Winter is here, if only for a few days. (It’s forecast to warm up again towards the end of the week.) It was minus 7 degrees C for the lycée bus run this morning at 6.20 am, brrr! And a lovely crispy walk to school with Rors to Nouzerines an hour and a half later.

So Les Fragnes is finally in full winter mode. The lakes have almost completely frozen over, well behind schedule. Most years I do my Christmas Eve end-to-end, death-defying walk on the big lake, but not in 2011.

The duck pond, recently refilled by November’s rain after drying out in the summer, was completely frozen …

… until Ruadhri got to work on it!

Rors seems to have been programmed since birth to break any ice he comes into contact with.

And the water butts were iced up, this one able to withstand Roly Poly’s considerable weight!

There was a heavy frost this morning. These crazy daffodils came up far too early. I hope they’ll survive the cold OK.

Our wood supply is holding up well, thank goodness.

The llamas, alpacas and sheep don’t even notice the cold. In fact, it’s their favourite kind of weather. The chickens aren’t so happy with it, but are coping. And we’ve tucked the guinea pigs up nice and warmly in their cages with bubble wrap round the sides and old coats over the top to keep the draughts out. Bunny, who roams free, seems to have hunkered down in the hay barn for the moment.

I don’t mind the cold. I prefer it to the wet, dismal (i.e. Irish) weather that we’ve had to now. Of course, if it stays like this for another six weeks and the pipes start freezing I may change my tune! At the moment it’s possible to break the ice on the animals’ water buckets and butts, but give it a few more subzero days and they’ll be solid. It’ll be in and out with a kettleful of boiling water than.

But for the time being, I like winter.