….I can’t think of any right now, except that I have survived (so far) the indescribable Siberian weather. Snow arrived three days ago and has continued mercilessly, along with arctic gales (‘feels like’ minus 14 even during the day) while blizzards rage. Fortunately, as soon as things started to deteriorate, I jumped in the car and did a food shop and also got a delivery of wood pellets (for the biomass boiler and the horses’ bedding), thank the Lord! The pellets were two weeks late and I would have been in deep sh-t if they hadn’t arrived. I have lost count how many times we have had snow in the last few months. The first time I was snowed in for 10 days; I don’t know how long this episode will last.
Life on the yard is challenging both mentally and physically, exacerbated by the fact that chilblains on my toes from the last acutely cold snap have blistered which makes wearing boots and the all essential fleece tights and socks painful. To add insult to injury, I dropped something heavy on the same foot which is also swollen – double yeow! So I have been hobbling around digging, sweeping and salting pathways to get the horses out of their stables and into the turnout arena for a few hours, then into a shared stable for another few hours so they have exercise, company and variety (obviously, the horse-walker is out of bounds which is lucky for Talisman). The paths quickly disappear so I have to dig them several times a day which is time consuming and laborious.
…That was until today. Today is a complete ‘no-go’. I dug the horses out of their stables first thing and could barely open my eyes because as it was a white-out. Talisman had a dusting of snow on him inside his stable from the wind drift coming in over the top door. He and Madame La Piplette are now in the shared stable with the windows shut, munching away. Blizzards have shown up all the gaps around the doorways of the old buildings and joins in the rooves, allowing snow to creep inside which is depressing. The place looks like an arctic wasteland!
Another ‘Groundhog’ chore is the muck-heap! Something, or someone, has been digging large holes in it several times a day creating a lot of mess which freezes to the ground and is impossible to sweep. I tried kicking pieces of pooh and realised I would break a toe that way to add to my list of foot ailments. So I have given up and accepted the mess temporarily, which I don’t find easy. I suspect it is some pheasants who have survived the shooting season that are making holes to keep warm in. If I was in better humour, I would think this pretty clever but humour is in short supply right now. We are into the realms of frozen pooh and frozen water in the stables and total failure to defrost any of the water supplies outside, so it’s buckets from kitchen sink. Riding is a dim and distant memory just when there was evidence of spring bulbs and early lambs, many of whom sadly won’t survive the cruel conditions. Prior to the snow the ground, which was a bog after a period of biblical rain, had dried sufficiently to harrow and roll. How quickly things change!
Yesterday, in an act of heroism or madness, I decided to defy the weather and do some training, so I trudged through the snow to the carport to have a session on the static bike. OMG, when the wind whipped up, the car, the tractor, the mower and me were all covered in white. I did the session in my fur hat and all outdoor layers except my coat and was still cold at the end of it, wishing I had put my salopettes on. I decided it was an act of madness, though I obviously need to be snow-fit!
I am ‘digging deep’ at a personal level to get through this without stressing and what works best is to take each day at a time (as I have no idea what I am going to wake up to in the morning), one hour at a time (as the weather changes so quickly) and one moment at a time (as it’s physically hard). I accept the situation and know that all things pass with time and I am trying to treat the work as a form of meditation and ‘zen out’. That way, I won’t fall into the trap of self pity and get depressed. I have said before with regard to the wild Welsh weather (which is nation-wide this time) that I feel safe, therefore I am safe! On a practical level, I am relieved I got essential roof repairs done last year and install a biomass boiler and, more recently, solve the Rayburn and wood burner chimney issues. Phew!
Reasons to be cheerful? Yes there are. I’ll pick some different thoughts. In no particular order… I just made a lovely vegetable soup for lunch, had a scolding hot shower when I came in from the yard (emerging a shade of lobster red) and I am sitting in a cosy warm kitchen. I have a cat and a horse of a lifetime – Bryngwyn (my house cat) personifies the characters of three animals I loved and lost in recent years (a dog, a cat and a horse) and Talisman, a prince amongst horses! I am not living in a war-zone and the situation is not life threatening unless, of course, the Met Office issues a Red weather warning for Wales!
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Pics: An ‘arctic wasteland’ in Wales; Talisman ponders the white stuff; domestic cat Bryngywn and feral wife Elizabeth in brighter climes; rolling in the sunshine a few days before the snow; making a video of my warm-up and run.
Micro blogs and photos are published on Facebook daily, if you would like to keep up with my life and times between blogs which are published several times a month. Videos are also available on my YouTube channel (some though not all are on the Vlogs page here). Since my last blog I have published the following new videos: Running Wild; Nooky and other cat mischief. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel to receive notifications of videos when they are published.