Remember those days when Friday was THE day? The beginning of the weekend of party time, of sleeping in and lazing around? Bwahahahaha!
Then came adulthood, and the R word. Responsibilities. Some people take on responsibilities, and some people have responsibilities thrust upon them. All of us have a mixture of both, and many of us take them on. Some of us ignore them, but that doesn't happen often here at Pine Ridge Farm.
This week we've been hit with snow and killer cold. Much like late spring, which will bring a sudden jump of 20 degrees or so, late fall has had a drop of 20 degrees. Today's high is predicted to be 8 degrees. Some of you are chuckling right now, thinking, "Bet you wish you'd picked Texas or Tennessee or Arizona about now." But then I would miss out on the sweet, lilac-scented days of mid-spring, or the crisp, golden days of fall. Nope, I'm happy right here, right now.
It just takes some planning and no small amount of courage to roll out of bed in the morning and head outside for chores. I am blessed with a husband who takes the early-early shift and feeds hay. Mary and I head out about 9 to feed grain and let the critters out for the day. Even in this cold, they're loving being outside, doing their normal pasture parade. Wakiya rolls in the snow; we call it horsie snow angels. Hope tries, but, as soon as her back hits that snowy field, she jumps up, acting surprised that she's hit something cold.
Yesterday and today I'm dealing with some very sore upper body muscles. JR has decided to play with the cord leading to the trough heater, and he's unplugged it a few times. Wednesday I hauled 8 5 gallon buckets of hot water down to the trough to refill it. (It's normal for us to haul about 20 gallons a day to that trough, which is shared by Hope and JR; between Wednesday and Thursday we hauled about 120, mostly hot water, to thaw the frozen trough.) I knew at the time that it was hard work, and now I have the sore muscles to prove it! Ethan did it for me yesterday, twice. JR, the stinker, has only 5 days until he meets his destiny, so I guess we should let him have his fun. But it isn't fun for us. Along with that has been the stall cleaning and finding a spot for JR during these really cold nights. I know, I know, cattle all over the US are standing outside in these frigid temperatures 24/7. But this guy is such a wuss. He throws such a fit when he's left outside, bellowing and hollering, that it's easier to clean up after him than to put up with it. So he's been sharing our "barn" with the 2 goat ladies. It's a disaster, but, as I said, it's only for a few more days.
This weekend we'll be building a stall into that building and figuring out a way to heat our trough that may or may not be steer-proof. Wish us luck! The horses right now are spread out between two pastures, and one has no heated trough. This means we'll be hauling water two or three times a day all winter. It's worth the time this weekend to save time the rest of the season. Both horses will move to the same pasture, where there is shelter for these frigid nights, and we can drop down to one trough. We'll be sending JR and two of the goats to Mr. Jones this next week, which will drop the feed bills and the workload. But we'll still be hauling water, since we didn't take the time this summer to run pipe down to the barn. It'll just be in smaller amounts on our time, instead of having to hustle to keep our critters hydrated.
So much for my whining and complaining. Best get to it!