Monday, January 13, 2014

Dear Glenview:

To a farmer, cold is cold, no matter what the mercury reads or how “apocalyptic” the weatherman says the day is going to be. The animals don’t know what a snow day is, nor do they care.

Last week was the kind of cold that bites. You’d think the herd would be in a hurry to get in the barn, but they were just as stubborn as usual. Cold, frigid… it’s all the same to them.  I guess it’s all the same to me, too. Freezing or not, I've got a job to do.

The winter is full of cold, long days where everything takes longer and you expend all your energy just trying to stay warm.  Even on the days when I don’t have 12 hours of hard labor, I go home feeling tired and beat up because the cold just takes it out of you.

The cows, they do fine in the cold. They’ve got a big layer of fat under that thick hide and a fur coat to top it all off. And with four stomach compartments pumping away, they’ve got an internal furnace. Me, I’ve got overalls.

In the morning after everyone’s had their fill, I let the herd out of the barn to get some water and time to walk around. With a mountain of straw and the barn protecting them from the wind, they stay warm. The rest of my day is spent running from one end of the farm to the other, taking care of the grounds and checking on all of the animals.

Each day, I clean the barn from the night before and lay down a fresh bed of straw on the rubber mats covering the ground. I bring the herd in, and go home to rest before coming back to do it all over again.

Winter on the farm is no cake walk.  Next time you pass by a farm on a cold day, tip your hat to the farmer. They’re out in the elements for 8-12 hours a day, putting their animals’ needs in front of their own.

Feel free to drop in if you pass by our farm. Odds are I’ll be outside, working in the cold.

A. Farmer