Thursday, January 23, 2014

January Continues

It seems odd when Rowdy is the only spot of color
Yes, it is still January but the end is in sight.  Going into what I generally think of as the coldest week of the year, the tail end of January into the first week of February, I am not disappointed.  We are currently experiencing another arctic blast that has the chickens shut in the coop even during the day with the heat lamp on.  Today's high is about 12 degrees and yesterday morning was -8 when I got up at 7 am.  It is so hard to get motivated to go outside when it is that cold.  But once I get all geared up for it and get out and start moving around, it is not all that bad.  The key is dressing for it.  I think I really hated winters when the main outdoor activity was going from the house to the cold car to the office to the cold car, etc.  I was never dressed for the cold weather.  I deal with it better now.  Even coming to the office I dress more warmly because I have 11 miles of rural roads to navigate to get to town and I would really hate to slide off the road and have to walk somewhere without being prepared.  And cell phones cannot be counted on here.

So this is how crazy it is.  Last Friday, Sam and were going to Columbus to attend a Beer Festival and stay overnight and so I needed to walk the dogs before getting ready to go.  It was 40 degrees and the sun was shining when I left the house around 12:30.  When I got up out of the hollow, I could see very dark skies to the west and I sincerely hoped not to get rained on.  When I got about a mile from home in Wayne National Forest at the point where we turn and head back to our place, it started to SNOW.  And I mean HUGE quarter-sized wet flakes of snow coming down very fast and hard with a stiff wind.  Visibility was about 1/4 mile and I was not worried, more amused by the fact that my navy blue fleece pullover was acquiring huge white spots and Rowdy was also becoming spotted.   By the time we reached home, the ground was covered and I was shaking snow off my shoulders and my jeans were wet.  Within minutes of arriving home, the sun was out and everything was melting. By the time I got my camera out, water was running off all the roofs and dripping from all the trees.  It really was amazing.

The Beer Festival was a lot of fun.  We parked our car at our downtown hotel and walked to a restaurant and then to the convention center where we sampled many, many beers over a 4 hour period and then we walked back to our hotel and were home before noon on Saturday.  We rarely get outings like this.

Tuesday before it got extremely cold again, we did get some more snow.  It was gray and dreary, but I got out with my camera and took some wintry photos.  Our hayloft is still well-stocked with hay.  I would say we have gone through less than half of what we put up in this side of the loft so far and since we only have about 6 weeks of maximum hay consumption ahead of us, we will be fine.  It is always a relief to know we won't have to scramble to find more hay.  It has happened.


  Here are Mayhem and Dulci peering out the barn door to see what I am doing.  

Everyone else is munching on hay

  Yesterday morning, it was -8 as I said and when I went outside, I first checked in on the chickens and there were 2 eggs in the nest boxes and I needed to bring them in right away.  As I picked each egg up, there was a soft popping sound and each one split end to end.  They were already frozen.  Rowdy and Grover each enjoyed an egg-cicle.  I don't know how long it took the eggs to freeze at that temperature.  It could not have been too long.

I finished up my gift knitting for older son's birthday, which is this Saturday.  I will post a couple photos next week, though I forgot to photograph one of the items and it is already in the mail.  Oh well.

sock toes
I also knitted the toes of a pair of socks this week.  This is very cool.  I have joined a traveling sock round robin with a group from a videocast called KnitSpinFarm  We each start the toes of a pair of socks and then we mail them off and they will go to  6 or 7 other people who will each knit 2" on the socks and when they come back to me they will be finished.  In the meantime, I will be knitting 2" on each of 6 or 7 pairs of socks that come to me in the mail.  Each knitter uses her choice of yarn and pattern, so these will likely be crazy-quilt socks (but knitted) when they come back to me.  Very fun!  I will get to use up yarn that is leftover from socks I have knit for myself and for gifts over the last couple years.  We get 2 weeks to work on each pair of socks, so the whole process will take 3+ months.  So I will have new socks just in time for flipflop weather!


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