The Christmas decorations are slowly getting put away in their tubs for the year. After this stretch of insanely cold weather, we’ve had a bit of reprieve, and resuming my walks has felt like coming up for air. The animals are venturing out again, as well.
What to do with Missy was quite the discussion for awhile. Lena, of course, was inside during the deep cold. We moved all the cats together down to the barn during that time as well. Missy? Well, her electric fence collar battery doesn’t work in the deep cold, and I felt very strongly that she should be down in the barn with the cats, since she does not enjoy the indoors. She likes to take naps on the road, so if the electric collar wouldn’t work, we’d have to keep her safe somehow.
What happened, though is she got so stressed out being cooped up in the barn that she started vomiting. She couldn’t stand the idea that she couldn’t get out to see what was going on. Is it silly that I can physically see her relax when she can see the horizon? So then, after a few phone calls with other Great Pyrenees owners, we were convinced that the hard cold doesn’t bother this breed, as long as she has access to shelter, she can be outside. We don’t need to force her into a building. Even then, some owners said that given the option of being inside, or outside in -50 degrees, their dog chose to be outside.
This type of guardian dog is bred to be outdoors with the animals they are guarding. They’re not little lap dogs. She is a hard core working dog/mini polar bear, and it’s taking me awhile to get used to that. I think it’s amazing, but it’s just so different from my city-animal mentality.
So we tied her up with a long cord near the doghouse, so she could get at least some shelter from the cold, and she couldn’t get to the road. She was not a fan of being tied up as she’s used to roaming with her electric fence that doesn’t work below -10. Still, she only retreated to the doghouse for shelter at night, and even then, not always. She loved sitting on a little drift on the side of the driveway where she could see everything, even though the crazy-cold wind was blowing right at her. She makes this city girl shake her head in amazement. Her desire to be alert to all that is going on with our property, scanning the horizon consistently for any possible threat is her passion.
She has a stubbornness to be where she wants to be, and doesn’t like her decisions to be questioned. I’m learning to trust her instincts… as long as those instincts don’t lead to napping on the road.
Even though the yard has a deep layer of snow, we’re deciding which laying chicks to order for delivery in another month or so, and Silje and I are browsing the seed catalogs already. Our 9 chickens in their coop have been handling this winter pretty well, and just so barely started producing enough eggs that I no longer have to supplement with eggs from the store. It’s hard to catch them before they freeze, but the weather was so nice today, that none of the eggs were cracked when I went to gather them.
Pineapples are in season right now at the grocery store, and I’m dehydrating a bunch. The juicy scraps have been going to the coop for our poor, bored chickens who aren’t allowed outside to scratch in the snow. I think we should put an ash pan in there tomorrow so they can take turns taking a dust bath. Keeping them occupied to not pick on each other gets tough this time of year. We only have 9 in there right now, though, which is less than half our capacity. They’ve been doing pretty well with all the extra wiggle room. I wish we had another 5 or so, so I wouldn’t have to ration our eggs so strictly.
This snow won’t last forever. A few more months, at least, but not forever.