Monday, November 29, 2010

Delighting in the days after Thanksgiving

1. a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture: She takes great delight in her job.
2. something that gives great pleasure: The dance was a delight to see.
–verb (used with object)
3. to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly: The show delighted everyone.
–verb (used without object)
4. to have great pleasure; take pleasure: She delights in going for long walks in the country.

One thing I love about the Thanksgiving holiday is that all of the hustle bustle, fuss and, yes, stress is over after just the first day, leaving a long weekend afterward to enjoy.

While my family and I had a lovely Thanksgiving, I found myself delighting in a number of things during the days following Thanksgiving, as well...

I delighted in my barn water unfreezing:

I delighted in needing to take my big farm coat off because I was too hot:

I delighted in a really, really big egg from one of my girls:

I delighted in my youngest nephew, Gabriel, coming for a visit. Full of energy and enthusiasm, this boy is really good at telling me what he'd like to do next. After a good night's sleep, he was thinking about breakfast:

I delighted in hearing him tell me a (really long) story about his truck and car convoy/parade.

I delighted in watching him concentrate very hard on painting a small holiday ornament:

I delighted in photographing him eating an apple. (Though I think he merely tolerated this particular activity for my sake):

I delighted in playing a rousing game of dinosaurs:

and...I delighted in a bit of extra help in the barn:

All holiday weekends should be full of delights like these, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's update alphabetical order, bolded, italicized and in color - just for fun.

BARN: Pipes frozen:

Despite precautions taken to protect the pipes and outside spigot, it didn't work. So....I got to lug this baby up to the barn today. It was very heavy:

Not that I'm complaining or anything. Who wouldn't love doing this?

BUCKETS: I filled two buckets with water prior to the freeze and put them in the storage room in the barn, where the temperature, so far, has stayed above freezing. This kept me from having to lug that container up the hill twice this morning:

The heated water buckets I got last year are gifts from heaven:

Though it concerns me that the donkeys keep uncovering the cord to theirs no matter how much straw I try to hide it under.

CHICKENS: I put a heat lamp in the coop last night:

Our low hit 14 degrees and I was nervous this would be too chilly for them. It was probably unnecessary, but we just aren't used to this kind of cold. The chickens enjoyed it.

That said, nobody wanted to come out of the coop this morning:

Well, except for Dottie:

I finally managed to convince the others to step outside by showing them I'd brought some fresh hay for their run:

Dang spoiled birds.

EGGS: I actually had to buy these eggs last night:

Sigh. This is the first time in a year I've had to purchase eggs. I'm getting only one egg every 2 to 3 days right now from my girls, which just isn't enough for my holiday baking.

HILL: This is the hill that I lugged that big, old jug of water up this morning:

Again, not complaining. Just sayin'.

THANKSGIVING: I wish everyone a very, very happy one.
We're going to my mom's. We'll be 14 people. My contribution to the meal is bread and dessert. I've baked 3 different kinds of rolls (Earth bread, Indian Maiden bread and biscuits):

and tomorrow I'll make chocolate mousse (yes, yes, there will be pumpkin pie, too).

So, there it is. Update complete.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freezing temps and farm life

It was 23 degrees when I went out to feed this morning. Today was a tank top-thermal shirt-underarmor shirt-fleece sweater-hoody-Carhartt's jacket-long underwear-Carhartt pants-and 2 pairs of wool socks-kind-of-day. I felt like a giant marshmallow. My fingerless gloves, that up until now have done the trick, proved entirely insufficient today.

Once I had finished bundling myself and managed to squeeze myself out the door, this is what I saw:
Icicles hanging from the raspberry trellis:

Stoic donkeys, who met me at the fence closest to the house:

..and then beat me back up to the barn:

A frozen stocktank with a lone, orange goldfish still swimming at the very bottom:

A devoted farm pup, shivering in the cold, who refused to go back into the house:

Hearty eaters who knock their hay buckets over after the second bite:

Donkeys with fuzzy winter brows who will stop anything they're doing to have a carrot coin:

An alien creature with tentacles that used to be a Japanese maple:

Two goats telling me they haven't been fed in a week:

A disgusted face looking at a frozen water bucket:

Slippery feet on frozen surfaces:

Goat displeasure expressed at being left so soon:

...and then using a sweet face to try to coax me to please stay just a bit longer:

An oatmeal breakfast hand delivered to the spoiled chickens of Critter Farm:

...which the chickens devoured with great gusto:

An awesomely feathered head of my girl, Dottie (pretty girl on the right), who hasn't had a full head of feathers in almost two years!:

The removable wedge used to secure the coop door frozen solid to the door itself:

Frozen chicken waterers:

...thawed with a 5 gallon bucket of hot water:

And a beautiful face, unexpectedly appearing around the corner of the coop, who left me with a smile on mine:

Tonight, it's supposed to get down to 15 degrees, much colder than we normally get in our rainforest atmosphere of northwest Oregon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A bit of a surprise

We northwestern Oregonians got a big surprise yesterday when it started to snow. Portland has only seen snow before Thanksgiving twice in the past 25 years, in 1985 and 2003. Big, wet, gloppy flakes started to fall a little past noon. Chester and Beau, my donkeys, quickly found a spot under the thickest trees to wait it out:

This would've been a great plan, except the snow didn't stop:

Because the ground temperature is still so warm, we didn't get a lot of accumulation, but it still looked very pretty this morning:

The air is so crisp and clean. It felt refreshing and festive on my morning walk to the barn:

On my way, I noticed nature's version of a raspberry slushy:

Chester and Beau were pleased that, despite the white stuff, breakfast was still on schedule:

Morning, Chet!

Kai llama, still covered with hay and straw from what was clearly a cozy night spent in her stall, came out for a curious peek:

Regardless of the weather, Chester made it very clear to me that he still wished to partake in his morning walk, so off we went:

I think he looks very handsome against a white backdrop, don't you?:

Beau anxiously awaited Chester's return:

When I was finished up at the barn, it was time to get the goats. Pete and Reggie, always up for an adventure, joined me on a walk around the property:

The raspberries, though cold, were still a tasty treat:

Kai met us at the fence line and politely asked to join us on our exploration:

So now there were four of us traipsing around in the slushy snow:

We popped in on the chickens to say good morning and feed them their breakfast:

Pete and Reggie didn't understand why they couldn't come into the chicken run with me:

On the way back, Pete and Reggie set a brisk pace. It had started to snow harder and, for goats, being wet totally takes the fun out of being adventurous:

"Are you coming, mom?":

"Can we go in now?":

Kai, Reggie and Pete were able to find a dry spot under a big Douglas Fir. Here is Kai being very accommodating by letting Reggie eat the hay that has been stuck to her fur all morning:

See? He got a pretty good mouthful off her belly:

Such a patient llama:

Ok, everybody, time to go in:

The snow is supposed to stop after tonight but a colder front is moving in that will supposedly drop our lows down to 13 degrees, which is very cold for us. I am incredibly thankful for warm and dry barns, coops and houses for everyone on Critter Farm!