Amazing to think that this time last week, I was enjoying Spring warmth and sunshine as I walked down Oxford Street with my niece.
Today however, is Day 5 of the unexpected Derbyshire deep freeze. Yes, it may be March 26th and yes, Easter Sunday is this weekend but here in the hills we are experiencing more winter than for several decades.
My adorable cat family has adapted as only cats can: fast asleep for hours on end snug and warm in their favourite beds and baskets. Waking only for refueling meal breaks and remarkably few trips to the garden.
Cats have Buddhist tendencies. They take life as it comes; they make the best of whatever that is and rarely complains that things should be other than what they are. They are great exponents of living in the moment.
Hens, on the other hand do not possess such calm characteristics. I’m lucky enough to have two Buff Orpingtons at the moment. They’re the big, golden, russet breeds. Fabulous feathers, heavy birds, wonderful brown eggs but oh so easily put out.
Coco and Zozo are taking the snow as a deep and personal slight. Actually I can see their point. Instead of free ranging all round the garden with occasional trips into neighbouring plots, they are confined to their not small but necessarily enclosed run. Despite my valiant efforts to shovel away the snow to expose scratching areas for them; as well as providing mounds of hay to keep their feet warm and peck at, these girls are not happy. We have conversations, the three of us, though they remain unconvinced by my telling them how fortunate they are, unlike so many farm animals.
It is heartbreaking, at what is traditionally, a busy lambing time, to know that farmers and their flocks are struggling to survive in the snow. I only have to dig a path round the house; many farmers are having to dig through feet of heavy snow to rescue their ewes. Ewes are giving birth in these conditions to fragile lambs.
Thinking about the cats’ and the hens’ views of the weather, I’d say that between them they’ve got a very balanced outlook.
We accept the snow and cold today, because that is what there is but we don’t assume it will be like this forever. I wonder where we’ll be this time next week.