It is still bitterly cold. Even without snow our world is white with frost and the fields have turned into carpets of crystalline needles, each blade of grass encased in ice. The mud has turned rock hard with a pattern of frozen hoof prints.
It is very beautiful, but there are drawbacks too. The hose pipe of the water tank in the yard is a solid block of ice, so I am hauling water from the house twice a day. I add a bit of salt to it at night, to slow down the rate at which it freezes in the buckets.
On Saturday I finally managed to put up a gate to close off my hay shed, so Minnie and Cassie now have access to the yard and to their stables at all times. It works much better this way. I put hay in the stables, they both use their own stable and Cassie leaves Minnie alone. And the hay doesn’t freeze inside. Obviously neither of them is interested in the field shelter anymore.
Now that the fields are frozen, Minnie and Cassie spend most of the time in the yard and on the track that leads to the back fields, but they don’t actually go into the fields. They don’t seem to like having to cross the frozen mud and although the pea gravel in the yard is frozen too, it is much easier to walk on. Or perhaps they are just more interested in pulling hay out of the shed, because of course they can still reach the hay. At least they won’t be able to pull entire bales out anymore.