It’s Starting to feel a bit like Imbolc!!!!

If you don’t know what Imbolc is, well I will explain it a bit.  Imbolc is February 2nd, it is also known as Candlemass or even Groundhog day.  It is kind of the first welcome of spring.  You might see some winter flowers bloom and there is this feel to the air.  Really you can FEEL this sense of hope and growing.  Imbolc actually means, “In the belly”.  A lot of sheep, and in our case goats, are pregnant!! And you can tell now!!  So you  know that soon, oh so soon, there will be babies abound, and MILK!!!  Like I said, it is holiday of hope and the returning of warmth.  Of course, winter is still here, and storms can be severe.  Still, underneath all that, it still feels differently.

So we survived the Arctic Vortex.  It wasn’t fun, but here, this showed up on one of the pages I follow…
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
-Haruki Murakami
I have been through many storms in my life, literal and figuratively.  There really is something about it.  Especially if you KNOW before it starts up that you are about to be tested.  With this storm, there was so much hype.  Really, it seems like the weather has been causing a lot of hype lately.  And not that it shouldn’t, we are seeing a whole lot of crazy things happen.   We live very close to the weather.  I’m not sure if there is a way to describe it other than to say, when you must go outside to check on living things that may die in the weather, you live close to the weather.  When you live in a structure that does not keep the temperature at a regular 70 degrees without you having to do anything but push a button, you live close to the weather.

Anyway, we knew the storm was coming.  We knew it was going to be bad.  We prepared as best we could.  The animals got a lot of hay, we bedded them down with straw and we waited.  Some of us wait better than others.  In fact, everyone waits better than I.  It is mostly funny, I can laugh about it now, that I worry to the point of going without sleep.  Then once it is all over, I find that all that worry and pain, and lack of sleep were not worth it.  As it so happens, this storm was much the same.  We survived, and the animals did well.  In fact, to look out at them throughout the day, you would not believe it was so cold.  They were out, digging in the snow, drinking water and having a gay time.  This is our second year without a real barn.  Last year we saw a pretty mild winter.  This year, it has been quite cold.  However, I am not sure, except for those couple of days of real cold, I would have put them in a barn.  And truly after seeing how they acted, I am not sure they should have been in a barn.  They were fine, more than fine, really.  And they survived, and so did we.  Oh there are still times when I wish we had a barn, but I am starting to feel that our practice of movable shelters is much better since we do not have to worry about breaking pest cycles.  No where in nature do animals sleep in the same place their whole life.  There is reason for it.

So, the cold stopped, and now we have seen almost record breaking cold, and record breaking heat.  We have seen droughts and floods, high winds and oppressive humidity.  We rock.  We survive and carry on.  We come out of the storm tempered, stronger and more sure of our abilities.  We come out not the same person.  As much as I do not like storms, figuratively, I like that we experience them.

What else has been happening???  Well, Conner has been escaping a lot.  This dog!!  He wants to go romping, I understand, but we have no way of keeping him to our land, so it makes it really hard.  When it is snowy, or icy, Natalie has a hard time running with him.  A few days went by and Conner decided to take matters into his own paws.  Once it was the day after the super cold.  It was still very cold.  After a half hour of the girls and I trying to convince Conner to come back inside, we gave up.  It was still dangerous to be outside for a long period of time.  We walked back to the house and Conner followed us, like, “Okay guys, play time is over.  Yeah, let’s go back inside!”  We all almost cried then.  If we had known he would follow us back inside???  We would have went back much sooner.
Another time he went to our neighbors.  Layla was able to tell our neighbor then that their cat has been hanging out at our house.  He informed her that their cat had died.  So now, the cat that we thought was Jack?  Maybe not Jack.  So we will probably try to get him and neuter him.  We changed his name, it was hard to call him Jack and well there is Jack Jack also…  So his name is now Elmer.  Elmer and Esme  sitting in a tree.  Chasing mice and playing in the snow…   Though I do have to say that it is totally freaky if that is not our neighbor’s cat.  I mean, how many black cats with a white spot on their chest do you see?

There has also been not great news on the animal front.  Hattie was doing not well at all before the cold snap, and after we realized she was not going to get better.  So we put her down.  We also took samples from her body and are sending them to the lab.  Though Jack had a hard time trying to get that done yesterday.  Seems the post office doesn’t think you should be able to send those things.  Too bad people do all the time.  He is going to try again today.  I am hoping they let him this time, because well, we need answers.  Given the neurological symptoms we saw I am thinking it was listeria again.  However, just because it looks the same doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been something else.  We want to make sure we know what we are dealing with.  In general, while taking the samples, everything looked right on and healthy, except for her brain which had lesions.

So yeah.  Things are moving along here.  Sometimes they are great, sometimes they are hard.  Such is life.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on brah
La la how the life goes on

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