January 5, 2020

Okay darn, it is going to be down to near zero again tonight. This has been such a strange winter here in this Colorado forest. We have had a warm December with only trace dustings of snow, only enough to remind you of what a white ground looks like before it melts back to brown dry pine needles. I think that is what makes it feel even more cold is because we were having such a mild winter up to this point. However we have also been dotted with the occasional hurricane force winds that have threatened to blow the chickens to Kansas. Last month during an especially horrendous wind storm one of our dead trees blew over and downed the main power line supplying our farm. We had called Mountain View Electric several times this past year about the dead trees by the power line and they had promised to come take care of them but I guess like all of us they have been sidetracked with this Covid pandemic as well. When we noticed that our power was off, my hubby and I went out right away to investigate and found a frightening situation where the the power line was on the ground with all those dry pine needles and also draped over like a downed clothesline over the pigs’ water trough and onto the metal roof of the Kune Kune pigs’ house. Now their house is not built of brick or straw but of wood and I could imagine everything going up into flames and then the winds carrying the fire throughout the forest like what happened several years ago when so many homes burned in Black Forest. I called 911 and Mountain View Electric was at our farm in 10 minutes. It is amazing what you can do in 10 minutes. While we were waiting for the electric company to arrive, we moved the bull (the hardest part) and heifer and Dollie and Gracie and the bewildered Kune Kunes all away from the front pasture where the power line was down. As soon as they arrived, Mountain View Electric cut the power off to our farm (and our neighbours , sorry folks) and they had the line back up and electricity back on for all of us within an hour and a half. Whew, that was a close call and we were grateful for not having to decide whether to eat barbecue pork or beef that day.

So yep, crazy weather this winter. Our farm lives by the weather app on our phones. When we did our evening chores tonight, we brought Dolly our milk cow who is 8 1/2 months pregnant (and reminds us of this all the time ) and Gracie (who reminds us that she is not a cow and what is going on?) and closed them up in their stalls to keep them out of the wind and cold and if we are lucky, snow. We pulled Gracie’s warm thick blanket out from the tack room and dusted it off and snapped it on her. We asked the alpacas if they wanted us to close them in their stalls as well but they just rolled their big brown eyes and reminded us of their thick fluffy warm alpaca sweaters and if we would just leave their stall door open they would come in when THEY felt like they needed to. The piggies and the cats who have decided to move in with them all have thick straw in their houses and the chickens have their heat lamps on in their houses. So they are set. The fish in the greenhouse were swimming around without a care in the world in their pond with the stock tank heater on. The toughest cookies are the Kentucky Bourbon Red turkeys who insist on roosting outside no matter what even though they have their own house to go into and Torito, the bull who likes to show off and act macho around Ellie our heifer. He insists horns and all that he does not need to go into the loafing shed and can endure standing out in the pasture no matter what. Ellie usually just shilly shallies until she gives up the whole herd mentality thing and moves into the shed herself.

So last but not least are the dogs. Now usually they are just fine in the barn bunking down with Gracie and the cow and the cats who have not moved in with the pigs and all of the straw and hay you can imagine. Now actually that is not what they do all night because most of the night they spend barking and chasing off who knows what off the farm. That is their job and they are proud of it and take it seriously. Thank God. But zero degrees is just too cold. Especially for our Pichon, the Navajo reservation dog we inherited when our daughter Elena moved to New Zealand with her family. He is built like a tank but has short hair and as my husband says is friolento.

And then we also have Toby our loyal brilliant neurotic border collie who my hubby calls an old man. I am Toby’s human and he will stay right next to my side of the bed until I am ready to go back outside.

Our willing Akbash livestock guardian dogs Ayla and Judah are huge and majestic but still puppies at heart and they pivot back and forth from guarding the animals out in the pasture to guarding my hubby and I where ever we may be on the farm.

So when it is going to be super cold outside they all come into the home with us. Now these 4 farm dogs are definitely not house dogs and they always act bewildered when they come in to the house. Toby stays on guard at his posts by the back door or by my bed always ready for service. Pichon the head ranch hand on the farm likes to revert back to his Boulder college days when he was first adopted by Elena and her husband Pablo and they would let him sleep on their furniture. When I found him on my parent’s antique velvet chair I set him straight about all of that. Ayla and Judah, our Akbash puppies like to look for shoes, socks, Christmas ornaments on the tree etc to play with. Oh, brother. Last week when we had them in the house we had them all stay in our bedroom and they would alternate from walking around our bed and wagging their tails against the furniture or lying down with a big thud onto the hardwood floor and then snore and fart. My hubby and I just turned to each other and rather than saying “Good night” we said “Good luck. ” Knowing that we were looking forward to having a repeat performance tonight, I took a nap this afternoon.

I praise God that He watches over us as He does. He knows just what we need. He provides us with our food and shelter and when things are looking pretty rough, He comforts us and lovingly shields us during the storms of our lives. What an amazing and patient and caring Father He is! How can we be anything but thankful to Him and give Him due honor for the Glorious Lord He is?

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection

2 Corinthians 1:4-5 Who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God, For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

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