We have a nice layer of ice over everything, and more ice is coming this weekend.
A coating of ice on the snow and trees is lovely. It sparkles in the sun. A coating of ice on the ground where one walks is not so lovely. I did chores this afternoon, so over my boots I pulled on the clever footwear that helps you stand upright on ice. (Can’t remember the name…YakTrak? BakTrak? YakBak?) They are made of rubber strips covered with coils of metal, and work okay.
Somewhere in this house I have something better, but I’m not sure where they are: a pair of serious spikes. They’re awkward to attach beause you have to sit down and strap them on, but those things have 1/2″ spikes. When you step onto the ice, you know you aren’t going anywhere. (I’d gotten them for a winter photography class on the North Shore of Lake Superior years ago, where we were walking on icy rocks paying more attention to the camera than to the ice. One fall and you were a quick five foot slide into the icy water.)
These yakky things, though, provide less confidence. So I walked from building to building with my arms out for balance, gaze locked on the ground in search of less shiny spots in which to step. shuffling along like a 95-year-old (no disrespect intended to those who are 95—you should walk carefully.)
It took me twice as long to walk the 700 feet to the mailbox, and I lost all sense of time as I entered this Zen Zone of step, look, shuffle, step. I didn’t have my cell phone with me, and Melissa was inside recovering from a neck procedure she had this morning. (More on that later when we know how it worked—we’re aiming for headache relief.) So if I landed on my keister and broke something, it was either crawl back to the house, or crawl to the road and flag down a passing motorist, of which there are about 3 per day. Luckily the Yak things worked well enough, or perhaps it was walking like I was 95.
The dogs are always surprised by ice. Open the back door and all three go blasting out to do their thing. Two seconds later they’ve spread their feet wide in alarm, and the look on their faces says, “Whoa!” They, too, begin walking as if they’re 95 (which is 13 in dog years, and 2 of them are 13! What synchronicity…) When I let the dogs back outside two hours later, they do the same thing. “Whoa!” And the third time? “Whoa!”
Gotta love dogs—they are the best optimists in the world. “This time the world won’t be slippery.”
The sheep do fine in the ice because they walk the same path. It gets worn down, and the droppings of round sheep poop add lots of traction. The only animal I’m worried about is Chachi, our aging llama. He doesn’t like going up and down the hill to the hay anyway, and when it’s icy, he won’t do it. When he does venture out, he walks like he’s, well, 95.
So he’s locked in a pen in the barn with his own water and own hay. That way I don’t have to worry about any broken llama legs.
I’m all ready to do chores all weekend, and make sure the animals don’t have to negotiate a skating rink to get to their hay. But I think I’m going to brave the front hall closet and search for those spike attachments.
I may need them.