Thursday, January 15, 2015

Random Thoughts on a Cold Winter's Night


Waiting for coffee to pep me up.  I'm trying not to drink it during the day, but there are times when I need it.  It's Thursday night.  Spouse is coming home from his week of teaching weatherization in Albany.  Won't that be a more toasty warm, tidy hotel room with clean sheets and bed time at 6 pm.  He can sleep 12 hours a day with no problem.  I get half that.  Will be less when lambing time comes.
Long, cold week.  Warmed up this morning.  Only minus 5 F.  Yesterday morning, minus 25.  That's a record for this farm in the nine years I've been here.  The barn was one big ice cube.  I got everybody taken care of and get myself to work, but I do worry about what I'm going to find when I get home.
The van is still at the end of the lane.  "All Weather Tires" are no good in snow.  If I keep this van I'll get another set of studs, especially if he is going away for a week at a time in January and I can't start up the tractor to plow.  Carrying my groceries up the lane in the snow is not fun.  If my arms could talk they would complain bitterly.  I make them carry water, feed, hay, and now fire wood.  Luckily they are still strong enough to hold the doggies, kitties, bunnies and, soon, lambs.
Truth be told, I love the winter.  The stars are extra twinkly and the lovely white snow sparkles like diamonds under my head light.  Too bad Chobani built their massive factory complex five miles down the road.  They've ruined the sky for star gazing.  When I moved here nine years ago the Milky Way was a white streak across the sky.  Not now.  I fantasize about moving way out but I don't know if I could find a spot as pretty as here.  I don't want to see any neighbor's lights. All I need are my animals.  I'm becoming more and more of a recluse.  People are tedious and complicated.
I'm not seeing any signs of my sheep being pregnant.  Hard to tell because they are big and fat anyway.  That's the way it should be.  Big Jim Baldwin, my shearer and friend, scolds me for putting out too much hay and making them fat.  Can't help it, I'm the Jewish Mother of the sheep world.  Thanks to Julia, my dairy farmer neighbor who does my hay, I can give them all the hay I want.  There was a time when I didn't have enough hay and they were fashion model thin.  Those were the starving times.  No longer.
I don't know what to do with my old ladies.  I love them so, but they are withering away.  I used to keep sheep until they couldn't move and their knees would go bad.  Sheep only live 8-10 years but if you take real good care of them they can last until 14, 15 maybe.  I think I'll put them in a separate pen where I can spoil them and the young sheep can't push them around.
I'm sewing a couple of bags for Mia's friends out West who've had babies.  I love to sew.  I should be knitting more but when I sit down I want to sleep.  That's what working in the cold does to me.
Spring is on the way, and so are my lambs.  What a joy.  I think I've got one more big lambing in me.  We'll find out.

1 comment:

Sara Hartman said...

I love your posts and good for you, Maggie for thinking of your elderly sheep and taking such good care of them in their late years! P.S. my sister loves her bag!