Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winter Preparedness

It looks like winter is finally upon us with the most bitter cold snap of the year. Just like last year, and the year before and the year before that, I am completely unprepared. Each year this first real arctic blast seems to catch me off guard and not ready. Never mind that it is well into the first week of December before we got really cold weather or that we have had a couple months of unseasonably nice temperatures. I am simply not ready.

Jennifer tells me that my unpreparedness is a chronic condition of my own doing caused by my tendency to procrastinate. OK, she didn’t put it to me that nicely and she may have said it when she mentioned that we should power wash the lambing barn on one of those nice sunny, seventy degree late October days. I think my reply to her was that it was too nice and I wanted to do something else that was of equal importance in my mind, I would do the power washing later when I had more time.

Despite the theory of my wife, I am sure that my unpreparedness is a result of an early winter and global climate change or something along that line. I just assumed that the seventy degree sunny days would last until at least Christmas. It is not my fault that the polar air couldn’t wait to make an appearance, who would have thought it would be here this early?

Last week we had our first little taste of cold weather when the morning lows dipped down into the twenties. That was when I made the shocking discovery that I did not have any insulated bibs. It did eventually come back to me that at the end of calving season my bibs were in such bad shape and so dirty that Jennifer strongly suggested I burn them rather that subject our washing machine to the terror of trying to clean them. I believe it came with the statement that the settings only went to heavily soiled and not gross. It was probably for the best, without all the grime holding them together they would have disintegrated anyway.

So, I had no insulated bibs and could not find any gloves. Did you ever wonder just where the gloves go? Each year I buy the biggest bundle of cotton gloves I can find and each year I am scrambling to find two gloves by March. As for my insulated hat with ear flaps, who knows where it might be. I am sure it will show up later (probably about April).

The prediction is for the bitter cold to be here tomorrow morning. I sure hope there are a pair of overalls that will fit me somewhere in Manhattan. Finding my size is not easy. I know if I lost weight clothes would be much easier to find and I will get right on that, later. I really don’t think I procrastinate, I don’t have time for it. Besides, without my insulated coveralls I might freeze to death if I wasn’t a little chubby.

Aside from my personal comfort, I am woefully unprepared for cold weather. I probably ought to have the tank heaters ready to go, barns bedded down and water hoses drained. I am sure that will all get done in the next few hours. I might even have time to get the chimney cleaned so I can fire up the wood stove and have a place to thaw my cold hands out. That really only matters if I find a little time to get some firewood cut. I guess these are all things that could have been done earlier, but what was the hurry.

The sad truth is that I do often fly by the seat of my pants. That would be an uninsulated, cold, hopefully not frost bitten seat of my pants. I have heard that preparation and planning do make life easier but what is the fun in that and where is the challenge? I think the thrill of the deadline and the exhilaration of the near disaster are much more exciting.

It is very difficult to plan for everything and who has the time to get all of that done ahead of time. I am sure the days are shorter and minutes go by faster these days. The weather should have given me more warning than the seven to ten days I got from the long-term forecast. These are all the excuses that will be going through my head as I am power washing the lambing barn on a day that is below freezing. Oh well, at least I will be warmer in my new insulated bibs and gloves.

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