Winter is setting in here with a vengeance. I am determined to spend more time outside-even though my tee shirt and shorts weather is long gone. Howard and Milo cannot figure out what my problem is-my not wanting to play ball outside our usual three or better times a day. They leap right into winter-literally. As their legs can’t be any longer than eight inches at the most, they know they have to get their speed up, and just plow through. I think my corgis must have a Texas jackrabbit somewhere in their lineage. My habit is to hole up indoors, with my stocking feet on the radiator-probably as I have been poor at gearing up.
No wonder Milo has no problem being outdoors in really cold weather for long stretches at a time. All that hair of his traps air, which warms up from his body heat. I envy him that fur coat. But I am taking a look at my winter garden gear-maybe I haven’t spent enough time and effort to get myself dressed for winter. My first move was to buy 10 mile hike socks from Woolrich. These socks have lots of loops of fiber on the inside; it is amazing how much warmer my feet are now, even inside. Warmer yet are sheepskin lined boots. I was dubious about wearing them without socks-but it works. My main objection to most winter boots-how heavy they are. The lightest-and for my money, the warmest-moonboots. First manufactured in the 70’s, they put a lot of space between your feet and the cold ground. Unfortunately, I am way too old and not nervy enough for the look of these-pity.
De-snowballing Milo is part of the daily routine. That warm fur is a magnet for cold snow. By the time he comes in, he is carrying a quart of water with him-in frozen form. How he puts up with snowballs stuck to his belly is beyond my comprehension. My idea of winter gear is enough layers between me and the cold to keep the snow as far away from me as possible. I have finally learned that layers of clothes protect me from the cold better than a single layer. Whomever the person is who invented fleece, and microfiber long underwear-thanks a million.
Howard doesn’t have half the hair of Milo-maybe that’s why he is so much more sensible than Milo. He has a winter shelter-underneath my moss cow. Even though he has the classic Corgi short coat, that coat is several layers. A dense fluffy undercoat is protected from the weather by a longer more oily outercoat. He must have a whomping lot of hair, as he sheds like crazy. My outercoat does keep me warm, as it is stuffed with a whomping lot of down.
Its obvious from this picture that Howard’s tail will likely never be cold. But his bare feet on that snow-yikes. I take them out for shorter periods, multiple times a day when the weather is like this-his feet and ears do get cold. In this case, I do not mind the look of my wool hat and honking big gloves-they are doing a job.
The Corgis seem to enjoy being outside in the winter as much as they do in the summer-maybe more. The cold energizes them. The lesson here? When outside, move it. Build up a little head of steam. Can you tell I am trying to talk myself into this winter wonderland thing?
You would never know from this picture that it wasn’t a balmy June day-but for all the white stuff. I am sure how animals of all sorts survive in very cold temperatures has fueled some of the technology that makes for what winter gear is available to people. Trading in a spade for a snow shovel is a little tough to take, but it gets me outside. Once I am outside, there is plenty to see-as usual. I’ve made plans to look more closely at winter landscapes-what they do, and don’t do, and how they could be better.
Today our snow is accompanied by a good stiff wind. I am glad that I was sure to water my evergreens plenty before the ground froze. On a windy 22 degree day, they are loosing precious moisture from the surfaces of their leaves and needles-and have no way to replenish that until the ground thaws.
We’re gearing up.