When the sun is shining down, there is a hint of warmth. Though the temperature has not risen above 32 degrees in many days, there are pockets of warmth. Many people have a home which is heated by oil, gas, electricity or chopped wood. The animals at the Farm for whom we provide care need to make themselves warm with their own fur or their internal body heat.
Our lead farm animal caregiver, wears heat warmers in her mittens, which have not been taken by any kittens, so as to keep a semblance of warmth when providing breakfast or supper to the goats, donkey, horses, bunny and chickens. Not to mention, Astro the warm, furry dog must provide warmth when he is petted to those hands after being out in the early morning and the slowly increasing with light afternoons. For when the sun goes down and the moon goes up, there is not heat outside, not even a brewed cup of coffee or cocoa can maintain its warmth once it is exposed to the elements.
The manure from our horses is hot when it lands on the ground. It warms again when we add it, some coffee grounds and various food scraps from restaurants and residents as it makes compost along with carbon-rich leaves, gathered when landscape crews were clearing yards before the snow. I am inclined to try and frequently mix these ingredients so as the decomposition can create energy and warmth. That heat can warm a compost maker. The act of turning the decomposing pile keeps me warm too, so I do not sit still in the cold.
It is nice to get outside on thgese frigid days, just as it is nice to sit inside with newspapers to read, magazines to peruse and to sit near a cat who knows where the sun streams in for extra warmth. The reading I do is mostly farm related and organizing for the year ahead. How many rows of carrots can we grow for those in need next October? Can we really plant, harvest and store significantly more root crops and winter squash? And reading, in moderation, of the world events must bring hope that more change and resistance will persist in the new year.
The spinach too, unable to read, but hopefully able to thrive and feel the sun, is all tucked in the new greenhouse # 3 in Peck’s Meadow. As the days lengthen, it too will feel more inclined to produce harvestable leaves for a winter market, as we can not rely solely on the hard working Californians to supply all our nutrients.
So we wait, we continue to look after the animals and we find ways to move through the cold and stay warm in the sunny spots. With a cat to admire, a dog to pet or a blanket to drape, we read, plan, rest and continue with work and company and pockets of warmth.