Wednesday, January 23:
The four steers on pasture at the monastery are thriving. The last few days of single-digit weather disturb them not at all; thick russet coats of winter fur with a layer of fat beneath are protection from even severe cold. Bare spots in the snowy grass at the tree line show where they have been bedding down at night out of the direct wind, well fueled with standing forage, snug despite the weather. When we open out their fence onto fresh grass they don’t crowd forward like animals anxious for a change of diet, but continue grazing where they are, only turning their heads our way. We turn on the water outside and fill their tank by a hose from the monastery, afterward shutting the spigot off from the inside and walking down the hoses to drain them completely before we coil them. Keeping water available to the animals is one of the big challenges of winter time.