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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where the Winds Blow Strange

Bernie Willis, who owns several Icelandic horses, once remarked that his having (Icelandic) horses was what motivated him to get up in the mornings. I thought about his statement this a.m., as I burrowed back down into the covers. What he said is true. I tried, but failed to shake a mental image, one of Raudi, Siggi, and Tinni, hungry, standing at the gate, and waiting to be fed.

But no, I listened to the wind howl for a bit, and then put on the clothes that, last night, I’d placed at the foot of my bed. I then went downstairs and donned my Refrigerware suit, boots, hat, and gloves. The dogs followed me out the door, and I let the goats out of their pen. Peaches let me know that the shrieking sound of the wind generator was unacceptable. And Rover and Ranger ran off in an attempt to get away from the noise, which sounded like a huge piece of sheet metal being torn to shreds.

The horses skittered about on the icy surface as I entered their enclosure. I got some hay out of the shelter and tossed it in the nearby round black bin. Tinni did a half-rear, and Siggi stumbled backwards. Once Tinni settled down, Siggi moved in, and then tipped the bucket over, so that he could get some sustenance. Raudi, who is wise to the ways of the feeding world, trotted over to the feed bin on the far side of the shelter and waited for me to dole out her share.

I tossed some out to the goats, who were waiting for a handout. Food activates the limbic system, so in seconds, all were again content. I next picked up the previous night’s manure, all the while observing all the animals. If anything was off, this was the time in which I’d become aware of it. I also accessed my own situation, working from top to bottom. My head was cold, so I pulled my hood up over my ears. My fingers were cold, and there wasn’t anything I could do besides shake them. I’d purchased a pair of leather, wool-lined gloves in Fairbanks, but much to my dismay, I discovered yesterday that they do little good when it’s cold and windy. Conversely, my feet were toasty. I was wearing an old pair of hiking boots – sock liners and newly purchased Smart Wool socks have proven to be the ticket. I returned to our cabin after breaking the ice on the horses’ water bucket. (Refills come after breakfast.) The dogs and goats raced on ahead—they’d all had enough of the wind and wanted back into their respective shelters.

I’ll work inside today. I can’t walk or ride when it’s this cold and windy. This pains me because exercising me and the animals is an integral part of my routine. Like all the animals, I’m a creature of habit.