Friday, January 20, 2012

How we cope

The chickens cope by huddling beside their heat lamp, refusing to set claw outside until the snow is entirely melted. For the first 12 hours of this winter weather, they fasted and threatened to kill themselves of thirst. Luckily, FarmWife and FarmHusband realized they were too "chicken" to walk the six feet (under cover!) to their food and warm water and, in a great display of mercy, moved food and drink in to the heated interior of the coop. These descendants of jungle fowl would be the first to die if humanity were to abandon us now.

The goats cope by following me along well-worn paths, relying upon my robust muleness or upon FarmHusband and the mercy of his shovel to spare them the udder-chilling horror of the two-foot drifts. Why mountain goats evolved with their boobies on the bottom is beyond my powers of comprehension, but that's a matter for another post.

Paisley enjoys the snow immensely, spending more time out than in in this weather. His polar coloration affords great opportunities for camouflaged stealth. If he could only manage to move with ninja-like grace, he'd be a perfect soldier in the fight for Mule World Domination. Unfortunately, he moves through the snow like a hippo on roller skates.

Clover likes the snow well enough, but measures in at about 12" below surface level. For this reason, she usually sticks to the shoveled paths. She moves wide in front and narrow behind, and tracks up so that her hind prints are directly inside her front prints. She leaves parallel paw prints in sets of two . . . hind beside fore, hind beside fore, hind beside fore. They're terribly strange to behold, and for the first day or two of snowy weather the children were sure they'd been left by a unicorn.

The cats are not big fans. Desmond has spent the entire snowy week lying beside the fire with a look of tremendous distain upon his thickly-pelted face. Townes has spent it running outside, slip-sliding the length of the walkway, doing a 180 or 360 degree belly-spin, and flip-flop-splooshing his way back to the porch.

I cope rather well in this weather. Aside from the oppression of a second blanket, I'm not inconvenienced. I enjoy seeing FarmWife every hour or two as she brings me fresh water (which I never condescend to drink, preferring instead to wait until it freezes and then break a hole with my muzzle). I like kicking up clouds of white as I sproing sideways out of the worn path and into a pure white drift. I take full advantage of FarmWife's "extra hay in cold weather" decree, and eat with great gusto at each of four daily meals.

All of this has lead me to believe that, in addition to the well-dressed humans with their fire and their opposable thumbs, Paisley and I are the likeliest survivors in the event of another ice age.


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