Okay, now that I am warm, fed, and rested, I will tell you about the adventures of Carol and Jean on a Winter Day at Saints (this is your bedtime story, dear readers).
I headed over to SAINTS around 10:30 this morning, in a foot of snow. The barn animals were still inside due to the lousy weather and Carol was hoping to head home shortly to feed them. So I loaded four bales of hay from the garage into the back of my Pathfinder (which, by the way, John told me yesterday "needs detailing" :) ), and with the car in four wheel drive took them to the barn. As soon as I opened the doors, Carl came tearing outâ€¦and practically screeched to a halt. Lifting each foot carefully as if stepping on hot coals, he tiptoed out to the end of the barn, did his business, and then came dashing back in. I swear I heard him shudder and mutter something about this not being Peru, his native land.
I unloaded the hay, which Swinger and Spritely and the donkeys seemed to think was some kind of mobile lunch wagon going past them, tossed some hay to the critters to keep them from kicking down the stall doors while they waited for their feed ("Lousy service in this saloon, that's all I can say" muttered Winston).
Trudged back out through knee deep snow to take some pictures of the dogs. Cole was in seventh heaven - joyfully bouncing at the gate, wanting a run. Tyra was digging in the snow looking for â€¦what else?... balls. That dog is obsessed with balls. Since I wouldn't play with her just then she was gleefully tossing them up in the air by herself, then madly rummaging through the snow to retrieve them. Smart dogâ€¦never rely on someone else to entertain you, make your own fun. Lexie was, I think, on some kind of protest sit-in. Or sit-out. She lay in the snow, flakes rapidly covering her up, and didn't move. Andy stayed close by her, since he thinks she's his foster mama, and soon looked like a popsicle himself.
I shoveled the walk - don't know why, since the snow just kept right on coming. (By the time I left in the afternoon, the shoveled part was barely visible. One of those exercises in futility). I walked Maude and Sandy. Maude was Maude - happy, alert, interested in everything; Sandy was feeling a bit panicky. And then Copper and I went to the playground. THAT'S where I should have had my camera. Envision this: A happy-go-lucky beagle SWIMMING in an ocean of snow. All that was visible was the very top of his fat little body and his happy, laughing face as he gallantly dog-paddled through snow deeper than him.
But the best fun and games came when Carol got home. We took the dogs for a run in the lower meadowâ€¦. There is something magical about 17 year old Bill who reverts to a puppy on a run in the snow; old deaf Moses who plods along like an advertisement for a movie entitled "Lost in the Arctic"; Tyra who cares not that the pond is covered with slush - it's water, it has to be checked out. Tally searches for, and is rewarded with, tasty horsepoops buried in the snow. Lexie comes along because if Carol is going somewhere she is going too. And Cole is in his element - a true snow dog whose wall-to-wall grin says it all.
And then there were the barn critters. They were pissed that brunch was late, even if it was a Sunday. So they wanted out, then they wanted in - but not in their stalls, in whatever stalls they could race to first - total chaos as sheep went in horse stalls, horses went in donkey stalls, donkeys headed for sheep stallsâ€¦and Petunia voiced her objections to the whole three-ring circus.
In fact, once the critters were out, and Carol and I had mucked out the stalls (another exercise in futility since the animals came back in, trashed them, and then wanted back out again), Petunia decided enough was enough. While Carol and I tried to bring in wheelbarrows of fresh woodchips, Petunia carefully and strategically placed herself sideways across the doorway blocking our entrance. And there she stood. Solid. Immovable. A virtual Rock of Gibralter. Carol whined and cajoled and bribed and threatened and eventually Petunia resumed her patrol of the stalls and set about leaving her version of chocolates in each and every stallâ€¦.piggy poops. I don't know how she does it. She carefully rations them outâ€¦five for this one, five for that one, ten for the donkeys because there's two of themâ€¦..and she even went back to the sheep stall after I had cleaned up her gift and left them some more.
Soaked right through and exhausted we headed back to the house. And that was when we saw itâ€¦.the chicken run. Cross beams smashed in two, wire mesh dragging, it was destroyed by the weight of the snow. Oh ohâ€¦..one of those moments that comes back to haunt youâ€¦Carol had said, not an hour before, "we should do something about clearing that snow off the top of the chicken run". Too late now. Armed with barn rakes, we beat the rest of the snow off to try to save the remaining two cross beams, shut the chickens and roosters into their coop, and decided to try to resolve that problem another day. At least Hank didn't attack us - he must have known chicken and dumplings would taste darn good on a cold snowy day. At least, that was the message I was trying to send him telepathically.
So that was it. A day in the life of SAINTS. The snow continues to fall and heaven only knows what challenges tomorrow will bring. But whatever they are, I'm sure we can handle them. Unless, of course, Carol really does go kill herself in a snowbank.