It’s about as much fun as a root canal. I’m talking about the rancher’s winter. This morning it was 13°F. I pulled on longjohns, heavy socks, jeans, wool shirt, fleece lined vest, insulated overalls (bunny suit) silk neck scarf, ill fitting stocking cap, and insulated gloves and went forth into a frozen world. All day it was take off gloves to unlatch the gate, put gloves back on. Then carry feed buckets, stumbling over frozen hoof-waffled dirt in insulated rubber-soled “packer” boots. The horses exhibited erratic behavior, refusing to pass the blue plastic tarp stretched over the back gate of the barn to keep out some of the bone penetrating north wind.
Then sitting on the tailgate of the Ford 4 x 4 while puttering along shaking out range cubes (cake or mascarote) for cows, as they clacked horns together, and slammed into my dangling legs, some of them absolutely convinced that the only cube in the bag worth eating is that very last one.
Riding out to check for new calves (found three) into the wind is certainly not the joyous “pootling about the estate” that it was a month ago. Even mounting my horse in all those clothes is a challenge. Possibly the high point of the day was clambering like a drunken black bear into the cab of the John Deere 4040 to put out half ton round bales. At least it would have been if I weren’t continually climbing in and out of the cab to catch gates before the mares bolted out of their pasture!
Finally, I got back in the house and reversed the process, doing “rancher striptease” back to indoor clothing. I stoked up the fireplace while the water heated up on the stove to make hot chocolate. Oh, yes, the life of the drover in winter!