Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter State of the Farm Address

"The summer is worth every bad day in the winter." We quote ourselves all the time this time of year. We remind ourselves what is coming. After the new year I end up certain that the afternoons are lighter. I try to enjoy our extra two minutes of daylight and convince myself its actually more than two extra minuets of our beloved sun.

 We have too many animals. That is becoming painfully evident. We are wrestling ourselves into different situations to deal with this. Some situations are more expensive than others, and some more humane that others. On the bad days I want to call up the live stock dealers and put all excess animals on the way to the auction. On the good days I think about allotting certain cows a probation period and making gourmet food out of other aging cows.  This wrestling leaves us indecisive. At some point action just needs to me taken. No pun intended; "pull the trigger."

The chickens are sure that it is summer year round in the hoop house. It kind of is. We turn the lights on in the coop early, and leave them on until our bed time in the evening. Much like the photo periods of June and July. They are laying eggs for us! On Christmas Eve, when my loving partner Meg headed south to Braintree for the night, I decided that drinking a few Jameson's for the afternoon was a good idea. Given that the day was sunny, I was buzzed up.....I used the hoop house as a seasonal extension and do some mid winter clothing optional sunbathing. MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The winter wardrobe requirements is the driving force behind the clothing optional dress code that is adopted in the summer. For five months getting ready to do just the chores involves a regiment that is like putting on a suit of armor. 1.) wake up: be sure to put socks on your feet to guard against the freezing floor, which will crucify your feet. 2.) Dawn layer number one: long underwear, fluff your leg hair that may be matted from the entire day in long underwear the day prior. It will start to hurt if you opt not to fluff  3.) If you are having coffee before chores a bathrobe is a good idea. Often time I choose my primary layer for coffee. Long jonhs and a full length cotton shirt are common. On the best day the Under Armor has had the horrific smell of arm pit and cow barn/chicken poo smell washed from it, and it is dry and able to be worn for at least three days straight before it is eliminated from the options due to smell factors.  And then time to get serious. 4.) The Secondary Main Layer. Choose wisely. Wool is good, fleece is another option, quilted flannel shirt? All of these options require fore thought into the ultimate shell layer.  If you are shooting for bib overalls, the hoodie is yet another option that comes into play, or you could go wool. It all depends on the day. If it is a hayday, wool bites because the hay chaff sticks to wool and then gets tracked back into the house. However, if it is freezing and you are opting for the full insulated coveralls as the ultimate outer shell, long johns and wool is a brilliant option because the hay slides off of the canvas outer layer.

5.) After the shell layer and the main layer; boots. Leather or rubber? Did you dry the boots last night? Are your sock damp? Rubber is usually the common choice. Hopefully you have dried them out the night before, because if you didn't,  a wrestling match to get them on your feet is on for round one.  Be sure to tuck your  pant cuffs into the boots, otherwise they will end up coated in manure. Pull those boot laces tight because hay chaff will get in your boots, and it will pour out onto the floor.

6.) You're not done yet; Hat. Wool or fleece? Depends on the hay situation. And how cold it actually is. Hay seems to be the constant variable that leads you to manipulate your wardrobe. The deal with hats is that when your head sweats from working, wool will get itchy. Adding hay to the equation is the double deadly threat. Fleece hats and hay are not bad, but you never can avoid hay sticking to your hat. It's like vel-kro.<(not in the spell check dictionary)
7.) Gloves: there are three options depending on the day. The synthetic ski type gloves. They work good for the super cold days, and if there are no dry gloves available they are the choicest. Usually Meg lays claim to the ski gloves. That leaves the fleece gloves as next option. Long as its not windy they are OK. If they are wet and you didn't dry them, you can dry them out on the kerosene heater in the milk house. If the wind blows, they do nothing for you. The last option is the former ever so stylish, ever so thin,  knit purple ladies glove. They are not warm, the wind goes right through them - However, they offer the best fine motor skill mobility without taking a glove off. They can be essential if you are doing carpentry, mechanical work, or some other project that demands fine motor capacity.

After five months, 150 days, three hundred sock changes, 600 changes of coveralls, 300 wet gloves, 600 oz. of hay chaff spilling on the floor; Is it any wonder when spring comes, and the temperature rises above 60 degrees, putting on a pair of garden clogs, a cowboy hat and your birthday suit is an act of freedom from winter clothing bondage?

1 comment:

  1. You need to wear a bandana under that wool hat. No more itch!!