Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Farina and Cupola

Thankful that the snow is almost gone. (And for good, I might ask)


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Days and days of single digit temperatures can be very taxing on all of us, but especially those of us who have animals and livestock that depend on us for their care, comfort, and wellbeing. We’ve raised llamas for over 13 years now and have never had a winter like this one. We thought we had planned well for the vagaries of a Virginia winter, but Mother Nature is a scamp and likes to keep us on our toes by throwing new challenges our way.

Our first winter with the llamas we had a 36 inch snow. It was up to the llamas’ bellies and they would not venture out of the barn. Well, think about it…..would you? We had a 6 foot snow blower that fit onto the PTO of our tractor, so ‘Road Warrior’ cleared a loop around the pasture so the llamas had a place to walk. It took about a month for that snow to melt, and for weeks, the llamas walked in endless circles around the llama loop.

Llama Loop

Then there was the winter that we had a 30 inch blizzard and lost power for 5 days. Of course, our portable generator went belly up and when you’re on a well, no power means no water. Not to mention, no heat. We had the fireplace and a Kerosun heater that we carried from room to room. For water for the llamas, we melted snow in a stew pot on top of the Kerosun. And this isn’t Murphy’s Law, it is THE LAW OF LIFE. If you wait to buy something until you really need it, it will be sold out. No generators, No portable heaters, No bottled water, No lamp oil, No batteries. It got so chilly in the kitchen that we opened the fridge door to keep the food cold.


This year has been COLD. POLAR COLD. We had a burst pipe in the garage, but no major damage. Remember THE LAW OF LIFE? When you really need a plumber, they will be busy. Luckily we have a regular plumber and he squoze in a minute to come put a temporary cap on the pipe so we could have our water back.

It has been so consistently COLD that our freezeless self-draining barn hydrant froze. We went to Lowes to get some electrical heat tape, but there was that old LAW OF LIFE again. They couldn’t get it in and no one had any for miles around. So we took stock of what we had on hand and came up with this ingenious solution.

hydrant heater

Within an hour the pipe was clear and we had water once again.

They are predicting another Arctic blast for the next three days, so today I have been searching for outdoor weatherproof heaters in the hopes of keeping our sweet peacock, Farina, warm. But needless to say……..

Farina on rail

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snow painting

Sometimes you find treasures where you least expect them. Yesterday, as I was sitting in front of the fire, cuddled in my new comfy Christmas throw, and sipping a cup of hot spiced tea, I was just finishing the last few pages of my other Christmas present, the latest Stephen King novel, “Doctor Sleep”.

I was attempting to obliterate the view from the front window: the remains of the weekend’s snow, melting with the help of a steady drizzle and a bone chilling wind…and postponing the inevitable slog down to the barn to feed the llamas. With breathless anticipation, I was ravenously devouring the last few chapters.

And in the midst of all the ghosts and gore and nail biting imageries of the ultimate battle between good and evil I found this little gem, sitting right in the middle of a page. Stephen King attributes this to the poet Ezra Pound.

“Raineth drop and staineth slop,
and how the wind doth ram!
Skiddeth bus and sloppest us,
damn you, sing goddam.”

The suspense was broken, I was laughing out loud. What a perfect antidote for a perfectly miserable day.

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To begin, start with one goldendoodle and add 20 inches of fresh, clean, new fallen snow.

Mix well for two minutes.

(Please accept my apologies for the orientation of this video. The Road Warrior left town with the camera, so I had to resort to my iphone for video. I held the phone wrong. Click on the little square at the bottom right of the video to view full screen, and hit escape to return.)



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The photo says it all. IT’S TOO EARLY, DAMMIT!

8 inches of the wettest, heaviest snow possible fell on October 29. Last Saturday, we enjoyed a llama hike in the Shenandoah Valley and the leaves were at their most perfect.


Had this snow happened 30 days from now, it would have been a non event. But the leaves on the trees were great snow collectors, causing huge, beautiful trees to break under the weight. We were very fortunate in that we didn’t have any big damage. But we were diligent. During the height of the storm, after about 6 inches had already fallen, we spent 3 hours walking around our 20 acre property, shaking the snow off all the trees that we could budge. Our  dogwoods and newly planted birches and willows were bent to the ground, but after we unburdened them of their load, they popped right back up.

Morning Coffee with Mayzie

Despite losing power for 8 hours, the snow was quite beautiful. Even as it fell, the temperatures were above freezing, so it was melting and falling at the same time.


Sublimation “The process of changing from a solid to a gas without passing through an intermediate liquid phase”. Quite eerie, and appropriate for the Halloween weekend, the melting snow creates a fog over the pastures.

Crop Circles in the Snow

Even with 8 inches of snow on the ground, the mowing tracks are still visible.

Serving Breakfast

Yea! Hay!

Frosted Flakes for Breakfast

I layed out flakes of hay on top of the snow since there wasn’t any grass visible. The llamas were quite non-plussed when they stepped out into the snow, but soon spyed the hay and so starts a new day.

Frost on Leaves

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