I am typing this up while warming up next to the wood stove and drinking a cup of coffee. I have been out filling hay feeders up, making sure all diesel engines are filled up and plugged in and that I have a plentiful supply of feed in the barn. The weatherman is predicting “snowmegdan” and for some reason I believe him. Time will tell if this is an act of futility or a foreshadowing, but in any case two full days were spent preparing for the upcoming storm.
I also suspect that we are going to have a storm because of a couple of different indicators also. Yesterday the animals were very anxious, even bordering on crazy. It seems to me that they were sensing something coming and were a little nutty because of it. The other indicator, my knees, and one that I have found to be the best at predicting big storm systems. They have been aching and sore.
Fearing for the worst and hoping for the best I began my preparations and I admit that it is a good feeling to see the hay piled up in rows by the house, a large stack of firewood within arm’s reach of the back door, a large pile of feed sacks in the feed room and freshly scattered straw in the lambing barn. However, I still have that gnawing worry in my gut that 1) there is more I could do, 2) something will go wrong, and 3) there is nothing I can do about it. Over the years I have gotten quite good at worrying about things I have no control over.
I have to admit that I have spent some sleepless nights the past couple of days worrying about the forecast and the blizzard. We are getting calves fast and furious and we have many new babies on the ground and many will only be days or hours old when the snow arrives. I have tried to make warm (or warmer) places for them but there is only so much I can do. I know, tomorrow I will stand helplessly looking out the window, wondering how they are faring. I also know that it would be foolish to go check them and risk getting them up from the warm places their mothers have found for them.
The sheep will cause a different kind of worry. I have plenty of barn space for the ewes with lambs and the ewes who are about to lamb. They will be inside and protected from the blowing snow. My worry with them is that the electricity will go out and I will not have the heat lamps we depend on to keep the newborns warm. Again, I am not sure the worry is warranted because I am sure many ewes have lambed in the past without the benefit of heat lamps.
The wind will wake me up tonight, I will go look out to see what is happening and the worry will start. Chores will be a difficult proposition in the morning and the rest of the day will be spent watching the weather, looking at the radar and staring out the window at the barn and the pasture, I know I will have done as much as I possibly can to keep them safe, comfortable and healthy, but the gnawing wonder if I could have done more will be there.
The words of my wise old Dad will also be in my head (actually they will be pretty fresh because I will probably call him on the phone three or four times). “Do what you can and don’t worry about what you don’t have any control over.” Good advice, if I would follow it. I would also bet he will be doing the same thing and worrying. That is just what we do.
I guess that is just part of being a good steward of the livestock we are entrusted with. We do all we can to insure their well-being, even risking our own at times. We know that our livelihood and life’s work are wrapped up in those animals and we do all we can do to protect them. The bottom line is that there are times we just don’t have much control, and that is when the worry comes in.
I guess we need to focus on the good things that will come about with the impending storm. I will most likely get to spend quality time with my family, be able to drink my coffee by the woodstove and most importantly (at least to them) Killer, the cow dog and Jack, the bird dog will spend time inside. I know they are really excited about that. So put a second pot on, wait for the snow and we will see each other on the other side of “snowmegdan”.