So the New Year started with an almighty cold spell, but with at least some snow on the ground. The previous winter was cold while the fields were still bare and that was slightly frightening. Everything turned rock hard and icy and I worried about all the wild birds out there without snow to keep them warm. So fortunately we had a windy snowstorm day first and then minus 20 degrees.
It turns out our friendly dog loves winter and particularly the cold days. Ebba also loves mice, cheese and bones made of elk skin. If she made a list of all her favorite things, snow would come in first place. My dear husband would be in the top five but would probably find himself beaten by tennis balls, buffalo meat and the fore mentioned cheese.
With the diet she keeps it's no wonder that Ebba is putting on weight. Not a lot of extra but enough to develop some muscles and to make her look well and fit. Her appetite is much better and the more she does, the hungrier she gets. Common sense.
Ebba started the New Year by being very brave (according to her) and greeted my kind sister. First Ebba went over and sniffed a "Hello" and then after a few more meetings she nibbled on my long-suffering sister's hand. The build up to these meetings took two weeks, so our dog is thorough in her screening process. Nice people, wanting to hang out with Ebba, should book most part of a month for the meeting, just to be on the safe side. After all this socialising the super dog went hundred and ten around the household, just to let of steam. It was a huge milestone for a shy animal, although maybe not the biggest step for mankind. Ebba just sniffs when told about moon landings.
Mindy, Mandy, Molly and My have enjoyed the cold spell immensely. They seem to think that all the cleaning I have to do in the stable, when everyone's indoors, is just for their entertainment. Molly helps out by being in the way and Mandy's new game is called "Roadblock". This game requires a lot of patience as Mandy finds herself a good spot and then stands her ground. No amount of pushing, bribes or begging can shift her before she is ready. So I clean around her and she gets a lot of attention. Mandy seems to feel that I care too much about clean living but would also be the first to complain if she had to sleep in dirt. I have thought of offering her services to the local police department. No one would get past this roadblock and she is sweet and kind if people took the time to talk to her. It could be a sort of block-therapy.
Mindy, our dear white sheep has been a bit preoccupied and with good reason. She worries a lot about the young hens and their eggs. Where will the eggs turn up, will she get to see them and will she have the chance to sniff encouragingly at the said hens. Mindy is such a caring sheep that there are always some eggs to be found amongst the hay in the sheep pen. I stepped on a few this week, I have to admit, but the sheep never break any. Their sense of smell helps them out, I'm sure. I just have big feet.
As it's been so cold we have had a 25kg sawdust bale warming up in the house before moving it in for the sheep. This B&B comes with warm bedding and cabbage, carrots, apples and turnips for breakfast. Shame about the staff, though.
Friends and I have been discussing hens and their behavior problems lately. Some breeds are really nasty and boredom is a killer to any old hen and good manners. Our feather dusters get to do a lot indoors. They have the sheep to ride around on, sand baths, small mountains of hay to climb upon and lots of different things to eat. They also get to choose where to leave their egg for us to find and that can take forever to decide. They have space to fly around and they love hanging out by the stable door, on the concrete floor. You can't win! Our three guest hens love snow. Whenever I bring in some snow with my big feet, three happy hens come jogging up to scoff the lot. This seems to tickle them pink and I have to clean my boots before entering so we don't get hens with very cold tummies in the process. It is a funny game, though.
A new year is here and I keep thinking how to honour it. I should do more voluntary work for different foundations and I will do just that. I would also like to create world peace but that might take some time so I'll just try to be a nicer person firstly. What I think we need is a way to get less technology and more substance into the life of today's children. What kind of childhood memories can you tell, when most of your daily activities have been tied up with a phone or a computer? So there's a thought.
Maybe this year I can give ideas of how to do things the old fashion way. Just joking, I don't seem to remember much and I'm not old enough for that but somehow this year will be about substance. In what form, time will tell.
Take care and be happy.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.