The Barnies!

January certainly exhibited the two-faced nature of the god it’s named after.
 Temperatures have zig-zagged between the brutally cold and unseasonably high,
dropping to -27 on Jan 6, rising to 39 on Jan 9, 
 sinking again to -27 on Jan 14, and then soaring to 47 on Jan 26 (a new record for the date).
Wind chills were in the -60s (and the air temp -27) on Jan 14 when Steve drove to Cloquet for his weekly volunteer stint at Friends of Animals.  
 By noon the locks on the Yaris had frozen and the transmission was groaning and refused to budge without considerable force.
 The smaller heated water buckets in the goat barns iced over.
 The winter has seemed colder than usual – and less snowy.  Forecasters regularly hype each predicted Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, and Snowzilla
 but so far storms all managed to veer to our north or south, leaving us with sparse coverage.
 We would welcome the kind of blizzard we’ve gotten in the past that kept us grounded for days – and protected the alfalfa fields from the cold.

 January is awards season, so it’s time for
 the Barnies!

 The ladies all wore black to the awards ceremony in solidarity with MeToo and Time’s Up. 
 The gentlemen were more interested in showing off their fashion sense than in making a socio-political statement.
 It’s the dead mid-point of winter, time for the ladies to knit booties for the bundles of joy that will start arriving toward the end of February.
 Barb continues to craft batch after batch of goats’ milk soap
  experimenting with new recipes, stamps and molds
 including a mold that lets her embed a heart in each bar. 
 Momma Kitty continues to tough out the bitter cold spells and now has to share her Meow Mix and heated water
 not only with PepĂ© Le Pew
but also with a new black tomcat that has been hanging around her territory:
 Finally, Jan 28 marked Dustin’s birthday – or what we celebrate as his birthday:
 the day we brought him home from Friends of Animals Humane Society four years ago.
(FOA didn’t know his real birthday or even how old he was; 6 or 7 years was the estimate, making him 10 or 11 today.)
 He had been at FOA for 8 months without being adopted and was kept in a smallish kennel by himself because he didn’t get along with other cats.
As the Petfinder blurb observed, “he LOVES cuddling on a lap.”  FOA Super Volunteer Karen V-V spent countless hours giving him the kind of attention he needed.

 He continues to enjoy a warm lap today
 and has become the Scourge of Mousedom – 
  whether the mice be of the catnip variety or the house mice and shrews that sneak in during fall and winter.
 Dustin is a cat of few needs – only that we cater to his every whim immediately 
and afford him the worship he’s sure he deserves.