In the night,

as one lone coyote howled out on the frozen tundra (and Boo answered from THE COUCH! ), the temperatures dropped soundlessly to -12F/-24C.

By midnight the wave of frigid air had rolled through and without pause the temperatures began to rise again. Not a breath of wind just this inexorable deepening then lightening of terrible cold.

I did not check the pigs before going to bed, not because I was too cold but because I did not want to risk them getting up out of their warm beds.


And now we slowly slowly rise up. By this morning (now) we are up to  6F and by this afternoon the warm air that is rolling in, a caboose following that long  bitter mass of cold, that crawled its zeppilin body across the faces of the prairies last night, will  take us to a high of 16F/-8C.

And by tomorrow our highest point is just below freezing. Great isn’t it. The rest of the week will be significantly warmer. Above freezing and up.

If the animals understood English they would know that last night was the coldest night for this month. And they would smile that that night is behind us. Now we get a bit of breathing space.

pig and dog

Boo and his Barrow (a barrow is a castrated boar pig) are such sweet friends.  The Barrow has his own room where he sleeps when we are outside working but when we come in he stands at his door listening  and gently oinking and we let him out into the house. Straight away he gets as close to the fire as he can where he finds Boo.
pig and dog

He has crossed over from stock to pet and I have called the wonderful Pig Rescue lady – Lori – she will find a home for him this week so that  I can get him settled before I go away on Friday.

pig and dog

John and Ton will not be able to manage a pig inside with all their other duties and winter is my travelling time so I cannot force extra responsibilities on them. Boo is happy with a pig inside but Ton does nothing but pace and sneak up on the little pig from every direction endlessly guarding him. So off The Barrow  will go to begin his new life on a little property with other pets. My only request is that he can find a home where he has a heated pen for the winter. I told you he was the runt – right?  He was that tiny, tiny boy baby of Poppy’s. Once I worked that out in my head it made some kind of sense.  He is slowly eating more and I think he has begun to put on weight.

What amazes me is how fast he has changed to trusting humans and dogs, learning his toilet corner, working out which is his bed, and sleeping and SNORING  on his mattress by the fire. (I have taken away the New Zealand Sheepskin because just like a pig he began to EAT it.)

Today will be cold but the sun should come out this afternoon and we are climbing up out of the huddled dark and bitter cold into the sunlight. Just a few more days of shuffle-steps across the frozen skate rink that is the Quad. Our buildings all sit around this area and all the trucks and the tractor and our footsteps have turned the ice and snow between the barns and sheds and the house into a polished skating rink.  We creep across it carrying the buckets and hay and feed and machines, criss crossing, our eyes searching for new safer spots to put out boots. But not for much longer. The warm is coming, then it will melt and the ground will go softer but I much prefer mud to ice.

Now I will get out my teensy tiny suitcase and begin to prepare for my own travels.

I hope you have a good day.


65 Comments on “In the night,

  1. Poppy the runt had a runt who has a dog friend named Boo and will find a new home soon where he will be loved just like Poppy was. It will all work out. I hope his new home has a dog nanny too. Good morning and yay for warmer weather.

  2. This piglet is too cute – if I lived closer I would adopt him myself! I’m sure he’ll make someone a wonderful pet🐖🐖🐖

  3. Oh Miss C, your travels are getting so close! I’m glad that gasp of frigid air has passed you by and you are all, animal and human, safe and warming up again. Your Baby Barrow and Nanny Boo lying together in front of the fire are sweet…

  4. Have a marvelous getaway and respite from the farmylife demands. The sun on the frozen horizon so lovely.

  5. These pictures of the piglet and your dog are just too adorable!! And your snow pics are wonderful! Have a safe trip! 🙂 <3

  6. My brother moved from Maine to Croatia in October. He likes to photograph the historic spots and architecture. He and his partner and a friend call themselves 3 Grey Goats. Baby goats are a favorite animal for them. I sent your story yesterday about young Barrow coming indoors. I suggested a pet pig instead of a pet goat if they were so inclined. They enjoyed the story.

    • Thank you for sharing this story with your brother. The 3 Grey Goats! It has a certain ring to it! I cannot believe how easy it is having a pig in the house – he honestly is no trouble at all.. c

  7. These images are sweet. I find precious learning any time I deal with a runt. They present a challenge to think differently and beyond the box. And so many factors influence the decisions – right now time is of the essence, a skeleton crew, and extreme weather. I think you’ve done well. Someone will be able to attend to his special needs, and Lori is the person to continue that work. A connection of beautiful, caring souls…

  8. Lori will find a good home for this little guy. The fact that he was Poppy’s runt makes me think his name should be Wilbur like the runt from Charlotte’s Web. I know we are not naming him but it came to mind this morning.

  9. Love the snow vistas but I am extremely grateful SA thermometers don’t have the same numbers on them as yours 🙂 Now did Boo have his Barrow on the couch with him, I wonder? Laura

  10. Oh Nanny Boo you are so fabulous! We got down to 11F at home yesterday. The lowest I have seen in about 3 decades. OH my – 3 decades…. that sounds so long as I am 5 decades…. Oh that sounds long too. Time is odd that way… Daddy is 84 and that does not seem too old, but 51 for myself does sound like a long time. I guess it’s the person who is living it. But – there I went spinning in another direction….. Seems to be something I do often now.

  11. Our temperatures have moderated a bit too, thank goodness! We are climbing out of the deep deep freeze. But now comes the snow. 10 inches predicted by Wed. night. And since your son’s family is just north of us (5 hours? 6?) I’m assuming he will be experiencing some of the same weather. Just in time for your visit! Yay for you!

  12. In Minneapolis we woke up to -21 below sunshine Sunday morning. To entertaine her two young daughters a friend boiled a pail of water and threw it out into the frigid morning air. With the temp so low, the water turned to snow before it hit the ground. Amazing but true.

      • Excellent question. Experimenting myself I know that cold water just comes down in chunks of ice on the days that you feel that your words themselves would freeze solid. Ahh but the boiling water is magical. I comes down in crystals. Instant snow.

        Following is a link that explains the science.

        Also Question
        Which freezes faster, hot water or cold water?
        Asked by: Ben Cobb

        All things being equal, cold water freezes faster.

        It takes time for the energy contained in a hot object to be transferred to a cold object. However, the rate of heat transfer is proportional to the temperature difference between the two objects, so hot water will lose heat faster than cold water. In other words, if you have water at 90 degrees C and water at 10 degrees C and the freezer is at -10 degrees C, the hot water will lose heat five times faster than the cold water; however, the cold water will still win the race. As the hot water cools it’s rate of heat transfer will decrease, so it will never catch up to the cold water.

        Some people claim that hot water freezes faster because a pot of boiling water can be thrown into the air on a cold winter day, and it freezes in mid air creating a shower of ice crystals. Whereas a pot of cold water thrown into the air comes down as large blobs of water. This happens because the hot water is so close to being steam, that the act of throwing it into the air causes it to break up into tiny droplets. (hot water is less viscous than cold water, listen to the sound it makes when you pour it in the sink) The small water droplets have a large surface area which allows for a great deal of evaporation, this removes heat quickly. And finally, the cooled droplets are so small, that they can be easily frozen by the winter air. All of this happens before the water hits the ground. Cold water is thicker and stickier, it doesn’t break up into such small pieces when thrown into the air, so it comes down in large blobs. ‘

  13. Oh I hope Lori is able to find a good home for this little tyke. He and Boo just adorable together. Fascinating TonTon’s reaction. And Boo answering the coyote from the couch would have scared the daylights out of me!!

  14. Oh yes, he needs a nice warm home for the winter.
    Are you packing your knives and copper bowl, this trip?

  15. I hope you find a home for the little guy very soon, although I think we will all miss photos of little barrow boy with Boo. Too, too sweet!

  16. They do say that pigs are very intelligent. I suppose that when they are all together they learn collectively, but when you take them out of their element they look at things with wider eyes and use more of their brains. It’s a good job Sheila doesn’t know about the fireplace 😉

    • Yes, I can just see Sheila lying in front of the fire and ruling the roost from there too! I am surprised at how fast this fellow has adapted. I wish I could keep him inside so we could test some of these theories and seee if I can train him but there you are – i have to travel and I can’t do both.. c

  17. Brrrr, that’s cold. And here too, but our cold to last through tonight and then warm up significantly (up to the freezing point again) sometime tomorrow. Hope you don’t get Elizabeth’s predicted ten inches of snow… that is an enormous dump, especially so if there is any wind whatsoever. Thank goodness for the Pig Rescue Lady! Those photos of your wee rescue with Boo are so precious. As ;much as it is in Boo’s nature to care for him, it’s amazing how he has taken to Boo. It appears like the wee piggy is dependent on Boo now. Your winter sunlight on the snow is deceiving and makes everything appear warmer than it is. Hope you have a great day! ~ Mame 🙂

    • It is very very cold – but all the outside piglets bounced happily out of their house this morning and they ate all their feed in the night – I think putting it under the light has made the difference, they can be warm as they slowly munch.. c

  18. We are terribly cold here also! Not like you but cold for us. It’s 4* right now at 9:00 in the morning.

  19. Love the Instagram photo – and all the photos. I can’t believe you can write so well… even before ‘The Crack o’ Dawn’!! And to think that 6F was ‘warmer’. I’m so glad that nasty weather has pasted. It’s warmed up here as well, but we didn’t have the horribly low temps you guys had. I’m sure you’re very, very much looking forward to your trip and Christmas with your daughter and her husband!! ; o )

  20. With Boo tending to his Pig Bro, it reminds me of the old TV show, “Green Acres”. With Eva Gabor, and Eddie Albert. Their neighbors, the Zifel’s, had a pig, Arnold, who thought of him as their Son. It was a hilarious show, and a classic. I think it is wonderful what you do for your animals, when they are in need. Not many farmers would do what you do. Coming back to Arnold the pig, he watched TV, usually Westerns, and he went to school with the kids and had his own desk. I know you would love the show. Maybe you do know about the show, but since you have lived so many other places, you may not have seen it. Good Travels C!

  21. I’ve heard tell, Ceci, that boiling water then filling ice cube trays with it makes the cubes form faster. Now as to boiling a pail of water, this makes sense at those COLD temps. It would freeze solid in the bucket before you could even get it fully tossed out…giggle – one HUGE cube?

  22. Nice and warm here….sorry to brag 🙂 I was thinking along the side lines as you, marveling at how quickly little Barrow decided he liked…..relished!…. the indoor life with a soft bed, a dog and people! A-mazing!

  23. Oh no, one pic after the other of our sweet piggy and Nanny Boo is more stunning! Just lovely.
    -12F/-24 C – omg! – Keep strong with this extrem coldness, Celi. Best wishes to all of your animals, too. I think it’s a very long time since I’ve experienced temperatures like that. Must have been a child. I think I mentioned it once: They used to call it the Siberian Cold here. – Brrrrrr…….. Maybe Mr. Coyote was howling because of the cold?

  24. When Don made the trip on the Trans Siberian railway in the winter he says when it was very cold, if you were outside the air from your breath would turn to ice crystals and fall to the ground…similar to the boiled water trick above… but what I equally love is the name for it ‘snow whispers’. Love the photos of Boo and the barrow. Safe and happy travels to you. xx

  25. The Boo & friend photos must be amongst the most heart-warming of this festive season . . . . love animal pictures but have never seen such an unusual ‘coupling’ 🙂 ! Well, even when the little one is in a new home, we shall have the memories to keep: thank you, Miss C . . . and may the trips go smoothly and the landings be soft . . .

  26. Sweet pictures of the Barrow and Boo. I find it amazing that he settled in so quickly. What a lucky pig! Safe travels and enjoy. I think you’ll find it warmer in the mountains.

  27. The rooster looks like a Rembrandt/Dutch era painting with thelighting.
    Brrrr all the way down here, but warming back up now – hopefully there too.
    (We found a lovely New Zealand sheep skin as a present for our new mom daughter to put by her bed. Nothing feels as warming as one of those underfoot. )

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