Winter on the Farm

Sure, it may be pretty to look at. But it's a huge pain in the rear.

I do not like snow.  Not at all.  I really could do completely without it.

And the kids think it's fun to play in for about 10 minutes.

Even though it takes longer than 10 minutes to put on the 300 layers you must wear if you don't want to get frostbite.

Typically, the winter is a slow time on the farm.  Time used for getting in the house early, catching up on book work, planning for the upcoming year, and hauling manure.  So far, we have not gotten that time.

Yoda is saying " I hate snow, let's move to Texas."

So far this winter, Mother Nature is not playing nicely at all.  We have been buried in snow.  The only nice thing I can say is we have at least been given a few days in between storms to dig out.  But, once all the driveways and cattle yards are cleared out, another storm blows in.  It has been exhausting.

This is the tractor we use to clear the snow off of driveways. A bucket on front and a blade in the back.

The snow piles up like crazy in the cattle yards, and everywhere else.

The problem with cold weather and cattle is the precipitation that comes along with it.

The snow melts on the warm calf, she gets wet, then she gets cold. So she goes in the barn, along with all the other cattle, and their body heat creates steam. This is a problem.

Cold weather doesn’t bother the cattle one bit, in fact, they seem to like it.  It’s when you mix in the snow and wind that things get nasty.  Snow builds up in the yards and must be hauled out in a timely manner before it freezes solid and creates rough terrain.  Bumpy, frozen cattle yards make it hard for the cattle to get around and are hard on farm equipment. The snow lands on the cattle and melts, making them wet and chilled.  So they go in a barn for shelter, track the snow in with them, and make their bedding wet.  They also will pack themselves in to the barn too closely and create steam, which is not good for their respiratory systems.  So, we must monitor their barns closely and keep their bedding fresh and dry.

It could be 0 degrees and 40 mph winds outside and these pigs wouldn't know. Their barn is kept at a toasty 65 degrees all winter.

The hogs, on the other hand, don’t have much to worry about.  They get heaters in their insulated barns.  It doesn’t matter how cold it is outside.  Just like setting a thermostat in the house, the hogs have a nice consistent 65 degrees to live in.  It is just more of a challenge for us to get to them in the winter, and we have to make sure there is a functioning generator on hand in case of a power outage.

I'm dreaming of a *not-so-white* Christmas......

At the beginning of last week, things were looking good for Christmas.  We were going to be dug out of the last snow without any trouble and the guys would be able to relax with family.  As the week went on the forecast started changing.  At first the weatherman said there was another storm coming, but it was going to track south, we’d get maybe and inch or two of snow.  Not cool, but manageable.

Then, the day before Christmas Eve, we were told, 3-5 inches of snow.  I was wishing hoping praying that they were wrong.  Justin started chores extra early that morning (around 4:00) in order to clean up a few cattle yards before family started showing up for Christmas.  It snowed all day on Christmas Eve and we got about 10 inches of snow when it was all said and done.  Merry %^#$%# Christmas.

Counting blessings is much easier to do in the summertime.

So, we went to church, came home to find that Santa had been there, and went to bed very early.  Justin got up at 1AM to start chores and move snow on Christmas morning before we headed out to have Christmas with my family.  It is times like these when my sanity is tested.  But it also demonstrates the dedication that we have to our livestock.  The animals must be comfortable and fed before we can enjoy ourselves.  The cattle do not know or care that it is Christmas and will not understand if we take a day off.

I will admit it, my happiness and stress level depends heavily on the weather.  When I woke up on Christmas Eve to nearly 6 inches of snow, I was upset.  I was depressed, and I was mad.  I had a pity party over the fact that my family was not going to get to have a nice relaxing holiday this year.  Then I decided to count my blessings.  My husband was at least going to be home for Christmas.  There are people serving our country who do not get that privilege.  There are people who have lost loved ones and will never get another Christmas with them. Who was I to be whining about anything?  I have three happy healthy children and a devoted husband.  Christmas is about blessings and I have many to be thankful for.

We live in Iowa. I accept that it will snow here. But I don't like it!!

So, I will continue to loathe the snow. And I will continue to count my blessings.  My family will continue to ensure the comfort of our stock, and the weather will continue to make that a challenge.  We will press on, and spring will eventually win over winter.



4 responses to this post.

  1. I feel the same way about the snow. I’d be perfectly happy if we didn’t have a white Christmas. And the winter weather totally saps my energy levels, which is too bad, because I have all this time inside to work on home-improvement projects. Thanks to you & you’re husband for all the work you do to keep my family fed.

  2. Posted by Amy H. on December 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I live on a dairy farm in western Ohio, so I know first-hand what you’re going through. It’s hard not to have a pity party for yourself, especially when your non-farming friends really don’t understand. I teach school, so snow is a mixed blessing–I enjoy the occasional snow day, but it makes life so hard on our farm! I really enjoy your blog!

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