Like most of the rest of the country we have had a hard frost the last two days and the forecast is for a few more days like this to come. Such weather is not unusual, of course, at this time of the year but for a smallholder or similar hard frosts do have an impact.
Tending to the livestock at first light, about 7am at the moment, the water troughs are all frozen as are the poultry drinkers. With the outside taps and hoses frozen too it means going back and forth with watering cans of hot water and breaking the ice in the troughs. Days like this inevitably mean freezing fingers.
We are expecting a litter of piglets very soon so the farrowing house is well bedded with straw and a heat lamp is set up ready. No new arrivals overnight, however. The livestock cope well with the conditions as they are hardy and well-adapted. Any tender plants still out will be finished off by the frost. Last night I noticed that there has been a sudden fall of leaves and the trees are virtually bare now.
Such early morning routines in frosty weather is not all hardship. If you are wrapped up well, going about routine tasks outdoors can be quite pleasant in the quiet stillness that tends to accompany frosty conditions. And the frost itself is attractive with some interesting rime patterns. Best of all, perhaps, is having completed the early morning exertions outside, coming indoors into the warmth for breakfast. The dogs sit beside you looking at you longingly. The cats curled up in their favourite spots. No other other species is so adept at making itself so comfortable.