Yesterday it snowed quite heavily in a short period of time, enough to cause Youngest son's school to be closed at lunch time enforcing an early finish from work for me. By late afternoon we were surrounded by a Winter Wonderland! Hubby made it home safely from work, driving all the way back from Head Office in Surrey, but had to leave his car at the neighbouring farmhouse as he couldn't get down our driveway. Last night more snow fell & when we measured this morning we had 8 inches of beautiful, clean, crisp white snow lying all around us! The dogs all bounded out into the garden & came to a rapid halt! It was way deeper than it looked. Maggie just about managed with some extra bounce in her step but poor Mabel being of diminutive proportions (OK, she's a real short-arse!) had to bounce like a Tiggery thing to get about. Poor Polo soon grew heavy snow boots - great clods of snow sticking to the fine fur on her legs. Not good when you're 10 & have arthritis in your back legs! So it was decided that just big Meggie dog should go out for a walk in the snow drifts. She did enjoy it so & played like a puppy!
There was certainly no way that any of us were going anywhere fast, so whilst poor hubby had to work at the kitchen table the lads & I ventured out into this Winter Wonderland to dig the critters out & make sure they were all fed & watered & kept safe and snug.
Once they had been dug out of their houses the ducks & geese all ventured out. The ducks greeted the snow like excited children, the geese a little grumpier as they couldn't get to the grass to graze. A good sprinkling of grated parsnip on the snow soon cheered them up. Big Cheese certainly didn't lose his smile over the chilly stuff!
However, we did discover that white ducks don't look so white in the snow!
Most of the hens were very sensible & stayed in their house which, although decorated with icicles on the outside, was cosy on the inside.
Snapdragon & Spicy the two young Welsummer cockerels, now feeling macho as they begin to mature, did bravely venture out - but not very far! Hattie was brave, or foolish enough to go further, but she hopped about very gingerly in the cold stuff.
The chicklets were all snuggled up in the shed & tucked into some corn in the afternoon to help them generate extra body heat to keep them warm overnight. Poor Cassie had another near death experience after Xmas that again I was thankfully able to bring her back from, so it has meant that the chicklets have had their heat lamp back on overnight. It just takes the edge off during the freezing nights. The cold doesn't seem to bother them one bit during the day time when they are their active & inquisitive selves!
Once the birds were all taken care of it was time for some fun, but I did get worried when it looked like this great big snowball was headed my way!
My sons made lovely snow people. I thought the one on the right looked a little magical, then later when I was snuggled up inside reading another enlightening chapter of 'Hedgewitch' it struck me that it was a little like a crude representation of the Horned God - was this a sign that witchcraft is the Pagan path intended for me? I have learned that witchcraft is a beautiful, healing path of Nature 'magic' based around worship of two main symbolisms of Nature - the Goddess, representing Mother Earth & the Horned God representing her consort, the Father of all Life. The Horned God I have learned, just like withcraft, is nothing to be feared or suspicious about & has nothing whatsoever to do with evil or the devil. The God's horns are a powerful image of vitality, wildness & life force - the same emotions the vision of a magnificent stag might bring to your heart.
I feel uplifted & invigorated by what I am reading & learning. I am also expecting some introductory literature on Druidry in the post to see how it sits with me. It's like a candle flame within my soul is suddenly burning more brightly with a beautiful white golden flame. A flame of cleansing maybe, to prepare me for my path. A flame that will light my way. I hope so.
The snow has brought other thoughts to me. Snow is so beautiful when it first lies on the ground, virgin & white. It doesn't take long for us to turn it to dirty slush. Mother Nature is at her most beautiful when untouched by our hand. It has made me feel more resolved to take a more active role in caring for this planet & being gentle to Mother Earth. I am resolved to grow more of my own produce this year, regardless of whether the garden is also home to chickens or ducks. I can use mesh to protect my plantings. I will try & be more eco-friendly in my daily life. I will write to my MP's urging them to make the right decisions when it comes to 'Green issues' & take part in campaigns. It may all seem like feeble efforts against the hugely daunting & frightening disaster that Global Warming is, but each & everyone must surely do something so that we can say to our children that we acted.
Whatever path you may be on or what plans you may have for 2010 I do hope that you feel inspired & ready to make a good start.
Blessed be x