver. steven

Elisabeth said...

It is a whole other world to me, one I could only ever read about.

Our weather here never gets so bad as this. We do not get holed up for periods of time, ever, though I know it happens elsewhere and I admire your equanimity in the face of it.

Heather said...

Each time I hear the weather forecast I wonder how you are faring. Glad you are well stocked up for yourselves and animals. We still have to do shopping for the week but the snow hasn't reached us yet. I think we may get some. I am off to nestle in the deep straw and chew the cud! Hope you get your papers.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Reading this makes me feel cosy! Your animals and birds sound very cherished and must feel this. If we ever come and visit you from Giraffe World, a nice tall barn with straw would be nexcellent - but we'd prefer chocolate cake to silage and sheep nuts!

Granny Sue said...

Lovely photos, Weaver. We're getting piled on too, 5 inches this morning and more on the way all week. A real winter like we have not had in years. As a facilties manager with 10 buildings (read parking lots, sidewalks) my phone started ringing at 4:30am. Since I live 50 miles from where I work, the commute is slow, slow, slow. Tis the season!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Even on a sort of snowed-in day, the farm is a hub of activity. Many things for a poet to observe and write about! I'm sure your pantry is as well stocked as the farmer's barn of provisions for the animals. Stay cozy.

It has been snowing in Montreal since Friday, and forecasts say bitter cold is on its way. It is already covering most of N.A.

Golden West said...

Interesting that the sheep like to be out in the thick of things, pawing for grass.

We've only had snow 3 times in the past 50 years, but I relish a good rain storm, with lots of wind.

Sounds like a perfect day to stay warm by your fire, with either a book, an embroidery project or paper and pen.

willow said...

Wow, what a beautiful load of snow! Your header pic is spectacular. Stay warm, my friend.

Sal said...

I think you must have Devon's supply of snow...give it back!!
I hope you have plenty of supplies in!
Keep warm and snug ;-)

Pondside said...

I love the stillness of a snowy morning. Perhaps the only thing I miss about snow is the brightness it brings - there's nothing quite as dark as a rainy, moonless night.

Totalfeckineejit said...

There is something wonderfully wintery about pheasants in the snow.We got only 3 cm here but it fell a midnight on New Years Eve which was beyond magical.An impromptu snowball fight went on till 1.30!Have I said how magical your header and words are?

Jo said...

Your photos look lovely, but I know they come at a price. I can't believe how bad it is for you in the UK.
We were looking forward to a belated Christmas with our daughter, but it's all a bit up-in-the-air now as she should be flying out from Gatwick on Thursday.
Well at least the children (and dogs) enjoy snow, but somehow it looses its appeal as you get older!

Hildred and Charles said...

We are in the midst of a little respite, but it snowed for twenty-four hours, just stopping late last night. A mild, wet snow, - perfect for snowmen - not so good for angels. The quail fly in for breakfast, - one poor little fellow bringing up the rear. Not flying, but skimming the top of the snow quite pertly. I thought of you Weaver when our son was clearing the roads with his tractor and replacing all the pristine loveliness with dirty snow and gravel, - all in the name of expediency....still, we can now get to town.

Bovey Belle said...

We have a similar tale to tell here, complete with tame pheasant!, only we have no tractor! In fact, when we had our 4x4 pickup, it NEVER snowed! I am glad to have no shortage of anything here again - it's the fresh fruit I find it hard to live without.

elizabethm said...

It is looking very like yours at our place too Weaver. We have had icing sugar snow today, lots and lots of it. Looks utterly beautiful but we aren't going anywhere for a bit!

DJ said...

Stay dry, warm and fed, my friend...you will be blessed for caring for the animals in winter.

Cloudia said...

I am THERE through your excellent writing!

aloha, Weaver

dinesh chandra said...

In Chandigarh their is also cold but not snow , good to learn about the snow and farmer.

Regards

Dinesh Chandra

rallentanda said...

I'm glad you have plenty of supplies stashed away and also got
double glazing.Leading a dual
country /city life I know all about this ( not the snow bit but bushfire and floods)One has to be prepared for everything.Summer here has been lousy.North Western NSW is inondated with floods and road closures.I can't get back so I am stuck here in Sydney which is the best place to be stuck in the
southern hemisphere.Evidently according to our news your snow is the worst in 100 years.I must say it looks absolutely beautiful.Keep snug and enjoy those Irish coffees.