Our cat, Brush, stayed out last night and was covered in hoarfrost when I let him in. His layers and layers of long hair surely protected him from the cold, but he was grateful to run in the house. (Yes, I do see the irony in a very long-haired unkempt cat named "Brush." We picked the names "Hush and Brush" from The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown before we even knew how big and fuzzy this fella would get). He only stayed in for a few minutes, though, until the itch to roam came over him and he begged to go out again.
Yesterday morning I glanced out the kitchen window while getting some milk warmed up for the girls and saw what appeared to be smoke pouring out of the ventilation for the chicken coop. "Uh, honey? I think the chicken coop is on fire." I tried to keep the panic out of my voice but grabbed my boots and the fire extinguisher (thinking, "who am I kidding, I don't know at ALL how to use this thing") and ran out with Jesse close behind. Sure enough, the heat lamp had come detached from the clamp and was hanging close enough to the deep layer of pine bedding we have on the floor of the coop, and the bedding was smoldering and pouring forth smoke. On closer look, a hole was burned clean through the floor. I tore back to the house to find a bucket and turned the water on at the only spigot we have running outside. Jesse took over and I ran for a rake and shovel to help. We got the fire put out and I was thankful that we caught it before any major damage was done. In fact, I usually close up the window to the coop at night in the winter but got side-tracked on my way out the night before, so the chickens were able to escape to the chicken run and all was well. They even are continuing to lay well in spite of the stress the fire must have put on them.
Since Lyddie and Millie were both feeling better enough to drive me crazy this morning, I sent them outside for a little while before lunch with instruction to "find some treasures." As you can see, yogurt containers were as fancy as it got for their collections, but they were happy to be outdoors again, even with the fog and the poor air quality this weekend (air stagnation). The light is odd and spooky, hanging heavy and cold over us, and the sun is struggling unsuccessfully to burst through.
I finished my Sugared Violets wrap and it is almost dry and blocked. It is lovely and I will have pictures to share soon.
I am in the midst of intense and repetitive obedience training with Millie. I remember when Lyddie hit this stage, the one where she tried out ignoring or disobedience every 10 minutes, I was a bit baffled and anxious, so we backed way up with actual teaching opportunities. The first couple days of this behavior with Millie I was a little confused again until I suddenly remembered so clearly what it was like with Lyddie at almost this exact age. It is a tiring time but worth every second of work. I am really happy at the quick and immediate obedience I get from Lyddie the majority of the time and I hope we can move there with Millie too. I love that little girl so much and there is about nothing more precious than saying "I love you" and hearing "I love you too, Momma" from a sleepy little voice at bedtime.