I don’t get paid to endorse products, but if Cuddle Duds offered, I would accept.
Because in December, when the first crisp tint of winter approached, I armed myself by diving into warmth. Every fleecy piece is labeled Cuddle Duds.
For the beginner, start with the fleece leggings. Arctic winds be darned, they aren’t cutting through the sheer rapture of that squooshy soft barrier. It’s like being a cow, nattily dressed and impervious to the cold. Plus, the leggings go right over your natural winter coat…so you don’t have to shave. Bonus!
Then I recommend the throw blanket. It’s a good intro piece — accommodates the need for warmth, as well as the convenient travel sizing. And, when the dog jumps into your lap — as dogs are wont to do, in my experience, especially when I’m in my Dud — the throw is easy to launder.
If anything propels me to launder anything, it’s Dog Smell. And the need for work pants.
As a convenient side, buy the pillow that matches your Dud. Because it’s super comfortable, of course, but also, you wouldn’t want to not own the set. I think that’s a Good Housekeeping rule of thumb from the 1900’s.
Third, go with the fleecy top, because…fleece.
Then there are socks, gloves, scarves, pajamas, and the mother lode, the comforter.
Now, the comforter is not for the novice, I must warn, because other humans want you to share, for one thing, but second, the cover is enormous — perhaps I didn’t strictly need the King size for my queenly bed, but hey, when given the choice, I went large.
And then there is the dog issue. I fiercely protect my Dud against dog-dom but in the middle of the night, I feel the hefty harrumph of the moose-dog landing atop my perfect coverlet and I’m far too comfy to wrangle any beast mid-morning.
So. As added protection, I suggest layering the Dud beneath another less attractive, less dear, more expendable topper. Because laundering a King-sized anything is not a simple task. And who wants to wash their Dud every single night? Not this girl. That’s far too domestic for my temperament.
Get out there and get your Dud!
Caveat: when cloaked under a semblance of protection such as three layers of fleece, I must advise you not to touch anything metal.
I could light a house on fire just by touching its corner, that’s how much static is in my aura.
If I see you out and about, it’s wise if I don’t hug you, unless you have a defibrillator handy.

Hen Talk

The other day I was mildly complaining about the laborious Chicken Routine I follow each and every morning. Specially: modified boots (their soles are, in my mind, poop-infested; whether it be a fact or not, I don’t know, and I’m not investigating, thus they are forever my Chicken Boots), gigantic yellow coat ironically filled with down (though I don’t point this ticklish feature to my ducks; I’m not cruel), fill the Chicken Pitcher (yes, that’s a thing in this house) with tap water because the outside taps are winterized (they have essentially towels wrapped around them to protect them; it’s true science right there), and grab a Cup of Stuff, meaning whatever scraps or bits or food I want to give the birds.
Even though I’m sweating already and done with the birds before laying an eye upon them, THEN I go outside; dump the stuff; pour the water; gather the eggs, Scurry inside. De-wardrobe. Re-wardrobe in Proper Work Attire. Make-up if I must.
This particular morning I had not been rewarded with eggs. And my companion said, “You get eggs?”
I blinked. “Yes. But not today.”
“You get eggs in winter?”
Oh, this is a thing, I remark to myself. “Okay, why is that strange?”
“Because…” and here she spluttered. My fellow chicken rancher spluttered. “They don’t lay eggs in the winter. You gotta go to the store.”
“Well…” I started and stopped. I scratched my head, then said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
I didn’t let her in on my Magical Skills, which I think include a heat lamp and oyster shell. As it turns out, I’m giving credit to my latent Rancher Gene for my intuitive insight into chicken rearing. Read that as: Wow! I’m inordinately lucky! (Except for the ducks. They don’t do anything but poop and squawk and shed their pretty feathers, which is their only redeeming quality.)
Who knew?
So this morning I went out for the Chicken Routine and to my surprise, I found three eggs awaiting me, so I forgave Old Red for her new habit of grabbing at me with her claws and pecking my hands when I feed her. I seethe, yet soothe, with “Nice birdy,” seeping from between my clenched teeth. She’s giving you eggs, I forever tell myself.
But I must say, even with all my Chicken Whisperin’ skills, that besides understanding the phrases “hen pecked,” and “mad as a wet hen,” (tiny bit of retaliation on my part there, I’ll admit), light was shed on the phrase “Stick ‘er in the pot.”
Yeah. I have another whole perfectly good hen who doesn’t hurt me. I could make do with only one egg a day.