Whenever I check the weather, it says we are experiencing a ‘Wintry Mix’ – as if this kind of rain/sleet/snow/slush we are having is something you would select to bring to a cocktail party. I’m not complaining in the least, currently listening to my main man Miles Davis, the cats are playing with a piece of hay string, the dogs are dozing by the fire and I am nice and cozy in my pajamas. How many days in a row do you have to stay home before you are considered an official hermit? I volunteer as tribute.

Today was the usual morning routine of getting dressed for the wintry mix and heading out to feed. I left Zoom’s blanket on today, gave the chickens plenty of scratch and made sure everyone else had enough hay. It has been snowing these little, tiny wispy snowflakes. They just drift around, up and across the fields like dandelion puff. Covering everything, of course. But it’s beautiful.

I tried to make pancakes for Sadie this morning – I say try because what I actually created, instead of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, were sad, thin soggy brown ones that still had liquid batter in the middle. We choked them down and I gave the rest to the chickens and the ducks, who did not complain. There are people who can cook and say they can’t, then there’s me.

I’ve mastered leaning the foods I need to survive: Cereal, frozen pizza, PB&J, frozen corn dogs, Macaroni and Cheese, spaghetti, PB&J and corn bread. Maybe chicken nuggets if they are on sale. Before I moved here, I lived on lunchables, apples with peanut butter, and trail mix. Sadie is a seasoned veteran in the kitchen. Most of things she whips together she has already memorized, I’ve never seen her use measuring cups or bowls, she just knows. And it’s delicious. She doesn’t burn anything, or under-cook it for that matter.

Living here is a bit like an apprenticeship. Except that I have a lot to learn when it comes to cooking.

Anyway, today was mostly feeding the fire, hauling wood with the wheelbarrow, stacking it, then burning it. I got inventive and realized you can pull a wheelbarrow up the stairs if you go backwards, that saved some splinters. I’ve managed to keep it going all day, we are low on propane so the wood stove has kept the house warm. If I had a Greek Goddess apprenticeship, I’d pass with flying colors.

While I don’t feel the least bit stir-crazy, the cats definitely are. We have been keeping them in at night, you can hear them running up and down the hall chasing each other. They bat around broken pieces of bark by the stove, paper balls, and the hay string from my jacket pocket. They usually stay outside much more than they are in, I think its affecting them.

At some point earlier this afternoon I decided to go riding. I put on my long underwear, a sweater, snow pants, knee socks, my boots, my coat, a furry scarf and wore a tan hat and black waterproof gloves. I was a very puffy, and surprisingly warm, Floridian.

Tug came right over, he had ice in his tail, his whiskers, and on the long hairs behind his ankles. I took some time to cut them out, then we saddled up and hit the road. It was beautiful, very cold, but lovely. The little fluffy snowflakes drifted around, the whole landscape was white and the mountains looked like a fudge brownie covered in powdered sugar. We made it to the gate on the far side of the dead end road and turned back, Abbie in tow. I saw our neighbors out, their 3 kids were climbing the very big hill behind their house to sled down.

They waved and I turned to walk Tug across the lawn. On of the girls slid off of her container lid and he spooked, which didn’t bother me, but I think it scared them. I got off and walked the rest of the way. The kids came over to pet him, which made him more tense.

I politely excused us, all the hands in his face weren’t helping. I walked him to the end of their yard and got ready to get back on – I kept him on the grass though, if I was going down I wanted it to be a soft, snowy landing. Abbie ran up from around a big tree and he spooked again. I waved at the neighbors and told them to call the Ambulance if I didn’t make it. I sang “Grand Old Flag” because it popped in my head, and rubbed his neck.

My neighbors were watching from the porch, halfway expecting some kind of Rodeo show. I turned Tug in a few circles to get his mind on his feet, instead of whatever scary things were hiding under the snow, and swung up. I smiled and waved and Tug briskly walked down the road. He knew we were heading home, and home meant herd, and he was definitely over being out alone. I shortened my reins and he tucked his head, still walking quickly.

We made it back to the barn in record time. I swung off, realized I couldn’t feel my toes, and grained Tug before turning him back out to his herd. When I got inside, Abbie lapped up some water and trotted off down the hall. I stoked the fire up again and kicked off my boots under my desk. I stretched my legs out towards the stove as the cats came to say hello, holding their tails up in their classic greeting.

Sadie’s home now, and it’s passed my bedtime. For now I’ll just say there’s no place like home-even if that home is covered in cat hair and snow.


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