Monday, February 05, 2007

Memories of Cold

It is going down to 15 tonight, thus sayeth the National Weather Service.

I've been in and out of it all day today, in between hitting the phones looking for someone, anyone with hay for sale. I'm getting quite desperate on the hay front. It's so cold that the girls are barely producing enough milk to feed the bottle babies.

I brought Pearlie and Maggie up on the porch this morning. I put Bridey on her mom after giving her a morning feeding. Even after being away from their greedy buck kids, they barely have made enough milk to last the night. Pearlie, especially, is not making much. And yesterday they gave me a quart and a half each. It must be the cold.

My hands feel numb as I reach under to milk them. I keep putting my hands in my pants to try to warm them up before touching their teats.

I'm remembering cold from the past. That's how bone chilling it is. You can't help but remember those times before when it was so, so cold.

When I was ten, the Colonna girls drove the schoolbus into Savannah. They lived just a few houses away from me. I was at that age where riding in the very front seat of the bus was a coveted thing. My friends across the creek competed with me for that front seat position. It would still be dark and the stars would still be out when I'd leave the house. I'd have a thermos of hot cocoa with me. I'd let myself on the darkened schoolbus and wait for Sandy and Polly to come out of their house and start the engine. Sometimes I'd wait for thirty minutes.

I remember how cold it was. The cold, plastic schoolbus seat. My chubby knees peeking out of my parochial school uniform. Those knee socks that never stayed up. My breath fogging in front of me and the chocolate steam coming out of my thermos. But by God...I'd gotten there first. Some things are worth suffering for.

The cold in Bluffton is not a true cold like here. It is 20 degrees outside right now and it feels like 20 degrees. In Bluffton, the salt wind blows up from the marshes. There is that beautiful gold color the marshgrass turns in winter. It may only be in the thirties, but it's a wet cold that seeps into your bones. Perfect for oyster roasts.

My brother and I would sometimes have an impromptu oyster roast, just the two of us. We'd build a big fire next to the pump house and hose off a bushel of oysters we'd pulled out of the sucking mud that day. I can remember sitting there with that cold wind blowing off the river. We'd drink whiskey and Blenheim's ginger ale.

Another strong memory of cold for me was in England. It was the first film I worked on there and I hadn't learned to layer my clothing properly yet. We were in the Lake District in February filming a piece about Donald Campbell with Anthony Hopkins. I don't think I'd ever seen so many kinds of frozen precipitation fall at the same time. I was bundled up like the Michelin Man and all the Brits were laughing at me.

It was a dreadfully uncomfortable set. The damn boat that was the Bluebird mock-up kept sinking and we were chasing after all these extras in 1960's updos with umbrellas. Coniston Water was incredibly beautiful, but it wasn't the sort of place you wanted to be in February.
I did a bit of fell walking on my day off, the one day the sun came out, but it was still colder than any place I'd ever been.

So, I make the difficult decision to keep Maggie on the porch tonight. I'd rather her be out with the others where she can snuggle down for warmth. But I need milk for the girls and she just hasn't provided enough during the day.

As it falls dark, I hear pitiful kid cries. It's Kidzilla and he's hungry.

I take pity on him and let him up with Maggie. Guess his big butt will be sleeping indoors tonight. Lets hope there will be milk in the morning.


  1. Maridmitch said...
    My daughter lives in Bozeman, MT, where it drops to minus 35 and lower during the winter. It was minus 51 at West Yellowstone this winter. MInus 28 is about the coldest temperature I've experienced. It sets you back!
    erin ambrose said...
    hey rosie...i notice the other day while i was the feed/farm store in vegas that they're selling these 50lb bags of chaffe, fermented alfalfa(w/molasses) for 7.50 a bag....supposedly super good for the four leggeds and something like a pound and a half per 100lbs of animal per there somewhere near you or not so near you that might sell such a thing? i thought of it only cuz when i saw it there at the store i made a mental note that it could very well save my butt when i next run down on hay.
    we're getting a break from the cold here....i do not envy you.
    Rosie said...
    Maridmitch...My blood is too thin for those temps. I'm pretty sensitive to heat as well which is why I moved here to the mountains where it is cooler. But once it gets below 30...I'm pretty miserable.

    Hey Erin...yes..Betsy gets chaff for hers, but not with the molasses. It's really rich for goats. They need the roughage to keep them warm when it gets this cold. I'm not sure about sheep, but I do know there are some similarities. I think a diet too rich in protein with molasses without anything else might make them prone to bloat. Betsy might know if she's reading this.
    seejanemom said...
    Oh, I will pray a good Backslid Baptist prayer for you Ewhiskeypalian goats.

    I remember oyster roasts in Charleston. Memories like that will have to keep me warm for now. Thank you.

Post a Comment