Friday, January 3, 2014

The Frozen Farm

These are the types of weather days that test us. Swirling snow, frozen ground, wicked winds and slow slogging through layer upon layer. I was supposed to head in to Great Barrington today, to work at the cheese shop- but the plows here are always later than the rest of area, tucked away as we are. So instead, I stayed home and we stoked the fire, and finished prep for the CSA delivery tomorrow. We've been sleeping downstairs on the futon, this kind of weather forces us up throughout the night. No matter the type of wood we use, the fire needs to burn so hot, as it's the only source of heat here that we stand guard against the cold and sleep in shifts.

Is it worth it? The long walks to the barn, the hours of labor breaking up ice in water buckets, wading through snow to feed hungry hogs... I think so. I never mind the hours of labor, even when it keeps me outside longer than is reasonable, or when by the time we've finished it's only an hour before we need to start checking in on everyone again. I don't mind packing the rabbit cages with hay, scratching the head of a goat en route to pulling off the water bottles- which are solid bricks of ice nearly instantly from being refilled. Our life has a purpose, we have focus. It's not easy, and sometimes I don't think it's sane. But it is ours.

Still, this cold will make anyone pause and wonder at the ferocity that is Mother Nature. I've been worn thin lately, and think Kim is too. The holidays have their charm, but they also have their demands. It's time to hibernate a bit, to realize Mother Nature always wins, and stop fighting her for a few months. We will keep ourselves and our animals safe, and comfortable- but other that that- we won't be tilling ground (obviously) or analyzing pastures or making water appear from sprinklers or adding nutrients to soil. We will be still animals, quiet animals, reverent animals. We will eat, we will sleep, and we will re-group. Because you can't beat winter. Turn on some music, watch the snow blow, do what's expected and just recognize your own frailness. We would freeze in the world out there, while other animals thrive. We would struggle to find food. We need heat and shelter. Even the most prepared of us still get frostbite. It's humbling, to be a creature at the mercy of the world, isn't it?

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