Boy, oh boy, are New Englanders in for a surprise this year! Winter has officially made its yearly debut and friends, neighbors, family members, and strangers are hiding out in their cocoons and preparing themselves for full hibernation. Going to the local grocery store, or the post office seems like a major outing.
Before leaving the nest for such a thrilling adventure, one must layer clothes on top of clothes before facing the whipping wind and freezing temperatures. By the time you bitterly throw your various articles of clothing on, boots tied, scarves strategically wrapped, and you’ve waited the sufficient amount of time that is required to defrost your car, you realize why such a simple outing seems like an epic journey.
By the time you step foot into your car, your grumpiness gauge goes from average every day grumpiness to full blown rage and frustration. Mundane tasks and simple projects are turned into instantaneous battles when dealing with the winter months in New England, particularly when you reside on a farm.
When dealing with numb fingers and toes, frozen water buckets, feisty feral horses, broken gates, freezing pipes, extremely thick and dangerous ice rink driveways, loneliness, depression, chapped lips, and general disdain for the world around you, it’s easy to fall into despair. However, winter time chores have the potential to become tolerable when you have somebody or something that can help ease your daily pain and suffering.
1) Tractors. I’ll admit, before arriving at Tamarack Hill Farm, and meeting someone who’s life seems to revolve around these machines, I never realized how one apparatus could change the way you look at the world from November through April. These machines are truly life savers. They plow, they pull, they dig, and they basically do it all (until they break).
One day, if I am really lucky and I ask at the appropriate time, I might be permitted to drive and learn to operate such a powerful piece of equipment. For now, I’ll gaze through the barn window and sigh with relief, while he who takes care of all things farm related drives the tractor.
2) Running Water. It’s the simple things in life sometimes that makes or breaks your day. Having running water truly seems like a luxury. The only way we know this IS in fact a luxury is because we have spent months without running water in the barn.
Ah yes, those miserable snow storms where you have to bring warm buckets of water from your house, down the long driveway, across the street, over the brook, through some weeds, and over a mountain, before you arrive at the barn, realizing you spilled half the bucket down your now freezing leg.
3)Music. I am sort of a loner and I’m okay with this fact about myself. Though, after days, weeks, and even months pass by and I have not come into contact with anyone or anything besides the barn mice, even I need to hear the sounds of other voices that are not actually in my head. Yes, I sing to myself and I listen to local news. As long as the power is turned on, I am a happy camper. Nothing like cleaning stalls with Taylor Swift every morning. Yep…I listen to Taylor Swift.
4) Where to put all that manure? This may seem silly, but if the manure pile is in close proximity to the barn, then my general attitude towards the world seems more pleasant. See, we have two different barns here at THF. One main barn and one lower barn, where the manure pile lives.
There are perks and cons to both barns, but if you have a handy dandy tractor bucket dropped off at your convenience, where you can easily dump your wheelbarrow into the bucket, then life is good….or life seems easier.
5) Carhartt Overalls. I may not be entering any beauty pageants EVER, but particularly in the winter when I look like a marshmallow man, or an angry Santa Claus with hay and shavings stuck to random extremities. Even though carrying around extra weight of the clothing seems exhausting and endless, I am a HUGE fan of these not so fashionable, but extremely warm and practical overalls. Seriously…invest in a pair!
So, fellow winterites….whats on YOUR list?