We’ve had a fortnight of sub-freezing conditions with the night-time temperature often falling to -8ºC and the day-time temperature rarely hitting zero.
As a result, the soil has begun its winter freeze, aided and abetted by snow cover and a lack of sunshine.
We’re used to it, as are the animals. It can even be quite pleasant, provided the wind doesn’t blow.
Yesterday, though, things changed. And not for the better.
A front passed over the croft just after lunch, abruptly bumping the temperature up to 3ºC from -2.1C. The snow started to melt. Rain started to fall. Water started to flow.
And stopped. Frozen in seconds.
The rain continued on and off through the night, finally stopping when the front moved on and the temperature again fell below freezing.
All that rain froze, too.
This morning, I slid out the back door, slid along the path, slid across the hardstanding and into the byre. I slid to the feed shed. I slid up the ramp to the fields and pens. I slid around the chicken houses.
The chickens slid out of their houses. They flapped into taxi slides. They slid into troughs. And fences. And me.
I slid back and forth between pig pens, fields and the feed shed. I slip up and down the hill. And across it. I slid into gates. I slid into fences. I slid into pigs.
The pigs slid out of their huts. The porkers sat on their rumps and slid down the hill. They slid into me. They slid into the gate. They slid into a… ‘zap, zap!’
The boar and the sows slid down the hill. And across the hill. They slid into each other. They slid into me. I slid into a… ‘zap, zap!’
Yes, it was true. We’d all slid into a ‘winter wonderland’ of sparkling, glistening, gleaming, shining, dangerous ice.
Lovely stuff, ice. In a glass. With a drink.
- First snow of the season (stoneheadcroft.com)
- Black ice warnings issued across the UK (guardian.co.uk)
- from white to wild in the garden (islandthreads.wordpress.com)