Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

From crisp, cold weather with blue, blue sky to grey skies and snow: what a difference a day makes!

Yesterday I finished marking, and submitted the final grades for the last of my semester’s classes. Finishing that task always gives me an immense feeling of relief, and never more so than at Christmas when I want to enjoy the season and yet also need to prep for the next semester.

So with the grades in, and the day crisp, bright, and relatively windfree, I took the afternoon off to make sure all the animals got some much needed exercise and fresh air. The piggies weren’t crazy about the frozen ground, but still had a blast playing in the huge pile of leaves Ellen had piled in the pasture for me.

It was still very cold, though, and even my fast-flowing little creek showed signs of ice formation:

The piggies enjoyed being in the pasture. Isn't Derby one HANDSOME piggy??????

Mama Soda and Papa Scotch joined the pigsters for a while, but once they were reassured that I was doing my job keeping an eye on the kiddies, the two of them waddled back to the warmth of the wool blankets and straw and enjoyed a quiet hour of canoodling without the kids around!

Excuse me! Could we please have some privacy???

I love the way the pigs pull the blankets up over themselves like this - it is amazing to watch them pull and tug at the corners until they get themselves all covered up. Scotch is a pro at this!

The dogs and I enjoyed the pasture and the beautiful views of the distant mountains. The light was shining on Mt. Baker and I couldn’t resist snapping this next photo to show my mom. I grew up in White Rock, where Baker was in view every day, and I know how much my mom loves that mountain and what good memories she has of the many hikes she and her friends enjoyed there. I don’t think I had realized before that I can see it from my pasture on a clear day in winter. For you, mom. (Well, I’ll show her the picture when she is here for Christmas!).

And some other pictures from yesterday's afternoon playtime:

Charley in the pasture

I'm not looking at you!

No, I'm not!

Well, all right, you may take my profile. Is this my best side?

Today we have a few inches of snow and it is coming down steadily. I had planned to do some Christmas shopping today, but that is out of the question as a trip down the hills may be possible, but will I be able to get back up again when I’m ready to come home? Even good winter tires and four wheel drive have a tough time on the icy hills leading to my home.

Belle is less than enthusiastic about the snow. I took all four dogs outside with me while I fed and watered the piggies and alpaca, as always. When I turned to call the dogs for our run in the pasture, Belle was nowhere to be found. Thinking she may have followed me into the house when I went back to fill the water buckets, I headed to the door……there was Belle, sitting on the stoop, waiting for her humble servant to open the door and let her back in to the warmth and comfort. Oliver and Sadie, on the other hand, would like everyone to know that frozen ‘paca poopsicles are THE BEST!!! Yuck!

I did lose ten years of my life when Sadie suddenly bolted at full tilt down the field….in pursuit of an intruder! I haven’t seen the coyotes for a couple of weeks, and rarely see their scat now either, and I’m quite sure this wasn’t Brazen. Brazen had his winter colours of white and tan and grey when I last saw him, and this animal was very dark – in fact, if Charley had not been by my side I would have thought it was Sadie and Charley tearing down the field. A darker coyote? A stray dog?? I don’t know – it was long gone by the time I caught up with Sadie who had staunchly ignored my call until she reached the fence around the perimeter of the field. So much for reliable recall, but at least she didn’t go through the fence as the intruder did. And I am VERY thankful the intruder did not decide to turn and fight. I shall have to be more careful in future – I thought we were late enough in the day that any wildlife would be long gone.

An alert Sadie gazes at the spot where the intruder disappeared

Oliver watches the pigs through the fence

Piggies feasting on hay and fruits and veggies in snow

I’m hoping the snow stops and roads are cleared for tomorrow as the foursome have an appointment with the groomers – gotta have them looking and smelling sweet before non-dog company arrives for Christmas. The groomer is, unfortunately, about an hour away and I’m darn sure rescheduling will not be possible at this time of year.

I also have to get over to the piggy sanctuary, half an hour in a different direction, to pick up piggy food – our shipment was delayed last week, and now I am down to about two days feed maximum. Unfortunately, the local stores here don’t carry it. Do I dare risk the roads today?

Personally, I think Oliver has the right idea - snuggled up with the Santa Dogs under my Christmas tree:

Edited to add: the snow is coming down thick and furious and I won't be going anywhere today. After a phone call with Janice from Hearts on Noses, I am now clearing out my cupboards to make the last of the piggy food stretch: rice krispies, oatmeal, popcorn - add a little dog food (not too much as the salt in dog food will make them very thirsty and is hard on them) and a little llama tex (Martin's feed) and some hay and they should be fine until Saturday. Here's hoping the roads are clear by then!


Black Jack's Carol said...

Great post, Jean! I loved all the pictures, but especially the one of Scotch with the blanket pulled up over his head. Smart fellow! Oh, and the one of Oliver curled up with the Santa dogs.

I can so relate to your feeling of relief when the marking is done. We ended up finishing on the same day:) I even managed to beat the deadline by one day.

Glad to know Sadie was okay. Very scary. I can imagine the state of your pounding heart.

Does your mother read your blog?

It snowed all day here, too. Enough, I say:) Hope you will be able to stock up on pig feed before Saturday.

Jean said...

Carol, I wish my mom could read my blog because I know she would enjoy the stories and picture. Unfortunately she is very visually impaired (just "this side" of legally blind) so reading anything on a screen is not possible for her. I hope that by printing off the photo of Mt. Baker she will be able to see it. I think I will use it to make a Christmas card for her.

I finished my marking a few days earlier than I anticipated, didn't I? It's amazing how quickly I can get through essays when I really, really, really want to be finished with my classes!!!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Lovely idea, Jean (printing off the card)!

So glad you can enjoy your animals now without marking over your head! Now, if this weather would just ease up a bit. Hope things work out as far as getting the pig feed in.