Dear Curiosity Journal,

During these drops in temperature, farmers in the Driftless are taking time to shield their livestock from the cold. We slap together additional shelters, pile up extra bedding, bring animals into closer proximity to maximize the benefit of body heat, start fires, break up frozen water troughs, examine ears for frostbite, shovel long pathways to paddocks, install heat lamps, and make more frequent checks throughout the cold snap. I notice my own uptick in worry and a general sense of “feeling bad” for the animals, Peter the goat especially. The sheep seem generally impervious under all of that wool. Yesterday, I removed my mitten, buried it deep down into Betty’s fleece, and gave her some scratches. Within a few seconds, my hand in her wool was warmer than the one in my mitten. Even with a layer of snow on the surface, they’re warm and dry at the skin. The pigs have put on a hefty layer of fat and mostly stay fully tucked inside their giant mound of hay, with only their snouts sticking out for oxygen access. Peter, however, has been shivering. When I check on him, we have a little warm up routine where I rub him vigorously, shaking any snow off of his fur and creating a bit of friction. He seems to enjoy, and even look forward to our snuggle sessions, waiting at the gate and insisting I pet him before I address the lambs. Rufus said if he returns from his trip up north to find Peter on the couch, he won’t be surprised one bit.


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