Winter’s hatchet weather


We’ve had a unusual late fall here in the Pacific NorthWET. We’ve got snow! I’m guessing that someone has been praying just a bit too hard for a white Christmas and overshot their target date. Don’t blame me because 1) my prayers don’t usually have such an immediate and  direct response like this and 2) I hate driving in the slushy, white stuff. We’re not even two weeks into the month of December and we’ve had snow twice already.

The first snow was beautiful…..until it turned to ice. Oddly enough most of the west side of the state didn’t seem to have much snow accumulation or the resulting ice and people thought I was exaggerating until I showed them pictures from our area. While the snow fell for a few hours that day the bone chilling cold lasted for days (*disclaimer: We (meaning, “I”), are total weather wimps out this way and “bone chilling cold” is usually anything in the mid to low 20’s. Yes, I am fully aware this is almost bikini weather for some of our more frozen states……but not for this gal!)

tank-in-snow-120916-editAnyway, I digress, so while I appreciated the beauty of the white stuff, I have to admit I was slightly less than thrilled when it started snowing again late last night. Seriously?! We live in the land of rain and gray skies, this snow stuff doesn’t happen very often and rarely in the fall. More often than not our cold spells result in what I call broomstick weather. I call it that because I can take a broom out to do chores and brush off any frost and then flip over the broom and use the handle to bust up any ice in the water troughs. The last few days we have slipped into hatchet weather. Yup, you guessed it, the ice is so thick in the waterers that it laughs in the face, er….. handle of the broom. No, hardcore weather calls for hardcore tools….time to break out the hatchet! That’s right folks, it’s hatchet weather at the farm. As brutal as that sounds it really just means that I use the hatchet to break up the ice, but it sounds way cooler if I don’t explain it.

Snowy days on the farm can be difficult. It means that chores take a bit longer  to ensure everyone has enough food, that ice is broken up from the troughs and having to run out and check on the animals more frequently. However, it also means roaring fires, baked goods and comfort foods, soap making and maybe even trying my hand at knitting. Stay warm my friends.


Winter Struggles on the Farm

foggy pasture 1115 02 EDIT

Winter brings a whole new set of challenges on the farm. The routine chores suddenly take an even more adventurous turn. No, I’m not talking about the difficulties of navigating the manure slip and slide that we call a pasture. I’m also not talking about lugging extra food and bedding out to the animals to help them  keep warm or even the frequent trips out to bust up the ice in the water troughs.  Those are all standard struggles around a farm in the winter.

I’m talking about the bigger and more important issues we wrestle with, such as just how many layers do we need to wear to stay warm but not cross over into ‘bundle bound’ where you can’t move those necessary appendages to do chores.  There’s a fine balance between warmth and mobility.

murphy in jacket 1115 EDIT

Even Murphy bundles up when it gets cold.


Here’s my winter tips:

First, always try to sucker, err…. convince, your spouse, partner, friend or other gullible victim to do the chores for you. You’ll be surprised at how many will believe you when you tell them about the joys of doing chores in the crisp, winter wonderland will bring you closer to nature. At least, they’ll believe you the first time. Be warned, you usually won’t get a second run with these people.

Second, if you can’t sucker anyone into doing your chores, you’ll need to keep a set of clothes a size or two larger than you normally wear. This will be necessary to fit your layers of long underwear on under your regular clothes. Trust me trying to squeeze yourself into your regular clothes with several layers on under them is like trying to cram yourself into a sausage casing. It’s quite the workout, frustrating and really not a pretty picture. To be fair this great effort might be just slightly exacerbated  just a tad by over indulging during the holidays…..but nothing good can come from dwelling on the cause. Trust me, just buy some bigger clothes.

Lastly, once you are bundled up enough to stay warm outside, good planning is imperative. Truly…..*IMPERATIVE*. There are some “personal matters” that continue despite weather, how bundled up you are or how much effort it takes to get unbundled…… are you following me? Just remember that it takes much longer to waddle yourself to the house and unwrap all those layers, so be prepared for these delays or be prepared to face the consequences.

Those are my winter tips and just remember the better you are at tip #1 the less you have to worry about #2 and #3. You’re welcome and stay warm my fellow farmers!