Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is It Here?

Has spring sprung?
Are we just being teased?
Should I be rejoicing the melt of our nine thousand inches of snow?

Well...maybe, on all accounts.

Around here, when we get above 40, you would think that it's early June. Everyone's a little bit antsy to bare his or her arms and legs. Illinoisans are opening windows, letting fresh air and sunshine stream in. I'm celebrating by wearing flats with no socks, all the while being cautious around the enormous puddles of melted snow in parking lots. Runners are running outside (that WILL be me again...next year). Kids are having outdoor recess. Life is grand.

But, it might just be a fake out, because there have been many a cold and snowy March and even April, so I am just making the best of the next few days.

I washed my car.

Which sounds like a great plan, considering the temperature would no longer freeze my doors shut or freeze ice on my windshield as I drive away from the car wash. However, I did have to drive home, and as I turned on my road, I decided my choice to wash my car might not have been the most intelligent decision in the world that day.

Our road was nothing but a mucky, rutted mess.

Ahhh....country living. We live completely "off the beaten path," and with that comes a "gravel" road. I put gravel in quotation marks because after the winter, there are roughly four pebbles left on the road: those lucky little guys who survived the elements, the snow plow and the road grater. The road is rutted where it's soft, making a great home for nice muddy puddles. The ones my daughters would love to jump in, and the ones I tend to either swerve around or go about 5 miles per hour through, just to save my car's clean exterior for more than twenty minutes.

It is agony to this town girl who loves a clean car to live on this road. My dad is the same way. We drive about 15 MPH, maximum during this time of year, something my farmer husband finds ludicrous. He drives his farm truck about 40, coating the sides with the brownish-gray mud, and not worrying about a thing. He might wash it, but it also might rain, and considering he leaves it parked outside, who cares. He has other concerns during this partial thaw.

Calves are his main concern, of course. Thaws in mid-February are great for runners, flat-wearers, and puddle jumpers, but they are very, very hard on new calves. Older, stronger calves with bossy, experienced mothers tend to occupy the barn during this time. Not only is it warmer in the barn, but, most importantly, it is also dry. Thus, inexperienced, new heifers and their calves are left to rest in the mud and the muck, causing sickness, which is never good, especially in the early days of their lives. Just last night, Joe had to tube feed electrolytes to a dehydrated calf when it wouldn't take its bottle of "Cow Gatorade." Thankfully, this morning, the calf is doing much better, but while days like yesterday and potentially today make me think about washing windows and outside running, they can some times be detrimental to a young calf's life.

Are you sensing a theme here? Are you wondering why the heck we have cattle in the first place when nights like last night, which happened to be Valentine's Day, are spent in the dark and the cold nursing and then tube feeding a calf instead of snuggling with a lovely, but largely pregnant, wife?

Did you enjoy a steak dinner last night in celebration of Valentine's Day?

Thanks, from us, if you did. Your dinner may have paid for our car wash!

Happy Taste of Spring!


  1. I definitely like this warmer weather, but not all the potholes popping up in the roads. We have just started lambing so I hope to get a post up about that soon. Hope calving season continues to go well.

  2. We have 8 miles of gravel and I had to buy a car the color of mud. In the summer it's caked with dust and in the winter mud. I've decided to look on the bright side and look at it as one less thing I have to worry about keeping clean. Why bother? It's good for my perfectionist tendencies. Sigh...