I crawled back in bed this morning. I got up for the 4:45 cow check, decided it’s going to be a really long day with everything that I’m sure is going to be frozen and won’t start and said, “Heck with it,” when I got back to my house and crawled back under the covers for another hour.
I don’t know who around here made Mother Nature so cranky, maybe she’s a Husker basketball fan, I really don’t know, but somehow I feel we got mistaken for North Dakota. This morning it was -36 windchill — that’s just dumb.
The Boss Man and Boss Man’s Wife are on a mini vacation this week, which means the Right Hand and I had to get a little creative with scheduling. Fortunately for me, she was willing to change her days for the next couple of weeks. She comes up after lunch, right around when I head to the North Place to feed, then keeps an eye on the March recips throughout the afternoon until about 3 in the morning. She’s doing a great job picking up the stuff I don’t get done while I’m feeding at the Home Place feedlot in the morning and has enough insomnia going on that she can catch up on some of my errant paperwork at night.
This cold has been tough on both woman and beast, and even I’m starting to dream of fruity umbrellas drinks, and I don’t like fruity umbrella drinks.
What does it take to survive a round of Mother Nature’s fury? I put together a list of some of my favorite survival tools.
Yoga pants. I’ve never been a fan of long johns, as every time I’d pull on jeans, they’d move with them and next thing you know you have a pile of fabric around your waist so thick you can’t button your pants, and a serious wedgie.
Ski pants. I have the mobility of a penguin in coveralls. Which isn’t a good thing when trying to move calves to take to the barn or tag Devil Cow’s calf. My shoulders thank me, as I don’t have the pressure on them all day from the straps. The other great advantage is I seem to always be covered in some unknown substance. One quick pass with the garden hose and people aren’t making a wide berth around me at the grocery store stop between the two places.
Cotton gloves. These aren’t the roping glove freebies that make my hand attire look like Mickey Mouse, these are the $1.50 Walmart specials that I buy in bulk every year to wear under a pair of leather insulated gloves. The best part is at that price you don’t feel bad about cutting off a finger or two to make them laptop/cell phone friendly. They also can hold a hand warmer in place and still fit under a leather glove.
Face mask. They Velcro over the bottom half of one’s face to protect from the elements. Not to be confused with the hooded ones that are used in TV bank heists, which cause enough static electricity to make me look like Medusa. A lot of Vaseline around the eyes and a pair of sunglasses and not too many worries of looking like Old Man Winter.
A gallon jug. I’m a drinker — not “that” kind, but if Mother Nature keeps it up I might become that. I’ve read some interesting articles about dehydration in the winter. Along with the tea, coffee, and a protein shake or two that I drink throughout the day, I will empty that gallon of water. It not only makes me feel better, but helps ward off sickness from the bitter cold. Plus, all I have to do is set it outside for a couple minutes for a built-in fridge. As for getting rid of excessive fluid, see list item #2.
Well, considering it’s starting to get light out and I’ve procrastinated enough, I better figure out what equipment won’t start, if the corn steep is frozen, and what water systems might need some extra heat, but at least I’ll be reasonably warm (insert hand to forehead emoji here).
Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Neb. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at email@example.com.