“Cold” Ain’t What It Used To Be

If you look closely, you can see Lopeh's icycle whiskers.

I guess I must be becoming inured to the harsher aspects of my new environment. Is that the right word, “inured?” I just looked it up and I think it fits. It means:

To habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjection.

I say that because when I walked out back at dawn this morning in just a robe and slippers to open the dogs’ gate, I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s much warmer today than yesterday.” Then I looked at the thermometer: 20 degrees. And that’s against the house, so that would mean about 15 degrees out in the open. Still, it felt “warmish” to me.

Winter in the high desert of Northern New Mexico is a world apart from winter in the Texas Hill Country, from whence I came almost two years ago now. It’s much colder, all the time. And I’ve had snow on the ground in sunless spots since early November. Many nights are in the single digits, and the large discs of ice I dump out of the outdoor chicken water bowl every morning never melt, and I have so many of them now I’m thinking about various driveway border designs I can make with them. (Don’t worry, the chickens have a heated water bowl 24/7, inside their snug, enclosed, HEATED hen house.)

A Chiwee, Dressed for Winter!

My chiwees* have winter wardrobes, which I pop them into as soon as they emerge from under my down comforter every morning, and I crank up the wood-burning stove twice a day — morning and night.

Copper, my old Quarter Horse, wears a blanket to bed each evening, and the mares’ whiskers hang from their snouts like tiny icycles.

Charlie, my big Golden/Chow mix,

Charlie: "THIS is the life!"

and his two large compatriots, run and roll in the snow like they’ve waited all their lives for it (which they have).

And I LOVE IT! I love winter in New Mexico! The sun shines low in the southern sky almost all day every day, and if you have a passive solar, adobe house like mine, it floods the rooms and negates the need for heat during the main part of the day — and helps the house hold heat all night. Humidity is low, low, low, as it is year-round, so 15 degrees here can feel like 35 or 40 degrees in Texas.

Where I lived in Texas the humidity was so high, and the “blue northers” that swept in so ferocious, that 35 degrees there felt like the North Pole. Literally. When folks from New York used to come to my place of business mid-winter during a cold snap, they were always shocked and dismayed to run into weather that was as miserable, if not more so, than what they had just left.

True, it never froze until after Thanksgiving — sometimes well after — and trees and flowers started budding out by late February, and there were always days in the winter that got into the 80’s and sometimes the 90’s, so winter was just a phenomenon that was interspersed among more pleasant conditions. But when it hit, man . . . I’ll take the New Mexico winter any day!!!

So no, I don’t think “inured” would be the right word after all, because I’ve not “habituated to something undesirable by prolonged subjection.” Instead, I have fallen totally in love with the most heavenly climate I could have ever hoped for.

I was “born and bred,” as they say,  in Texas, but in New Mexico I feel like I am home at last. Oh, and I LOVE wearing all the yummy hats, sweaters, fuzzy boots, and mufflers that sat in the closet forlornly neglected back in Texas.


* A Chiwee is a tiny dog of the Chihuahua or Chiweenie variety. You can read about mine HERE.

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