Don’t Stop Believin’

We have officially reached the point of winter where I put my hand up to the weather and say, “Stop it.  Just stop.”  Because, really.  ENOUGH already.  Show of hands, does anyone out there truly, madly, deeply love the winter?  Anyone?  Is this thing on?

That’s what I thought.

Oh sure, I get that we’ve got it easy down here in the belly of Texas.  But folks here are not bred or raised to tolerate colder climes, as evidenced by the reaction to today’s forecast (32* and drizzle).  Before the day even dawned, all the schools were closed, businesses were shuttered, and the radio warned the locals to “Stay off the roads at all costs.  Save yourselves!”  If you think I’m exaggerating then I urge you to Google “Austin TX cold paranoia.”  You’ll see.

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Day dreaming of summer tomatoes

I’m not judging any of my fellow Texans, by the way, as I’ve been bundled and scowling since the first “cold front” (50 degrees) hit sometime in November.  Although midwestern blood pumps through my veins, I am incapable of joy during the coldest months.  I will take sunshine and swelter any day over the runny-nose inducing chill that we’ve had in our much, much longer-than-usual winter.  It’s because of these temperatures that I am most grateful for one decision made this fall related to animal husbandry – and it’s an important one to share with anyone else deeply afflicted by the winter miseries:

Breed animals according to what time of year you would most like to sleep in a pasture.

My first (and only, remember, I’m a definite novice) experiences with animal birthing happened in mid-January.  Although it was a milder winter, I still spent many nights leaning against trees in the woods at 3am with a goat’s head in my lap.  I then nursed a very ill, post-surgery animal and her babies in a barn during ice storms.  It was, in a word, unpleasant.  Because of this, I carefully considered when I would be most mentally and physically capable of enduring late nights outside with a genuine grin (grin, not grimace) on my face.  I landed on March.  And I nearly achieved my goal until discovering that a neighbor’s (non-dairy) buck stealthily snuck into our pasture on a day that Jolene was in heat.  After pulling my hair and yelling for a solid two minutes, I calculated a due date at the end of February for Miss Jolene who had an affair with a goat from the wrong side of the  tracks fence.  It’s not March, but it’s close enough.

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Baby goats! Baby goats! Baby goats!

Although I’m already biting my nails with worry over the beginning of a new season, the thought of so much activity and life helps push me through these last few weeks of winter.  That and the extreme dairy drought we are suffering here.  Because, once you go fresh raw milk, you just can’t go back.  Surprisingly, I’m also missing the structure and routine that accompanies daily milking, something I considered over at Broadway + Thresher recently.


Fresh milk. Gimme.

So, friends, homesteaders, and country men/women – remember that there is a light at the end of this ice-encased tunnel.  Blare a little Journey if you need to, warm your toes by a fire, take a shot of bourbon (like, for medicinal purposes. Sort of), and remember that this too shall pass.  Soon we will be pulling weeds from gardens, bottle feeding baby animals all night long, and sweating through our wellies.  I just can’t wait.

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Cows, Dairy, Garden, Goats


  • Jamie

    February 8, 201411:30 am

    Here in Maryland we just had a nasty ice storm, had to spend considerable time digging a ditch to drain standing water away from the barn, had to use a chisel to chip open the coop door and no power for 3 days. This morning on the way back from my chicken duties I saw the daffodils sprouting. Won’t be long now before there are seeds sowed indoors and I’m tilling up the soil. Good luck with all the new babies!

  • Carla

    February 8, 201410:05 am

    I too am from midwestern blood. I too am ready for our ‘harsh’ winter to be gone.
    However, I draw the line at the extreme heat of our summers. Mostly, I think I must just like to gripe about the weather. :)
    You asked if anyone really likes winter. I have a friend that lives in Alaska. She’s not some backwoods brute from reality TV, but she and her friends truly love the winters up there. Go figure?

  • Ashley

    February 7, 201411:09 pm

    I can’t wait either! And I have just learned that lesson you speak of :)

    • jennakl

      February 8, 20149:33 am

      I can’t even IMAGINE how you do this up in Montana, Ashley. You are my hero. True story.