Monday, January 24, 2011

Out in the cold

When the temperature drops below zero, it’s cold outside! Somehow, we all seem to get along.

I don’t know how the sheep handle the cold, but they look and act just the same on warm days as they do on very cold days, so they must have good insulation and built in heaters. The angora goats do mind the cold, especially after we shear them. They are much more apt to hang out in the barn for up to a week after shearing. The sheep are ready to go outside the next morning. Only on days like we had this weekend when the wind roared through the barnyard, do the sheep hang out on the lee side of the barn. Of course, during really cold weather, Dave and I watch the animals more closely and increase their feed to give them extra energy reserves.

Dave and I handle the cold completely differently than the sheep do. We both add layers. I wear a longer coat, Dave wears lined mittens except when he’s feeding bales of hay. You just can’t get your fingers under the bale strings with mittens on; you have to wear gloves. We don’t restrict ourselves to the house on those cold days, but spend an hour or two outside. We feed the animals, load the wood boxes, and snow shoe on the windless side of the woods.

Even though we aren’t out in the cold all the time like the sheep are, our feed intake definitely goes up. I’m much more apt to make desserts in the dead of winter and we find that bits of chocolate with our coffee after lunch are an important part of the day.

This last cold stretch, I deep fat fried three times – first doughnuts, then Laotian wontons, and finally Somali sambusa (meat pies). I don’t normally deep fry foods at all, but this winter I am testing recipes for a community cookbook, and the coldest day of the year just seemed like a good time to make doughnuts. And then once I had the oil hot, I just kept frying.

It will take several trips around the woods on snow shoes and a lot of hard work out in the cold to burn off those extra calories, but it’s worth it. It will be a delicious cookbook.

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