Thursday, December 28, 2017

That Time of Year

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 
another perspective.

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.


Karen Ann said...

Deb I have to thank you - I bought those leather lined ranch gloves on Amazon a size too big and boy, they really really work! Amen! Only took me 30 years of horse barn chores to figure out how to keep my hands warm, and it's all because of you. Thank you for the tip. - Karen, This Old House 2

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i love the way the land looks during winter. so did andrew wyeth. some of his best paintings were winter ones. it sure is cold. even mini winnie doesn't want to be out for long.

Colleen said...

We are getting the same frigid temps. Chickens and ducks are loving the extra TCL.
Tell Tyler if he ever wants to come to Maine he can stay with me.... I would love a helper.

Dee J. Hartman said...

I choose to stay inside, in the warmth, during this cold spell that was 12 degrees yesterday. My ventures outside have been limited, but I did enjoy seeing your winter sites at your farm! ...Hope to see you in person, in Williamsport when my daughter, Daviina, of DAVINA & THE VAGABONDS, will perform again in the warmer weather (in Williamsport PA on MAR. 24,2018 at the Community Arts Center with the SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS .) Yes, looking forward to meeting you there!

daisy gurl said...

Tyler is a great helper, I'm sure. He will benefit so much from the lessons he learns on the farm.

I so agree with you. Winter is our time to slow down and nestle inside our cozy homes. Enjoying certain meals and activities that take place at this time of year makes it special. We are so glad we moved further north so that we can experience the changing seasons. It is truly a blessing to see God's world and its transformations.
Stay toasty!

littlemancat said...

Love your winter reflections - it is an often stern,austere season but has great beauty. Your first pic and the one of the gazebo field with those amazing winter blue skies - loved 'em. Even though spring remains my favorite time, I've always loved paintings of winter - as Joyce pointed out, some of Wyeth's best.
Love Bobby in his cosy nest.

Lady Jane said...

Nice pics of those precious animals and I wouldn't mind curling up with the cat under that heat lamp, lol.. It is 3below here right now. Enjoy your new years. Hugs, lj

Missy George said...

I remember coming up years ago to find you in the dry lot trying to chop were not a happy camper..You need a flame thrower..I love how blue the skies look when there is snow on the ground..Ty is as cute as ever..Missed seeing him this year..Glad he could spend a few days with you..Stay warm..Fireplace weather for sure..


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