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       Happy New Year from the dairy farm! It’s been a rough first week of the year. It decided to get down and dirty cold. We knew it was coming. We tried to brace ourselves, but a person can only do so much. Then it’s basically hang on to your hat and hope for the best. Thank God we don’t live on the East coast. This is the first time in a few years that we’ve had this kind of bitter temperatures. Usually we’re pretty mild, so I guess we were due. Let me show you what happens when the temperatures dip low…………………..  044.jpg     One of the few positive points of cold weather. The kids always love to play ice hockey “farm style”. Where are the skates? No need for those….muck boots work just fine. They spend hours on the pond slipping and sliding. It’s an intense game for farm kids. They come to the house all hot and sweaty. They get bumps and bruises from all the “fights”. Haha   062.jpg       They even have an audience. The naughty heifers come along and sniff everything. They always have to be in the middle of it all. Lookin’ for trouble if you ask me.   047.jpg      They even got “Mom” on the ice yesterday…..quite the sight to behold. I still got it though. I did not fall and break a leg. So, that’s a success. It’s intense exercise. I was huffing and puffing. Or maybe I’m just out of shape. Either way, I scored a few points for the “team”.   038.jpg     You know the saying….work before play. So, the chores need to be finished before the fierce hockey game begins. Here we have two of our “dairy mafia” team members. Let’s just say that it was a bit chilly milking those cows. Brrr…….it was not a happy day. Nobody was singing praise hymns.   022.jpg      We have learned how to layer to keep warm. It feels like we’re carrying an extra 50 pounds of weight, but that’s what it takes. What a burden to carry all winter. Summertime feels so “free”. Stop spraying the hose Michael. You’ll make everything like an ice rink. When it dips low like this, we can’t scrape, wash or clean the barn and lots. Ever try scraping frozen cow poop?! The thaw is a total nightmare. It needs to be done in the “slush” stage or you’ll never get anywhere. It’s another trick of the trade.   024.jpg     We’ve been putting salve on the cows “tits”. Take no offense, that’s farmer lingo. This keeps them from getting frostbite, chapped and sore. They stay nice and soft and the cows don’t kick when we prep them for milking. It’s a miracle salve.   025.jpg     Cows are pretty resilient to weather conditions. They have a “tough as leather” hide and seem to handle the cold much better than the “milkmaid” does. You know it’s cold when you can “puff your own smoke”.   030.jpg    A fake smile? I’m freezing my butt off. This is what you do when your fingers are so cold that you can hardly move them. Stick them up between the cows leg and udder……it’s so nice and cozy. Ahhh….sweet relief. Notice the many layers of hoodies? I’m good at layering.   028.jpg     Every now and then we have to step away and check our social media. What do normal people do on cold days?! Actually, the kid is playing a game. Up and at ’em. Time is slipping away.   032.jpg     This was on one of the coldest mornings. Yes, it’s me underneath all those clothes. I was on my way to feed all those hungry calves. I feel pretty good except for my fingers. They burn and sting from being so cold. By the time I get back, I can’t decide whether to scream or cry. Big girls don’t cry, so I go the screaming route. If you hear anything, don’t panic it’s just the milkmaid venting frustration. A good old fashioned “scream” will do wonders to cleanse the heart and soul. Don’t judge me until you walk in my shoes. Just sayin’.    076.jpg    We don’t have freeze proof water tanks in the back pasture, so this is what we deal with. We need to get that taken care of ASAP. This is maddening!   078.jpg     By the time the bitter cold releases its grip, this is what we feel like. Help! Is this ever going to go away?! What the heck are we doing this for?! Spring can’t come soon enough for all dairy farmers.   080.jpg      In the midst of all the pain and agony, there are still a few beautiful things to be found. So, there you have it. That is just the tip of the iceberg of what happens in the bitter cold. You really don’t want to know any more than that. The anger, bad attitudes, and temper tantrums all need to be left alone. Haha Stay warm………………..Carol