This is what I viewed as I stepped outside this morning to do my chores.
And when I got to the barn, everyone was patiently waiting for me to enlarge their hay piles and dump warm beet pulp/barley/whey into their pans. To say they were grateful would be an understatement! Sheltered from the wind under the loafing shed, I broke the ice on the water tanks and topped them off from the hydrant. As I checked Sophie's udder, I loved on her heifer and reassured them both I would be back mid-afternoon to get my share of milk. Abbey and Penny got fed separately, and I do believe they appreciated it.
The horses were across the pasture commiserating with the ponies next door. Their winter coats have sprouted overnight, and the cold has little affect on them. They did not bother to race to the barn, knowing that the cows come first. I am always thrilled to see them run, but I was rather glad they did not this morning as I have seen them misjudge their footing on frozen ground before and turn a joyful show of energy into disaster.
I skated back to the house and retrieved the pan of warm clabber and bread I had prepared for the hens and grabbed the jug of warm water for them, too. After chipping the door free of ice, I got into the coop. No one seemed eager to leave, so I left the door closed. We saw a bobcat lurking in the woods last week, and I am certain he would take a hen if given only half a chance. I opted for security today, as it is obvious we won't be spending any extra time outdoors - and neither will the dogs.
Outside chores takes me less than 45 minutes in the morning, but I did find myself lingering despite frozen toes and fingers. There is something almost heavenly about a world frozen silent. Our road is a sheet of ice with no traffic, and for once the gas well next door was silent, too.
Thank you, Lord, for the life You have given me and the joy I find in every moment in it....