Today is one of those days where you question your life choices. At 7 a.m. while most people are warm and cozy in their home or office, I am suiting up and heading outside. The sun isn’t fully up, and as I make that first step outside, milking supplies in my arms, I immediately feel my nostrils freeze and my lungs seize. First, I go to open the chicken coop door, even though I know they will not come out. Their water is frozen solid, even with the heated cinder block, so I put it outside run and check for eggs. There are none, so I head over to the goat shelter.
I forgot to put teat tape on Aurora yesterday after milking, so all it takes is one look at her udder to see that Millie – the 9 month old “baby” who is larger than her mother – has emptied it. I get 1/4 of a cup, and resign to just give it to the cats. I do remember to put the tape on today, and make sure to let Aurora eat all the grain before I let Millie the pig out of her side of the shelter. Their water is frozen rock solid as well, and weighs a ton, so I haul it out of the pasture also.
Gloves aren’t really an option when you use your hands as much as I do, so my fingers are frozen, my cheeks are burning and my eyes are watering as I walk back into the garage hauling the milking supplies and frozen water. As I fill a new bucket with warm water in my kitchen, I reminisce on the days of summer, when my morning chores took 15 minutes and I did it in a t-shirt and jeans. (Have I mentioned that winter has not even begun yet? It’s only December 15th…) I head back out with the water for the goats and chickens, place them in their appropriate spots and watch as Aurora gulps the water. Poor girl. I look around the shelter and am glad that I decided to pile straw in their bed last night, but notice Millie is eating the hay we stuffed in the cracks to block the wind. Goats.
I trudge back through the snow and cold (I’m so dramatic, there is only 3 inches of snow, but it is well below freezing!), take off my boots and layers, and head inside. I’m grumpy and I know it. It’s nearly 9:00, I haven’t had my breakfast or tea, and I am frozen. I realize I am writing the “for sale” ad in my head for the goats and stop myself. No, I can’t give up. I want to see their babies, and I’m looking forward to attempting to get more milk than last year so I can make yummy things. I set my tea, clean the milking supplies, and make breakfast while I ask myself whose idea all this was, anyway. Oh, right. Mine.
For now, I will enjoy my warm home and hot tea. In a few hours I’ll be back out replacing the waters with unfrozen ones again, and I just may run to the farm store for that heated bucket later. Maybe we should move the goats and chickens closer to the house, after all. I’m thinking directly out the garage door. Who needs grass?