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By Staff | Feb 3, 2012

Since starting this house project – moving our house two miles to a new foundation and all that goes with a new residence and then doing some remodeling – we have gained an appreciation for getting one’s work done outside when the weather is cooperative and moving inside when the weather conditions are less than ideal.

We watched our carpenters build the addition and garage in October under bright blue skies when temperatures were of the short sleeve variety. It was a great fall season to be outside

With those tasks completed, the inside work is being done and if the work does not require a trip outside, short sleeves can still be in order even in January.

I am not saying anything new here and any farmer worth his salt knows to “make hay when the sun shines.” Get your outside work done when conditions are favorable and save your inside work for when outside conditions are not.

What I am leading up to is that there are people whose works requires them to be outside, regardless of weather, and to those people I say “Thank you.”

I especially want to thank my farming brothers and sisters, who have winter chores, for their dedication taking good care of their livestock. Cattlemen and women come to mind easily.

I remember helping my dad bed cattle in January. He would throw the straw bales out on the barn floor and after cutting the wires (yes, wire tie bales) that held the bales together, he would spread the straw across the barn floor by kicking it.

It was my job to hold the cut wires so he could use both of his hands to cut another bale and spread it. I think he liked to save this job for Saturday when I was not in school because another pair of hands made the job go faster.

Holding those metal wires on a January day leads to numb fingers. Even a double layer of gloves did not help. My fingers stayed warmer a little longer, but once you are cold, you are cold.

My dad stayed warm because he was lifting, cutting and spreading the bales.

It’s been 50 years and I can still feel the numbness spreading across my fingers as I stood there and wished there was a way to speed this job up and get inside.

There were other winter chores such as keeping the water tank from freezing up and the gates from freezing down.

We put up with winter because for the rest of the year, taking care of the animals was pretty darn good.

So, my brothers and sisters in outdoor livestock production, fight the good fight and take good care of the animals like you have all the previous years.

You have my admiration and appreciation.

All of us, especially anyone who has to work outside everyday – cattle producers, grain haulers, railroad crews, garbage pickup men, meter readers, tow truck operators, postal deliverers, emergency and rescue personnel, and the workers who want to see this house project of mine finished – are waiting for spring weather.

That will be when we can take a breath of warm air, look around and say, “No coat, gloves, or extra layers of clothing today.

“Isn’t it nice outside? I believe winter is finally over.”

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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