That’s winter chores.
BUT it’s also warmth, playfulness, and ingenuity. It’s appreciation & beauty.
It’s gloves that stick to metal bulk bins and bucket handles. It’s seeing your breath in the air. It’s undeniably fresh air in your lungs. It’s the heat of exertion and the cold of the wind, felt in the exact same moment.
Milking is the most time consuming and cold making part of winter chores. Can you say bare hands in -20F? The thought will send a shiver right through ya! It’s bearable only because the barn door breaks the wind and Abby’s teats are a cozy 98ish degrees. Slip those gloves back on quickly though when milking time is done! And keep them dry!
Next comes feeding and watering the hutch calves. Don’t let the full bucket of water slosh around! Nobody wants wet pants in the cold! Arrived at the hutches dry. Doing good!! But hold your breath because the door snaps are frozen. Pull off that warm glove and wrap your hand around the cold metal clip! The few seconds that it takes to thaw the clip feel like minutes. Now do it 4 more times!
With Abby dry & calves weaned, chores are mostly filled with carrying buckets of feed, moving hay, & filling/breaking open/thawing water tanks.
Winter chores generally happen in the dark. Headlamps are a MUST! Make sure your batteries are charged ‘cause you’re gonna need them! This is also where Piper dog tends to earn her keep. Having company and something to blame for all those noises you here when tromping around in the dark is oh so comforting.
Winter chores requires dressing in layers. And customizing the layers for the particular temperature and weather conditions of the day. Too many layers and you’ll be a sweaty mess. Too few layers and you’ll be cold & sorry! The weight of the layers adds to the work out!
There’s ingenuity in devising new ways to keep waterers thawed and full and in keeping the tractor running, in staying warm and in managing snow.
There’s beauty in the snow covered hills and trees. And in the dusting of snow on calves’ backs. There’s beauty in icicles hanging from roof lines and in the stark contrast of animals against a snowy white background.
There’s joy in kicking up snow during a tug of war battle with the dog and in seeing the winter through the eyes of a small child.
While winter chores will probably never be our favorite, there is value in the challenge and beauty in the contrast.
Emily & Nathan