Postcard from the Throne


This is the January page of my calendar. (You can still get the 2013 Chickens in the Road Calendar here, by the way.) It’s a cold truth. The rest of the year is easy compared to winter. Spring, summer, and fall, livestock is out to pasture, feeding on their own. Creeks provide water, or if not, the faucets certainly aren’t frozen. Easy! Oh, yes, there is still work to be done, but it’s not anything like winter where the water and the food is all provided by me, not to mention the sometimes painful cold in which it must be delivered. The delivery of water, in particular, could certainly be easier, and I’m working on that issue. This is my second winter here, and the first winter was very mild, leaving me somewhat immune to proper preparation in that area. While I prepared well over the past year for many other things, frozen water and faucets slipped past me since it hadn’t been a big problem last year.

It will be resolved, and soon, with larger containers, heaters, faucets reset, and more.

But for now, yesterday and today and tomorrow, I have to deal with what is. And is it really that terrible? Is the cold air not bracing, is the exercise not healthy? Is it gonna kill me? Or maybe just be good for me? I spent one day feeling rather frustrated about the problem then I re-organized my attitude.

I stepped outside yesterday morning into a cover of snow, light flurries still flying in the air. A snowflake landed on my dark sweater, a white crystal against the material, showing clearly it’s tiny symmetrical form. A snowflake really does look just like those paper cut-outs we made when we were kids. You forget that when you’re looking at them in mass weighing down tree limbs or blanketing the ground. Snow is beautiful.
I filled my buckets and piled on my coat, gloves, hat, and chore boots.
Without the necessity of carrying buckets of water from the house, I would spend as little time as possible outside in the freezing air. Eventually, I carried 12 buckets–as you can see, not big ones, because they are too heavy for me and even if I carted them, I still wouldn’t want to lift them. By the time I was finished, I was sweating beneath my layers. Sweating in freezing cold is somehow refreshing and energizing. IT IS. Really. And the time spent working is fun, not hard. Or at least it CAN be. If you want it to be! I talked to my sweet sugary Shortcake.
Played with the goats through the fence.
Mr. Pibb, he is such a lover with his ladies! Glory Bee was all up in my face, being her old Bad Baby self, licking and nuzzling on me.
The New Baby was playing house with the hay, trying to be like mommy who is so interested in this scratchy dry stuff that can’t possibly be as yummy as cream.
Back and forth, back and forth, with buckets I came.
They are all so curious, so glad to see me, wondering why I don’t spend more time with them in this strange season.
They don’t know why it’s so cold, why all the grass goes away, why the water is hard in their buckets. They just go on each day, accepting what is and what is available and looking to me to provide what is lacking.
It’s an assumption, an attitude of entitlement, an existence of complete faith. I back their faith with my federal reserve in the barn.
It’s still packed high and deep here.
As I take hay down, I build stair steps to get up to the highest bales as I work my way through the loft.
It’s my favorite place. I like to climb high in the hay. Here is my throne.
And it is good.

P.S. Wish you were here! I HAVE BUCKETS.


  1. brookdale says:

    This is a great post! I’ve been missing hearing about all the animals. How’s BP doing?
    Your barn must be too far away from the studio or house to run a long hose or two? Of course it would be a pain to have to roll it up every day so it wouldn’t freeze. Just thinking out loud.
    Enjoy your view from the throne! And to think you made it yourself! Yay!

  2. MousE says:

    Fabulous post, wonderful pictures, thank you!

    I’m sorry you are having water issues. but you sure take good pictures! :dancingmonster:

  3. Leck Kill Farm says:

    Re-organize my attitude, I am going to adopt that one!

    The animals look so nice and fluffy. Do your horses like to roll in the snow? My parent’s horses did.

  4. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, I do believe the girl sounds happy, happy, happy !!! And I am so glad for you.

    I need to adopt that slogan — “rearrange my attitude”. Would make things happier and easier I believe, not that they’re hard now. But improvement is always possible, huh?

    Hang in there. Spring’ll get here. In fact, looks like we aren’t going to have any winter at all. We’ve got pollen in the air already from the trees and that’s at least a month early.

  5. thimblevee says:

    I love this post and I love your attitude!!! Most of the time if we just suck it up and deal with it we do find that there is pleasure in the doing. And I know each and every furry or feathered friend appreciated your efforts. Your throne reminds me of my grandaddy’s barn loft – oh how I loved playing in the hay in his loft. Thank you for bringing to mind some of my favorite childhood memories….those weekends and summers spent on their farm were the BEST!! Have a blessed day.

  6. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    There was a hay barn fire NE of where we live, but not too far away. over $270k worth of hay went up as the barn burned down. Crews used front loaders to remove flaming bales of hay from the barn. To me, that’s pretty gutsy to have a flaming rectangle of hay so close to your face and body as you drive a front loader. I’m glad your, ‘babies’ have lots of yummy hay to eat in the cold weather.
    p.s. bought my first ever copy of Hobby Farms because of you and Bad Baby being part of this month’s issue.

  7. boulderneigh says:

    And I thought you were going to say that January’s image was taken out the window from your bathroom!

  8. contentedcat says:

    You and I are doing the same thing this winter…although with me being in Colorado it is a daily thing. All of the water carrying I just look at as exercise. The hoses are always frozen and I don’t even have a tap out by the duck or chicken yard. The ducks are the most difficult to keep in water because they “dabble” through it so fast. Ah well, they’ve laid eggs all winter so I can’t complain!

  9. marrypoppinz says:

    Farm Animal Happiness backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Gov–uh–Suzanne McMinn!

  10. Rainn says:

    Beautiful photos and great post Suzanne!! Thanks!!
    Rain 🙂 :snoopy:

  11. GrammieEarth says:

    Love, love, loves the pictures of your crew and your throne! I have missed the photos that allow me to live vicariously through you and your farm.
    Attitude readjustment! Me thinks I need some of that!

  12. gibbsjc says:

    One of my fond memories of living on a farm was one time when the water froze in a snow and ice storm. The neighbors had water so my friend who owned the farm and I took the old sled I had when I was a child, loaded two 20 gallon buckets onto it, filled them up at the neighbor’s and headed back down the road. Although the road seemed to be flat, it became apparent that there was a slight decline in it and soon we were slipping and sliding down the road trying to keep the sled from getting away from us. We made it back safe and sound with (most) of the water still in the buckets laughing all the way.

  13. AspenFlower says:

    What blessings! Thanks for sharing this post with us, I absolutely enjoyed reading it. :heart:

  14. myheathenheart says:

    Love your warm and humorous way with words – despite that kind of cold not being entirely funny!

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