Writing and farming below freezing

Yesterday was colder than ever and the wind was blowing fiercely scoring the skin off my face and the water out of my own eyes. So cold that if you are doing the dishes and your hands are a little wet, and you pop outside for a piece of wood for the stove and then on your way back in you grab the metal handle on the kitchen door and.. shiver with horror… that hated feeling as your skin sticks to the metal, dragging it back off, leaving layers behind, epidermis breeched,  teeth flinching,  skin quivering .. that cold.


But look what greeted me in the barn yesterday afternoon.


Mama was finally up, all day we had been working on getting up, I would push her and pull her and force her to stand and walk about, giving her drinks of her tonic in between and here she was up by herself and whats more,  she came over and ate out of a bucket – all  by herself.  So the force feeding period has ended.  Now that she can move about I cannot sit down on the ground beside her to feed her those fluids anyway. She does not have to endure my mad tonic anymore, now that she can feed herself. Magic. Was that you? Because this old girl was staring right at deaths door.  Dawn meant nothing to her for a while. Something brought her back. Big old sheep.


Sheila looking into the barn, looking for a scratch. The hoses are frozen so all the animal’s water is carried by hand in buckets.  Two cows, four sheep, three pigs, a myriad of chickens and fowl and a ram.  Our numbers are becoming more manageable for the winter but that is still a lot of water to be carried. This is water out of the tap, steaming in the frigid air. writing-025

We are still way below freezing, many of the animals and birds have heated bowls but there is no electricity in the fields, so I fill those bowls only as much as the animal will drink, three or four times a day.  Mainly Hairy MacLairy and Sheila and the plonkers. Of course they all have barn access, but no heated waters.



This is Queenie’s: ‘I am sure you forgot to feed me’ look.  She was galloping about in the yards yesterday, terrifying me. It is all ice in there.



writing-088 writing-081

Cold. Cold.

Today I am undertaking a special challenge. I am going to write 10,000 words of my book. Everyone has a book –  in fact everyone should be writing a book. They say everyone has one good book in them but not everyone can open the gate. Actually for me the main problem is WHICH bloodybook.  So today I am going to give it a good boot and woosh the words right out there.

My bigger problem is that I type slower than I think. Much slower.  And like you I think in words and conversations so there is a lot that can be written in a day. This was not my idea. It is the brainchild of  Milli who I found through Charlotte Rains Dixon. I have not done this before, preferring the solitary bashing at the keys. I think am to pop into the site during the day and make a report, which will hold my cold pale feet to the fire!  But we will see what happens. It might be fun!

Our John said, so can I take you out to dinner for your birthday then? Sure, I said,from the barn loft.  Close your eyes!. Throwing a bale of hay down to him. (Dust you see.)  It bounced about a  bit on the floor. He pulled out his knife to cut the stings, the bale singing apart like a leafy accordion. Daisy unhinged her concertina neck and reached over the gate for  an appetiser. But aren’t you writing ten thousand words? He said. Daisy stop that! Well, I said, gently moving Tui and Pania aside so I could reach past the hay to the straw for Mama’s clean bed.


Let’s just do both. I will get up early. The promise of dressing up and dinner OUT, should facilitate 10,000 words.  Though I need to allow some time to do something about my Phyllis Diller hair. Silence from below. Wise man.

What about your .. um.. bottom? He ventured, throwing hay into the cow’s manger, the sheep squawking for their share. Wait Minty.  Oh, I will be fine, I said.  Climbing carefully back down the ladder; I will just perch. Maybe I can ask them for an old wooden chair with a broken seat.  It works for me so far.

Have a lovely day.

your friend, celi.


82 Comments on “Writing and farming below freezing

  1. You know C that when you are on good speaking terms with Him up there..requests usually do get answers..glad Mama is improving..now for Kupa….I have mentioned to Him about Kupa and his cough, so just wait for results.. love P

  2. What a brilliant photo of Sheila looking through the gate. (who says animals can’t smile).

    Good luck with the writing/typing. Just remember not to sit too long for any length of time so you don’t get too stiff.

    (I can’t imagine writing/typing 10,000 words in one day. I can type fast, but my fingers won’t necessarily type the letters my brain dictates). Hope it goes well anyway and hope your enjoy the dinner out.

  3. Had to laugh at the ‘perching’ – that is what I had to do last year when my pelvis slipped out of place! Couldn’t sit,could only perch! Found bar stools the best, as my bum could just perch on the edge whilst my legs could still take the weight.
    I am hating this cold and it isn’t even winter yet – roll on spring! Happy Birthday (whenever that is) and hope you enjoy your meal out, nice to have someone else cook for a change isn’t it?
    PS got a great book I am devouring at the moment – Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats!

  4. MORNING!! Yes, I’m shouting because there are chainsaws going across the street, and I can’t hear myself type. When is the birthday dinner, and where are you heading, and what will you eat?

  5. Happy, Happy Birthday Celi. Actually a propitious date today – 11/12/13 and if you make your birthday wish at 9:10 mins past 8 it will be sure to come true 🙂 8/9/10/11/12/13. 🙂 🙂
    Wishing yu all good things for next year …. and glad to see Mama up and about again. Laura

    • PS; type 5000 words today and 15000 tomorrow! Numbers are good like that – they are interchangeable 🙂

  6. Is it your birthday today Celi? Happy Birthday!!!!! hope you enjoy many more! Glad to hear Mama is up and about! All the animals look good. Cold and windy here too in SE MN. Enjoy your dinner out with Our John.

  7. I love that shot of Sheila, it reminds me of that great picture you took of Charlottes seedy paramour, something about the eyes, not suggesting that our Sheila looks in anyway seedy but I can see the likeness. Good to see the big dog up and about and coping with the cold.

  8. What very correct posture in that shot of Celi at her keyboard… I hope your bottom enjoys its outing, you have been rather confined recently. I’m so happy Mama’s on her feet again.

    • I always sit and stand very straight, my mother used to make us walk up and down the kitchen with books on our heads! We loved that game and i was always the best.. c

  9. Oy! Isn’t it early to be having this much cold? So happy you found Mama on her feet. Amazingly resilient, that one. Ooo! A birthday dinner! Aren’t you a lucky gal? Even if you have to perch, a large glass of wine or other beverage will dull the pain surely, and I think the Phyllis Diller hair suits you. Have fun!

  10. Happy Birthday Celi!!! Do go out and kick up your heels (gently though) and have a wonderful birthday dinner!!! May this be your best year yet!!! xoxoxo

  11. A Very Happy and WARM Birthday wish coming at you! Hover or find a nice diner you can stand up and eat at 🙂 Enjoy your birthday NO MATTER WHAT this has been a rough year. HUGS

  12. First of all, ‘Happy Birthday.’ Hope you have a wonderful dinner out.
    I was happy to see the picture of Mama standing. It’s sad to know that some farmers would have just let her go instead of taking the time to nurse her back to health. So good job!!!!
    It is so, so cold. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I would one day handle my farming duties in cold like this. I suppose it makes one appreciate a nice warm pair of overalls, coat, boots and gloves.
    You have me wondering what book is inside of me and if 10,000 words a day would improve my writing skills enough to make my book worth reading? 🙂
    Hope you reach your writing goal for the day.

  13. Have a lovely birthday! And good luck with your 10,000 word goal. Have you thought about spending a day recording your book on a small recording device. Then typing it?

    I’m so happy about Mama being up and better. Wish I could help with the bucket brigade, but alas, it’s a little bit of a commute from Texas.

    • I did exactly that, 10,000 by 2pm. I had no idea it would be that easy. There is a bit of editing ahead of me though! And it is going to be bad cold tonight so we are wondering if we should not stay home by the fire instead.. It is a long drive, and the wind chill is meant to get down to minus 10!!by midnight.. we will see!! c

      • I wonder if writing is like running. Do you find that you struggle a bit to hit your stride and then it’s smooth sailing or does it just pour out from the beginning? So happy for your accomplishment!

  14. Such wonderful news and your birthday too – a good day indeed! Sending greetings from a slightly warmer Bexhill on Sea. Love the photo of you 🙂

  15. Birthday wishes from me to you! Good to see you out and about yesterday! I will give you a heads up when I drop off the oil..that way John will know. Have a great birthday dinner!

  16. I am so happy that Mama is making a recovery! Poor old lady!

    Happy birthday! I had forgotten that ours were so close together. Like you, I am trying to get some words written today. It will be a challenge. This story doesn’t come as easily as the others.

  17. Did I read that right — is today (11 December) your birthday? It’s my birthday too! Have a great day.

  18. Happy Birthday and very good Mama news!
    With that cold Sheila will want an electric blanket and Big Dog will be under it with her 😉

  19. It’s you birthday! How a joyous day and a delicious supper, my dear Celi. I adored the very last photograph. It says 10,000 words!

  20. … and please my dear, let’s not forget the lipstick. Red? Gloss? No matter. Also, some bubbles. New Zealand makes some mean bubbles. France, of course and perhaps some funky stuff from Italy. Bubbles, lipstick … you should be good to go. Have a good one!

  21. Dance of joy for “Gran”, her earned title, and for you too Celi as it is a better
    world with you in it !! Cheers !

  22. To see Mama up on her own warms the cockles, all right. And to see Big Dog and TonTon and that Sheila Girl and sweet hungry Queenie. You have much to celebrate,Celi, thanks to you yourself! Happy happy birthday.

  23. Happy Happy Birthday Cinders…and it is indeed a happy one to wake up to Mama standing all on her own today…that is surely another reason to celebrate! And look…Shelia was saying happy birthday too…just look at that face! 🙂
    May there be many clinking of glasses tonight!!

  24. Ah! I see my book writing idea was not original! haha Good for you. I am prepared to purchase a copy immediately after publication. So glad that all the animals seem to be well or on the mend. Now if your tailbone would just heal! Have a lovely birthday,my friend.

  25. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Celi, happy birthday to you……AND MANY MORE!
    Your good care of Mama helped her expel the bad things still inside her. Without you she probably would not have made it. Lovely pictures, as usual.

  26. Happy Birthday – gratitude that you are here every day so I get my fix of love through the eyes of animals and your words!

  27. Happy Birthday Celi! I’m so glad to hear Mama is better – thanks to your loving hands and spirit. It’s bitter cold here too. We southern folks are not used to it… pipes freezing everywhere – most are not aware of precautions to take for long periods of freezing temps. I don’t mind it for a while. It allows me to get that “Nebraska state of mind” in practice so I don’t totally forget my roots!

  28. Great flying cats… Mama is up 😉 Great skating cows… it is cold. But the dogs don’t seem to mind. Great smiling pigs… Happy Birthday fellow Sagi, there’s a few of us congregated here 🙂

  29. Remember all work and no play….. Go enjoy uor birthday and have a wonderful time. I was going to suggest a bar stool and don’t forget the to bring the cushion!

  30. Just figured out how to add an avatar…..ha ha. So this is my kitty Lobo that was abandoned at our farm and now has a forever home with us. Once again, Happy Birthday from frozen Oregon.
    Many hugs, Celi

  31. Congratulations on Mama’s miraculous recovery. Congratulations on your magnificent birthday. Congratulations on finding a man who remembers, and even more, is prepared to go out to dinner.!!!!..Many happy returns, and hope next year you’ll be all in one piece… much love

  32. I’m late! Sorry! Been baking all day and I am bushed! It is very very cold outside…brrrr….everyday is below zero here. I am sure it is tougher on you too! My kitchen is nice and warm!!!! I hope you have a lovely birthday dinner out!!! I didn’t know it was your birthday!
    Prayers answered for Mama! Yay! Great news!!! She looks wonderful! I love your hair!! It is wildly beautiful!!! 😀
    Sheila is so sweet….such a good girl! And you captured that look perfectly! LOL Dear Queenie!!!
    It is hard work in the winter. Trust me on the wrist braces! They really do protect your wrists. Bucket carrying is tough on them! I know!
    Take care and try to stay warm! Write away!!! I can’t wait to read your book! I know I am going to love it…(((hugs))) Me! Muah!!!

    p.s. Hi Everyone! 😀

  33. Dearest Celi,
    Count your life by smiles
    Not tears,
    Count your age by friends,
    Not years.
    Happy birthday!!!
    Always, Mere

  34. Must admit I feel quite ‘smug’ in having picked up your birthday in yesterday’s post 🙂 !! The ‘long’ wishes are somewhere there at the end – but are repeated here with all the good wishes in the world! And after all those chores of the day, do hope you were able to sit down reasonably comfortably and have a lovely romantic night out!! Wonder how far you have to travel . . . Good to see Mama upright, bad to think of the cold so severe that bowls have to be warmed and water doled out to the family every few hours . . . Oh, Celi . . . and all the charges there 24/7!! Take care and a hug . . .

    • I saw your birthday wishes and thank you! we did not travel far after all.. way too cold and icy.. tomorrow it warms up a little so we may go a little further.. love the hugs.. c

  35. What a great thing to see first thing in the morning! Mama standing of her own accord. Whatever bond you two had before, it’s even stronger now.
    Hope you’re having a great birthday, Celi! Cent’ anni!

    • Oh John and Celi ~ please forgive me for butting in! Languages and customs!! There is John wishing you a hundred years 🙂 ! At Estonian birthdays we always sing the same song and it finishes ‘. . . and let her live a hundred times, a hundred years ‘!!

        • Sugar [ 🙂 !!] – I have three Polish cousins and am learning this from one of Italian heritage written on a prairies blog in the US! Wonderful 😀 !!

  36. Happy Birthday, Celi. Hope you were able to enjoy your dinner and evening out. I like the shot of you.

  37. Birthday joy, Celi! I forget between-times our b’days are so close. May you have a glorious–and *injury-free* year! Big hugs to you, my dear lady. 😀

  38. The photo of Sheila reminds me of the Old Masters. She is posing for a painting that will become known throughout the world as ‘Portrait of a Pig’. I do like her nonchalantly tipped war. Happy birthday to you in the cold. Here the pohutukawas are blooming all around the harbour and down the streets; such a happy sight.

  39. So happy to hear Mama is doing better! I do not like weather THAT cold! The look on Queenie’s face is priceless. I can’t wait until you’re done with your book. I love to read, and if allowed, I will read it for sure!

    Happy Birthday to you! ~ April

  40. Hope you had a very Happy Birthday and celebration, Celi. That was Mama’s birthday present to you I’m sure, to be on her feet again and on the road to recovery. Hope you found a comfortable chair! 🙂

  41. Happy late birthday. If it was mentioned in the original post, I was distracted by the 10,000 words and had to come ask if you made them. Reading through the comments I not only saw that you did I saw the birthday wishes and wanted to add mine. Any more 10,000 words? Sleeping bag still in place at night on your pig? Enjoy your day. 🙂

    • yes my piggie still has her sleeping bag blankie, and yes, maybe my goal will be 5,000 a day and then editing said 5,000 that day… that is probably a more sensible goal.. have a good one! c

  42. Wow, so many cool people have birthdays now–my grandson, my client, and now you! Happy birthday! Thanks for the shout-out, and I’m dying to know how the writing went. Did you hit 10K words?

    • yes i did charlotte, very easily actually, done by early afternoon, mostly i learnt that i can sit down and write to a goal, if I had a goal of say 2,000 or 5,000 new words every day, imagine how much faster this project would move. So thank you for the idea, it has taught me something very very important.. c

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