Winter cold, ice, snow reign in the Ozarks for another month or so. Coats, hats, long underwear add girth and still the cold seeps through. The cats sit and play in the snow in their wonderful fur coats.
Tyke and Cloudy have shared the barn
for several years. Tyke was there first and is older. They stay in the barn by
choice pretending to hunt mice. They do catch a few to impress me from time to
Over the winter the two cats found cozy beds in the hay or on extra goat blankets and coats. The house was used overnight only in extreme cold and for cat food.
Running fingers through the cats’ wonderful fur coats is to find them thick and soft. A generous undercoat makes the coats like deep plush velvet. This traps heat. The outer fur sheds water to keep the undercoat dry.
Tyke is getting older and now sleeps
on the floor in the house. He prefers the cold floor to warm blankets. I don’t
mind as he doesn’t share well and thinks my side of the bed is his and I can
This bed stealing is a subtle thing.
He waits until I am asleep, moves up against me and shoves. I roll over. He
repeats. Lucky for me he starts on the outside or I would be on the floor.
Days Tyke goes out. He catches mice in the hen house. He catches voles in the pastures. Rain or snow, he goes out.
Cloudy is more of a clumsy clown
when I see him. He loves showing off bounding through show, racing up trees,
leading the way with sudden stops to trip me up. Days in the twenties don’t
slow him down.
As I put on the layers getting ready to go out to milk or put out hay or carry water, I look at those wonderful fur coats and sigh. I try to remember that next summer those fur coats won’t look so tempting.
Six degree mornings don’t have much
going for them in my opinion. They need all the help they can get. If
conditions are just right, special morning light can be that help.
Winter mornings are not sunrise
mornings for me. The wood stove goes out around three in the morning. Dawn
brings a cold house.
Sunrises are left to themselves as
the floors are swept and the fire started in the stove. Only after that are
winter mornings looked at.
By this time whatever colors might have appeared for the sunrise are gone. Since winter mornings are overcast more often than not anymore, the color change is from purplish black to blue gray. I don’t find this very impressive.
Now and then the sun puts in an
appearance which is special morning light all by itself. Such occurrences must
be spotted without forecasting help. This winter seems determined to prove the
forecasters wrong about cloud cover as much as possible. The clouds simply
refuse to leave.
Clear mornings are a double edged
sword. It’s wonderful to see the sun and have a sunny morning or, even more
rarely, a sunny day. Having no cloud cover lets the temperatures drop.
So the temperature dropped to six degrees. The moisture on the trees froze encasing them in a thin coating of ice. And the sun started sliding up over the eastern hill.
Ice is clear. Like water, ice has no
color. The trees shimmered as light refracted through the ice turning the trees
into crystal works of art.
Less than five minutes and the light
show is over. The sun is up over the hill. The ice is
melting in the trees.
Like sunrises and sunsets, special morning light is fleeting. Catching a glimpse of it makes even a six degree morning special.