Today, as I surfed through the Internet looking for recipes for groundhog, it occurred to me that I am sick and tired of winter. That little rodent told us that spring was right around the corner. That wasn’t just a lie, it was about the cruelest thing he could have done to me. For that, I think we need to BBQ him. I am not vengeful or anything.
I know, “we were due for a winter and we finally got one, quit whining and deal with it like everyone else.” No one likes a complainer and normally I keep most of this to myself, but I have had it with this weather, and I don’t see any end in sight. If we aren’t dealing with snow and freezing temperatures, we have mud and more mud. I realize that they come hand-in-hand, but it doesn’t seem like we have gotten a break from rotten weather of one kind or another.
The best piece of evidence I have is that I bought new leather work boots and Muck Boots at the same time, about November, I think. Well, my leather boots are hardly broken in, but the Muck Boots already have holes in them, and I am on my second pair of insoles. There have been days that I have spent more hours wearing them than anything else.
However, my Muck Boots are not the worst part of my work wear. I think my coveralls have two or three extra layers and might be bulletproof at this time. The zipper up the side of the leg has been ripped out and they flop around like bat-wing chaps. I have found out that if the bottom of my coverall gets wet and it is cold enough, they will freeze into a flat, solid piece. I have also found out that frozen coveralls make it difficult to walk, drive or even just get into the pickup and tractor. I would burn my coveralls this spring, but I am not sure how long it will take to get the permit from the EPA.
The only thing that is nastier than my coveralls is my chore coat. My chore coat was a once proud coat that I wore into town. Now it is covered in grime and has a funky odor when it can thaw out. I somehow have a hole in the right pocket — a problem that I did not find out until I had lost many things out of the hole. For the record, Jennifer would mend the coveralls and coat if I will first wash them. I refuse to do that because washing them would bring bad luck and I am afraid that this winter can get worse.
It has been just as hard on the equipment around our farm, too. Last week, I was feeding cows and I had to stop at the intersection by my house, get out of the tractor and clean the windows off so I could see if anyone was coming. Much to my chagrin, I had to repeat this at every intersection, the roads were just mucky enough that the tires would throw mud up on the windows. Everything and everybody on our farm is covered in mud — I have declared mud as our company color.
While the mud covering everything is miserable, it pales in comparison to the ruts and holes in all the cow lots. There are no smooth places to drive anymore and each time we get a good thaw, they get worse. Usually the lots don’t get this rutted up until it is nearly spring; this year, they got that way in December.
If the mud and ruts weren’t fun enough, we have been getting regular coatings of snow on everything. If it wasn’t hard enough to walk through the mud and frozen ruts, the snow adds another layer of difficulty and agony. As tired of the mud as I am, I really hate the snow. Well, I am even more tired of being cold, but that is a whole different whine.
Yes, I know I am whiney, and I know that I don’t have it any worse than anyone else. However, that should not preclude me from venting. I think we would all feel better if we would just let all our winter frustrations out. Just like the warm winds of spring will blow all this winter nastiness away in a month or two.
In the meantime, I would suggest that we all take a little time to let all our frustrations out. Kick the trash can, knock over the snow man, whatever it takes. When it is all better, we can all sit down to a nice plate of smoked groundhog. Spring is right around the corner.
Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation farmer in the Northern Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County in Kansas. He was a county Extension agent for 19 years before returning to farm and ranch full time. He can be reached at email@example.com.