Hot water bottles, hot tea, warm dogs and cold nights

I was always a fan of the hot water bottle… placed at my feet beneath the covers on winter nights, sometimes living in places with no heat. If I could warm my feet properly and had sufficient blankets, I could weather any situation. Tonight is our coldest night of this season. It will only be in the 30’s F, and my house is warm enough, but I dug out the real down comforters and made a pot of Kukicha tea. It is kind of fun to “play winter” right now.


Dogs make great body warmers in a bed on a cold night. I remember 2011 here with 80 mph wind gusts, 17 degrees below zero and rolling blackouts of power to be sure we had some electricity through the days and nights. That winter was hellish! I sequestered the dogs in the bedroom with me and kept a huge pot of water simmering on the (propane) stove. I drank hot tea, chocolate and soups to stay warmed. We stayed covered up, hung blankets over the curtains and I took hot water to make bran mashes for the horses every 3 hours (when the power would come on – on for 2 hours, off for 3). They had bales of hay in front of them and each wore two blankets. That handful of days felt like an eternity.

dogs on couch

Now, I have big clay flower pots, bread pans, foil and tea light candles to make an emergency heater… and even though we have more horses here at DH, there are enough blankets to double rug everyone if need be. I’m really hoping for a mild winter.

snow brahman

When I went to the pharmacy last year to get a hot water bottle, the clerk looked at me like I was from Neptune (you’ve heard me say this before…). She had no idea what I meant. So I thought about it, “enema bag?”, she showed me the Fleet syringes… then I saw a mature fellow behind a counter and he knew immediately what I needed.

I’ve been through this with: Epsom Salts, styptic pencil, Icthammol,  tannic acid, gention violet, zinc oxide, many items that no longer exist or are so esoteric that the young have no connection to them. The young…. when I think about it, I stump people older than I am! Maybe it’s more about advertising. People only know about products that are in ads these days?

I remember colic drugs like Jenatone ($12.00 for the big 120cc vial), now we have Banamine ($50.00 for the 50 cc vial)… we have complicated pharmaceuticals where we once had herbal based remedies. I had packets of Senna based colic drench from my Veterinarian that solved every tummy upset I had with my herd in the ’70’s.

So tonight I’m thinking about herbs and caretaking and staying warm and staying safe… in the middle of the very scary storms of 2011, I would never have thought I would be here, content, thriving and so full of joy about my life and its possibilities. All I thought then was, “Get us out of this alive!” We all just face each day, each night with our best courage and our hearts full of love. At least, that’s what I do. I finally quit trying to anticipate every possible situation. I told myself that I had survived everything so far… I should be okay with whatever shows up in my life. And lately, an ocean of joy has washed over me.

Katharine with Hank

I just got a phone call from a pleasant man asking for a donation for a worthy cause. I told him, “certainly, if you will match my donation with one to our Equine Sanctuary”. He thanked me and hung up. It made me smile.

This night feels so full of possibilities. “Just show up, be brave, be kind, rest, try again”.


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