My Butt is Frozen

Temperatures have not risen above freezing here in 12 days and are not projected above 30 degrees for two more days. That’s a whole lot of frozen! Each and every time we go out, we prepare to freeze our butts off. (Thankfully, none of us has actually lost a tushy to frost bite.)

When the weather conditions are this extreme, we get a lot of folks wondering if the horses and cows are ok. While they may be tired of the waters freezing up and eating dry hay, the animals are doing alright. Newborn calves make things a bit dicey, but we do our best to accommodate them and their mamas.

The thing that we always explain to folks is that Mother Nature (as crazy as she may be) prepares animals long before the weather changes to be ready for the extreme conditions. They are built with layers of fat under their thick winter coats and are conditioned naturally to adapt for snow, ice, and wind. In fact, they knowingly turn their hind ends into the wind to form a barrier giving them the perpetual frozen butt appearance.

The snow forms a blanket on their hair and actually insulates the animals. The covering stops wind and hardens into a pocket of warm air between the snow and animal’s coat. Yes, the animals will also hunker down in hay, straw, or on the backsides of drifts to block wind and insulate themselves with body heat, but for the most part they just keep eating and drinking to stay warm and happy.

When it comes to keeping our livestock fed and watered, farmers have to maintain equipment that is thawed and running. Trucks and tractors are particularly problematic when it comes to making things move because, once they are frozen, it’s tough to get them going. Of course, we plug in the engines that have electric warmers and put additives into the diesel tanks, but -10 degrees is sometimes too cold for the preventative practices and often we find ourselves with frozen butts waiting for a truck or tractor engine to turn over and start. We always find ways to get grain and hay to the animals and work tirelessly to ensure that water is available for drinking.

As we face this frozen phase in winter, please keep the farmers and utility workers in your thoughts and prayers. There are no virtual options for clearing roads, fixing powerlines, delivering goods, or providing food for our homes. Some folks are freezing their butts off to keep electric on, services available, and cars out of ditches. While we can’t give them all heated seats or hot tubs to soak at the end of the day, we can say prayers, send supportive messages, and offer them acts of kindness when the opportunity arises. Nothing warms the heart like a sincere “Thank you,” a hug, or a cup of coffee for a job well done. Be safe. Enjoy the beauty of the snow. And take time to appreciate everyone out there with frozen butts and jobs to do.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Atticus and my kids thought I was crazy when I wanted to take a picture of his butt. I guess Mother Nature and I have a lot in common; we are crazy and have lots to teach them.

The Sounds of Snow and Relieving Stress

The snow globe is filling.

I’m no Robert Frost, but I am an admirer of hearing “the only sound’s the sweep, of easy wind and downy flake.” I’m not an enthusiast of freezing precipitation and the havoc it wreaks on roadways, but I am a fan of the peaceful nature of falling snow and an even bigger admirer of Fridays. Fridays are the highlight of the week, but a Friday in a world that looks like a snow globe is a special treat.

The peaceful nature of today’s snowfall felt like a call to drop all the worries and stressors that have been weighing me down. The dance of flakes in a symphony of spiraling, soft landings seemed to lower my stress level and reminded me to just let go of the silly stuff that I can’t control. (Hopefully I don’t sound too much like the Frozen soundtrack.)

If you are not in a place where you can see or hear the snow, I hope you will enjoy this clip from my front porch.

The sights and sounds as the snow began to fall harder this morning

The Intentergy message for today is to let the falling snow be your call to peace. Even if for only a minute or two, taking in the frosty scene can help you forget what’s wrong with the world and the blanket of white can be a clean slate allowing you to find calm.

Slow down.

See the world for the beautiful and chaotic snow globe that it is.

Let the simple pleasure of flakes falling be the counterweight to your worries and find some balance between stress and serenity. While we are like Robert Frost in that there are probably miles and miles to go before we sleep, we can be grateful for the opportunity to watch these woods fill up with snow and empty our emotional overloads as we enjoy the sights and sounds of this wintery season.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. If there’s enough snow, you can throw some snowballs to get frustrations out as well. A very peaceful practice!

P.P.S. My allusions to Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” do not have to stop here. I am so glad we are past “The darkest evening of the year,” and the day light is blissfully growing longer.

Monday’s Message – December 21, 2020

Welcome to the official first day of winter and Christmas week! After a few weeks of not feeling well, I’m ready to get back in the real and proverbial saddle. I visited with Atticus this weekend and he was not at all happy that I’ve been missing in action. With the sun shining, I am certain to get in at least one little adventure with Atticus today.

My kids have mastered the Christmas countdown so the excitement continues to build in our home and I’m certain Jesus’ birthday bash is going to be a good one, even if we are just celebrating here at home. In my message video today, I talk about the grace and blessings that come from a simple holiday at home. Special thanks goes to my friend Molly for sending this friendly reminder meme about the first Christmas and reassuring us that simple is good, especially this time of year.

As always, I wish you a week of positivity, peace, and success. Keep Intentergy in your giving and receiving and that energy will carry you into the new year with an optimistic outlook and plenty of possibility.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Don’t forget your Old Year’s Resolutions!

P.P.S. If you are still looking for gift ideas for me, be sure to follow, share, or comment on any of my posts. Sharing is caring after all.

Harvesting Beliefs About Daylight Savings and Farmers: Cultivating Truths

Tonight, before going to bed, millions of Americans will turn their clocks back one hour to fall back from Daylight Saving Time (DST) to Standard Time.

Until recently, I believed Daylight Saving Time was created to benefit farmers. I also believed that DST began in October. I was wrong. It turns out I am not alone in my misconceptions.

I attempted an informal survey of local farmers and friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter. The survey included one question: “Yes or No – Do you believe daylight savings time is beneficial to farmers?”

In place of simple “Yes” or “No,” I received a myriad of responses about the value of farmers and the long hours they put in, commentary on challenges of farming while also working other jobs, and personal stories about impacts the time change made on farming experiences. (I was so very grateful for everyone’s responses but felt like I lit a fire in folks. That was not my intent. I just wanted to know how many believed the same thing I did.)

Most believe that Daylight Saving Time is intended to help farmers because they are the ones up before the sun and often working long into the night baling hay, caring for animals, and harvesting crops. My entire life I believed that I did not like Daylight Saving Time. The truth is that I do not like Standard Time and the practice of changing time.

The results of my informal (and completely non-political) survey reflected that most believed and felt the same.

Continue reading “Harvesting Beliefs About Daylight Savings and Farmers: Cultivating Truths”

Adventures with Atticus: A Horse of a Different Color

When Atticus came to us in July he was a light rusty color, but as winter approaches, he has become a horse of a different color. Not only has his winter coat added a deeper hue, but his mane has really grown out from its previous roaching, and Atticus looks like an equine rock star with his mohawk mane.

It seems the darker shade of his hair has also brought out a slightly more somber attitude in my sweet boy. After accompanying Hubby on a hunting trip in Colorado, Atticus came back without the willingness to ride. Of course, I was greatly concerned. Hubby told me that twice Atticus stopped when they were riding up the mountain and simply would not go. Hubby had to get off and lead him. (This defeated the purpose of taking a horse to the mountains and did not bode will with the hunting party.) When I attempted to ride him on the farm, Atticus calmly allowed me to groom and saddle him but would NOT budge once I was in the saddle.

Atticus checking Winn-Dixie out.

No amount of kissing, clicking, or kicking could get him to go. We even tried baiting him by separating him from his girlfriend Winn-Dixie. Atticus couldn’t have cared less that my daughter rode Winn-Dixie out of the corral and out of sight. I hopped off, did some ground work with him, jumped back on, and still no steps would he take. I led him to the top of the pasture meeting up with my patiently waiting daughter and Winn-Dixie. Back in the saddle I went, but nowhere was Atticus willing to walk. Eventually, we ponied him back to the corral with Winn-Dixie.

Continue reading “Adventures with Atticus: A Horse of a Different Color”

Frozen Dinners on the Farm

 

 

 

Adventures in farming don’t stop when winter arrives. If anything, they become more frequent. This past summer hubby decided we would give silage feeding a try and chopped a pit full of the ever-fermenting feed for our cattle. We wrapped the pit tight and waited for the weather to require us to serve up the corn stalks and leaves. Fortunately, the coldest cold took its time getting here and we did not have to start the daily task of carting the food to our cows until January.

I had not experienced the serving of silage and, based on all the research I saw hubby do, I was intrigued by this form of feeding. It was a process that I found both interesting and time-consuming (traits that often go with farming).

wp-1549159230085.jpgThank goodness for 4-wheel drive tractors and silage buggies to help us get the feed to our hungry herd. Silage has to be fed daily when the grass has stopped growing or is under a thick blanket of snow.

After 10+ inches fell, serving silage was a must. The following week brought sub-zero temps and those cows needed whatever food we could get to them. Continue reading “Frozen Dinners on the Farm”

Thank Goodness for First World Problems

 

In this weekend’s snowstorm, the power flickered, the internet and satellite tv went down, and the roads were too treacherous to go anywhere (most places were closed anyway). Based on many Facebook posts, Tweets, and my children’s behavior, one would believe the snowpolocypse had indeed arrived. Losing these luxuries was simple proof that we are blessed to have such silly first world problems.

I said a small prayer of thanks that these were our biggest problems. I added a prayer of petition for the safety of the farmers, road crews, and first responders still out working in the hazardous conditions. We are so lucky to have these people serving our communities.

I also reflected on a recent phone conversation with my friend Kary.

She has taken over the Random Acts of Kindness Club at Fatima High School and we were discussing some opportunities for community service projects. Kary was excited about the contacts I shared with her and the ideas we came up with, but she shared that there has been a bit of a problem with getting a great turnout from her group members. “They are all just so busy with sports, jobs, friends, and other things,” she said, “All these kids are good kids; they just have too much going on.” I agreed that it was a problem, but at least we could be grateful that it was our biggest problem for the club.

“It’s just another first world problem,” I told her and she laughed. Continue reading “Thank Goodness for First World Problems”

Spring Stresses Me Out

 

 

When I sat down to write, I knew I only had 15 minutes and about a thousand ideas for today’s post. What I didn’t know what would come of those limited minutes and limitless thoughts.

Here it is.

Spring stresses me out.

Each quiet moment I find tears hiding behind my eye lids. My mind is anything but silent. The days constantly hum with demands, to-do lists, and the tings and pings of technology. My muscles are exhausted. My feet do not want to move. My brain seems to be on whatever fertilizer the farmers are spreading on their fields.

signs of spring (1)While each season has its ebb and flow, I always feel like spring is the craziest. The sunshine and breezes entice me outside, but the labor of pulling weeds and putting away delinquent Christmas decorations remind me that caring for our home is a never-ending task.

As the baseball schedules are made, vacation plans penned, and wardrobes are rotated from sweatshirts to shorts, I can’t help but feel completely wiped out.

What is it about spring that is so exhausting?

Spring is a time for planting, growing, new beginnings, and some seriously serious stress. The school year’s end is looming and, while summer is so nice, the tests, papers, and traditions that simply MUST be upheld make the last months more demanding than most. Spring stresses me out. Continue reading “Spring Stresses Me Out”

What’s That in Your Persimmon?

Persimmons (2)

Wives’ tales are one of my favorite meteorological practices. I love the idea of watching for woolly worms’ colors and seeing how much rain falls in the first seven days of a year to predict the potential forecasts for the upcoming seasons. Persimmons also hold a tell tale story in their seeds.

Each fall my kids and I trek across our farm to the various persimmon trees that line our pastures. By this time of October they don’t have many leaves left and their peachy-colored fruits are the only sign of life on the trees. Taking turns, I lift my kiddos up to pick a few fruits from each tree. When we have had our fill of persimmon picking, we rush back to the house to split open their seeds.

Last fall’s findings were a little unclear. The shapes in the centers of the seeds weren’t very distinct. We found some knives with a few forkly shapes. As last winter was a mild one, with a few icy patches, those indecisive centers were a pretty accurate reflection of what the weather was to bring.

Persimmons (1)There were no ambiguous shapes this year. This season we found spoons in the center of every seed.

So what do the clear cut spoons mean for this year? Well, according the wives’ tale, we will be digging ourselves out of snow this winter. This prediction thrilled my children.

While the idea of piles of snow may not please you, I hope you will take time to enjoy activities like persimmon picking with your family. It is a great way to get outside, make memories, and use imagination. Put some energy this week into enjoying time together and maybe telling some wives’ tales of your own.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am not a licensed meteorologist, so if you do not like this forecast, blame it on the persimmons.

Start Holiday De-Stressing Now

when-the-tree-is-gone

Holiday StressSome evil person posted this Elf meme on their Facebook feed the other day and I wanted to unfriend them but they are related to me and I like them.

Unfriending people can add additional stress at the holidays, and this article is all about holiday de-stressing.

 

In keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas, I am proposing 12 Steps to De-stress for the Holidays:

Step 1: To begin take a deep cleansing breath.

Step 2: After you remember to start breathing again, I want you to say these words, “Happiness is the greatest gift I can give. A stressed out me does not make a holiday happy. I will not add unhappiness to my holidays.”

See. Don’t you feel better?

Step 3: Write down one gift you will give yourself. (This does not have to be a material thing.)

Step 4: Make a list of all the other people for whom you want and/or need to get gifts. (These do not have to be material things.)

Step 5: Make a calendar of all events you KNOW will absolutely be on your agenda.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 1 & 2.

Step 7: Establish a budget.

  • How much will you spend on each person?
  • How much do you plan to give to your church or charities?
  • How much should you plan to spend on extra party foods and drinks?
  • How much are your travel costs?

Add those costs up.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 1 & 2. Continue reading “Start Holiday De-Stressing Now”