Ole Man Winter has pointed his gnarly, icy finger at us...
sending us brutal cold weather to finish out our year.
It's the time of year often called the dead of winter...
when all of the color has drained from the land,
leaving behind an earthy palette of tans, and browns and grays...
the only color to liven up the landscapes is that of barns and out-buildings.
We spend no more time outside these days than we have to...
trips to feed the animals and clean up manure being the only reason for venturing out of doors.
It's just a little too cold for exposed skin.
It's that time of year when manure freezes to the rock-hard ground of the dry lot,
and we use a pick-axe to loosen it.
It's hard work and makes the time that we need to be outside even lengthier.
Rock-hard, frozen dirt is unforgiving...
refusing to loosen its grip on the manure without a fight.
The animals make it through the cold with plenty of hay to burn in their
on-board generators... their metabolic heat pumps.
The exception is the sheep, of course.
They breeze through winter in their heavy wool parkas...
chewing away the hours...
hay and cud, hay and cud...
barely even noticing the extreme dip in temperature.
We've had help with chores the past two days.
Tyler spent a couple days of his winter recess at the farm.
He's at a delightful age... thoughtful, caring, and funny as heck...
and always a great and willing helper.
He feeds the goats, while I herd the turkeys back to their house.
All of the birds weather the winter well... having warm houses to roost over night.
Before living on the farm,
I used to look at winter as a season to get through... with spring waiting on the other side.
Having to spend more time out of doors since moving to the farm has given me
Winter has a beauty all to itself.
It's an austere beauty.
Winter gives the land a chance to rest.
And although everything looks dead and dry...
life is teeming just beneath the surface.
Given the right conditions,
that which slumbers will burst forth in all of its splendor.
Our job is to enjoy the waiting...
and notice the beauty of the season...
otherwise, we spend a quarter of the year wishing we were elsewhere.
As for the animals... everyone has a warm shelter to which they can retreat,
if they so choose.
Bobby spends the cold nights snuggled into his bed,
basking in the glow of a heat lamp.