Temps are slowly climbing during the day, even though it is zero degrees tonight. The wind is abating and it doesn't hurt to spend time outside. The sheet of ice that surrounds my barn makes walking difficult if not dangerous. The doggies skate around on their little paws with toes splayed in a vein attempt to hold on. I do my best with knees slightly bent as if I had skiis on my feet. Skiis would definitely help. Rain is forecast for the weekend which will probably add to the ice pack. I almost think mud would be preferable. There is no snow on the ground for the sheep to lick so watering remains a top priority. Lilly and her old girlfriends are enjoying their daily apples. Lilly has the longest teeth to puncture the skin and take a chunk out, making it easier for the others with shorter teeth to get a bite. I'm not sure what the girls prefer - the apples or the pig slop. They try to catch the buckets as I walk by the sheep pen to the pig pen. I pour the slop into the pig pan then hold the bucket up to the girls, who jostle for position, and not very kindly so. I have to hold the bucket with all my might or they will flip it up and away over their heads. I'm hoping to stretch Lilly's life a little longer, I love her so. I'm enjoying this unanticipated interaction with Lilly thanks to my piggies, Scarlet and Sue Ellen, who are growing bigger every day. Sheep are so much like people. Some are standoffish and never want to interact with you. Others are very sociable. Lilly's line is so delightfully friendly. School grinds on with ups and downs. The little ones are such a joy, even with their learning challenges. The big ones are so much more complicated. I've been mailing Shepherd's Friend orders every day after school, thank you very much. Mia was going to come up and visit me for a day but she has continuing education credits to work on. I've only seen her for 24 hours in the last six months. Soooo... I'm going to visit her in New Jersey one of these weekends when she is not on duty and make some new sofa pillows for her. Father Aaron is attending a seminar at the Nashoda House in Wisconsin where he is working on his Doctor of Ministry. I pictured him at a monastery wearing monk's robes similar to The Name of the Rose, then he called me from Panera. Not so cloistered after all. Eric is way too busy with his Boy Scout council to ever call and chat. AJ and Mia's calls are such a blessing and make my heart sing. When I was in Maine for Christmas sitting at the dinner table Luke looked at me with big eyes and said I know, why don't I go back to the farm with you? It couldn't happen as the other grandmother was coming to visit on the heels of my departure, but his request was so sweet. I don't think Hannah will ever spend another night on the farm if she can help it. Just not her cuppa tea. I think it's time to take Izzy to bed. He waits for me to join him under the covers. My bed is always warm.