Cold weather + frozen mud = happy days!
It’s been bitterly cold for several days now and I have to say, I’m good with it. It’s getting up around 35 F by late afternoon, and dipping down to low 20s at night. For us that’s really cold, especially considering this is the second such freeze in the past month. But I was good with that one too.
It rained nearly all of last week, coming down in buckets most notably on Friday, where I woke up to the sound of steady, fairly hard rain at dawn, and it came down like that for another eight hours. And, after a wet Tuesday and Wednesday, which had the river up and brimming and low-lying areas of roadway overtopped with water (resulting in road closures for the Wednesday afternoon commute – you can bet I was singing a song of thankfulness for taking that day off!), Friday was almost worse than all that. By steady rain I mean solid drops, without slowing down. Not a heavy downpour/deluge, but not a gentle, old fashioned Pacific Northwest drizzle, either. I’d planned on taking Daisy for a walk that day, possibly with her cart, but as the morning wore on and drifted into afternoon, the rain wasn’t slowing down.
I’d had Pal out on Wednesday in the wet but not actively raining afternoon, and Farley out on Thursday, wetter, but still not pouring (though the river was down a bit), but with Friday’s nonstop drops it was looking less and less likely for me and Daisy. I still hadn’t gone out to check on the sheep and chickens, though views out the window told me they were fine, and I knew the food supply should be adequate for each (loaded up the feeders the night before, as I usually do). Still, we were all getting a little stir crazy. The dogs had been out a couple times for potty runs, spending enough time running around that they came in soaked—each trip in was a two-towel rubdown when they came inside, complete with a floor wipe up (Farley especially likes to cover as much ground as possible with those wet paws, slopping wet as he walkwalkwalks back and forth all over the place).
It suddenly cooled down late on Friday and I wasn’t surprised to see some snowflakes coming down with the rain. I was surprised, however, to wake up to active snowfall the next morning. It snowed until about 9:00; wet slop, but a couple inches of snow nonetheless. Daisy ran outside in excitement, the boys right behind her. More towels. And then it got cold. The clouds swept away (with enough wind to cause power outages locally, though thankfully I got away with a DVR busting diiiiiip dip dip, but not even enough to “reset” all the LED clocks – whew!) and the sun shone and it got cold fast. The ground was frozen by Saturday night and as I drove home from a family gathering that night, I was like an old granny on the last few miles of highway (I’d seen it glistening wet in the sun on the way out and was concerned about black ice). I pulled in the driveway, disturbing the sheep in a group at the top of the drive (I’d left them out that day). They leave sheep-sized clear spots in the frosty, snowy ground, where their warmth dissolves the freezing.
Sunday was just as cold, and clear and beautiful as could be. Finally it was time for Daisy’s walk. We went down to the river, as I’d done with the boys, after first walking through town to drop off a library book, and we had a great time. It was the perfect way to end a week off work. We came home and while Daisy threw herself down the frozen hillside on her back (she loves to slide down the hill when the ground is frozen) I fed the sheep in the blue twilight, luring them back into their pen with a scoop of grain in the feeder, made sure the chooks had enough food, and we headed inside with the boys to snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie, not a single towel needed to wipe down muddy paws or sop up wet fur. It was cold and dry and clean and wonderful.