On nights like this I am reminded why I bought this barn. Sure, the apartment is tiny, but the part where the animals live is enormous, with sturdy walls and a roof that does not leak (3 nails in every metal panel, hammered in by Sisters Bernadette and Grace before they went off to serve the Lord). I love to listen to the wind beating on the walls while I do chores at night, and go about my business in relative comfort, with lights and running water. At the last place I lived my sheep were a mile down the road with no electric or water, only a creek that I had to break open with a long spike. When it froze solid I had to transport water in big cans to them. When the big floods came and the Delaware rose up 30 feet over flood stage I was cut off my flock. It happened three times in a year and a half. Now I worry about the hose and pipes freezing but I know what to do to prevent it. Excess water rolls down the rocky hillside to Beaver Creek down below. Fine with me. I spent the day getting ready to go to Maine for Christmas with the kiddies. So excited to leave work and farm worries behind and enjoy my family. I have lots of gifts to take ranging from aged whiskey and local syrup to home made dog toys. I bought some beef jerky from my students and sewed it into wool fabric for a chew toy. I got the idea when I saw Booker playing with a doll with polyester fluff on the inside. I thought I could make him something he could really sink his teeth into. We'll see how he likes it. All but one or two Bundaflicka Totes are sold or given away as gifts. My soap is locked in a trailer, drifted over with snow, with locks surely frozen. The White Boys are inside the barn. For dogs that live primarily outside they do very well inside. Knut and Thor make rumbling sounds deep in their throats while watching each other with side long glances from across the barn. Adorable lover-boy Finnie is outside of the apartment with the kittens. Time to stoke the fire and figure out what's for dinner. I held Matt off with cornbread, but that won't last for long. The larder is bare except for two cans of corned beef hash. I was practically raised on the stuff, with fried eggs, and picked up the cans on whim at Dollar General as a cheap week day meal. I stocked up on livestock food but forgot to get something for us. I made a pan of baked Ziti for Loren, our farm sitter, and have one to bring to Annie, but not much else. There will be feasting in Maine no doubt. Looks like we will be leaving our foot or so of snow here in New York. Don't know if we will have a white Christmas in Maine. We'll find out. Now that I've got making home made egg nog down from doing it with my students, maybe we'll make it at Eric and Annie's. This time, I'll be able to spike it with whiskey - oh, that will be so nice.