Monday, March 31, 2014

Worst winter ever?

A few weeks back, during evening milking, Monika came running up to us. She was holding one of the small blue sample bottles that we use for testing milk. The sample bottle was full of snow. "I filled this with snow so that I always have something to help me remember winter," she said after I asked about the bottle. "I just love winter!"

Last week, as Dan first stepped out of the house to get on the bus, he saw the dusting of snow on the muddy driveway, like powdered sugar on a brownie, and cried, "More snow! I hope it doesn't snow for a YEAR!" This is the boy who, a few short (long?) months ago, shouted, "Mom! Mom! It's snowing! Dad! Dad! Can you push it into a pile so we can play on it?"

Little did we know that, three days later, that dusting would look wimpy compared to the five inches of wet, heavy snow that fell in five hours.

March 27, 2014

I tried very hard this winter to maintain an attitude like Monika's. I kept telling myself, this winter hasn't been that bad. I tried to refrain from complaining about the cold and the snow and then the ice. I tried to embrace all of the late starts and weather cancellations, viewing them as extra days for my kids to just be kids and not worry about schedules and school.

Our neighbor's farm is hiding behind that drift.

I tried not to complain about how cold our house was after we decided to turn the thermostat down five degrees. With the price of propane where it was and the fact that our air source heat pump wasn't running at all, we (meaning Glen) figured we could reduce our heating costs. The house was so cold that I had to soften butter for baking in the bathroom, where we kept a small space heater. The colder house didn't seem to bother anyone, except me. I wore my winter hat inside the house for the whole first week, until my body adjusted to the change. Thankfully, Glen's mom came over one day and said we couldn't keep the house that cold with a baby in the house. "It's just money," she said. So we compromised and turned the thermostat up three degrees. I still can't soften butter in the kitchen.

As the winter wore on, pictures and posts started showing up in social media labeled #worstwinterever. And I thought to myself: This isn't the worst winter ever. This is just a good, old fashioned, Minnesota winter, with snow drifts as high as houses and frosty heifers that look like wooly mammoths. We have it easy compared to what our forefathers must have endured. We have tractors and skidloaders instead of horses. We have tractors and skidloaders with heated cabs. We're not pitching silage out of our silos with forks. We have well-insulated houses and new windows that don't rattle with each gust of wind.

March 5, 2014

Gigi, Gala and Holiday on a cold, cold February morning.

Frost on the cows' feed, from the cold wind slipping through the crack in the silo room door. I thought it was pretty.

But then my attitude started to sound more like Dan's recent protest. In a matter of days, we went from this:

March 16, 2014

Back to this:

March 18, 2014

And then this happened:

March 27, 2014

On the way home from picking Monika up from preschool last Thursday, Old Man Winter finally got the best of me. Monika had just asked me why we were driving so slow when the rear wheels lost traction in the wet snow (on top of the morning's freezing rain). We didn't even fishtail. We just slid right off the road, through the ditch and crashed into the wooden corner posts of the county's four-strand barbed wire fence. Thankfully, our little off road adventure happened at a very slow pace and nobody was hurt, although Monika was pretty shaken up emotionally.

So, now I'm inclined to agree that this has been the worst winter ever.

What do you think? Has this been the worst winter ever?


  1. In Germany this year winter just didn't take place... Hugs from Berlin, Frank

  2. That's crazy, Frank! But, two years ago we didn't have much of a winter here, so I can understand. Give my best to everyone.


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