We have had a couple of heavy frost lately. We don’t get that many here, but oh boy do you know when they arrive! It’s crisp and it’s icy and pretty cold! We are pretty fortunate that our fire goes all night, although I generally top it up in the wee hours. Early morning I like to have a cup of tea by the fire and get it all stoked up before the family get up. It’s a nice time to plan my day and just get my thoughts together before I rush around getting jobs done. Of course that only works if I have a day at home, when I’m heading out to work I need to get outside asap and get all the animals fed and tended to.
Firstly, I let the four dogs out and take them for a run. Generally we walk the top loop track. It’s often in the dark or as the day is dawning and I need a head torch to find my way. The moreporks and owls are still calling softly in the bush. We have glow worms on our place and they can be spotted glittering on the banks beside the track. Weka are beginning their dawn cacophony and bush birds are starting to awaken. There is nothing like a tui call in the stillness of dawn, it fair sends chills up and down my spine! By the time I get back to the house the dogs are well exercised, I’ve warmed up and my torch isn’t really needed. I put Bo away; he’s Laurie’s old dog, who while lovable is now deaf and he tends to wander off and do his own thing and of course doesn’t respond when he’s called! Holly the horse is waiting to be fed – she gets a low energy grain and molasses feed in the morning and depending on the weather will have her cover taken off or maybe left on! The goats; Willow and Moon are waiting to come out of their night paddock. They have a shelter in the paddock with straw in and it and protection from the weather. I feed them nuts every morning and then I tether them for some fresh greens. Both goats are now showing their pregnancy, so glad Ollie did his job! Kids are due in about six weeks. Willow looks pretty big already, maybe she is carrying twins? Once the goats are out and the hens fed, the dogs get a biscuit and are put away.
Petra is quite a slightly built dog and she was feeling the cold a bit so I have put an extra blanket into her kennel, which has made a difference for her. She has made a snug nest out of the blanket and an old woolen jacket that I don’t use any more and it’s fair to say she is very cosy in there, (I’ve noticed her ears are a lot warmer when I let her out in the mornings!) Mica also has a blanket in her kennel but Pearl, who has a very thick coat doesn’t seem to need one at this stage.
The advantage of a frosty start to the day is the stunningly sunny weather that follows. With us relying on the sun for our solar power system it’s great too, otherwise we need to use the generator to top up our battery bank. Winter is a time for planning, maintenance, stock work and jobs that keep you warm or inside. Laurie has been very busy working on our tractor and digger, getting the trailer fixed and building new shelving and cupboards in his shed. I have been out in the vegetable garden, keeping the weeds at bay and planning the spring plantings, knitting and general house-hold chores. The bulbs that I planted a few weeks ago have popped up through the soil and I’m really looking forward to the time they flower. I have tulips for the first time up here and daffodils. There are also some young plants in the vege garden that are growing surprisingly well. We still have been getting the odd rat in the traps so they need re-baiting and setting as well.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I could do a day of relief teaching at the local school. I haven’t been in a classroom as a ‘teacher’ for quite a few years. I had 5 – 7 year olds and we had a day learning about Powelliphanta snails! I figured I might as well spend the time with the children doing things that were familiar to me! We had a lot of fun, sorting snail shells, learning about predation, making snail cookies and snail art work as well as reading and writing a few stories. The day went by so fast and I hope the children enjoyed the day as much as I did!
Now it’s the middle of the school holidays with one week to go before Term 3. My work has slowed down considerably and I have a bit more time at home. While I miss the income – time at home is a good thing and a chance to re prioritize, set new goals and reflect on life and living. Next year I have a significant birthday, so I’ve begun to plan and invite family to our part of paradise in preparation for ‘the big event’.
Ciao for now ..