Inspire me today says, “Every day should be a positive one, no matter what it may bring you. One way to focus on the positive is to start each day with a mantra…”. They suggest the mantra, “My word of the day is ______ and I will keep it with me.” (they suggest inspiring words like Joy, Blessing, Love).
My mantra? “My word of the day is cold and despite it I will provide Feed. Water. Shelter. Health.”
Every morning as I dress for chores I check the weather to see how many layers are needed to keep warm. This morning? -27°C…. -36°C with wind-chill. On went the extra socks and warm mitts. Out I went.
Our cows winter across the road from our yard. A combination of habit (on their part) and complacency (on my part) and laziness (on both our parts) means I can leave the gate open when I go in and out with the tractor to feed. It’s a bit like breakfast for my kids really: They are in the habit of expecting breakfast at a certain time in a certain location. I complacently set it out assuming that hungry beasts will devour it. And we are all too lazy to tidy as we go but instead clean up behind ourselves once at the end.
But, if I know anything about farming (which trust me, is NOT a rhetorical question around here) it’s is that lazily and complacently following old habits can lead to new (undesirable) adventures on the farm. My first clue should have been that the girls were all standing at the gate waiting for me. Apparently the wind-chill had sufficiently slowed my brain to make me think – huh…… it must be out of the wind over here. Alas, no. The girls’ morning routine was scrambled by a frozen water bowl… which is essentially the equivalent of my frazzled morning routine if the coffee-maker dies.
You put the story together. Even if you don’t farm, what do you suppose a cow craves after a nice breakfast of dry hay? You got it. A cool drink of water. Some of our cows have been here a long time. A dry water-bowl and an open gate was just too easy. Off they went to the yard to serve themselves at a different bowl… of course, leading a few “rookies” behind them.
Long story short. I spent my Sunday with the cows. Sorting cows. Moving groups through pens with working water bowls. Monitoring the diesel heater that I set up to thaw the bowl (although apparently not monitoring closely enough to stop myself from cooking some wires and getting a tutorial on electrical repairs). And sorting the cows again. Ending the day knowing I get to keep working on the problem tomorrow.
Today was a long, cold, tiring day. But it reminded me that my relationship with my stock is reciprocal. I take and I give. It is my duty to provide food, water, shelter, and health-care. Every day. Not just Monday to Friday, or on days above freezing, or when I feel like it. Every day. Maybe that’s where the phrase farming is in your blood comes from… farming is the antifreeze that keeps me going on days like today.
**Apologies for a long-winded story completely lacking in pictures. Apparently iPhones, water-bowls and my brain all fail to function in cold weather.