NowEarly morning finds me with a cup of coffee and a pair of muck boots winding my way to the barn. Hungry livestock call to me from the stalls eager to get their breakfast; a rooster crows, the duck squawks as Doc lets me know I should hurry. The faint chill causes me to question the light jacket I chose; hurrying is the only solution. Hens scurry about my feet in attempts to be first in line; goats are getting a few good 'rams' in bickering over which feed trough is theirs. Such ruckus makes me smile- as if they don't know everyone gets enough.
Feed given, it's time to milk. There we sit, Zaida and I, as warm squirts of milk swish into the pan; steam rises faintly. Reaching to turn on the small heater I realize the kitty has decided to visit in hopes of some fresh cream. Hadassah waits at the door- her light bark lets me know she has arrived as well. You are never alone in the milking stall.
Everyone in their place I return to the house. Breakfast needs to be made before I head out for the morning- it's a day at school for me. Once last glance over my shoulder- the sun rises over the greenhouse where tiny seedlings grow, leaves drift across the walk.. a deep breath of fresh air as my day begins.
Winter on the prairie is quite hard for energetic prairie girls; so many hours in the big farmhouse get to you rather quickly. Cows, it seems, feel the same way. On the cold winter prairie, cows leave the safety of their warm barn to brave the whirling winds and crunchy snow. When they do, prairie farmers must brave the cold too.
Filled with hot coffee (to get all warmed up on the inside), Grandpa and Grandma and me bundle in layers with caps and scarves..gloves and two layers of socks. As we head out of the farmhouse toward the old blue truck we grab the big metal hooks hanging hanging just outside the door...tools of the winter prairie chore.
Grandma and I sit in the back while Grandpa drives us to the old barn. We work to load the bed full of big round hay bales for feeding the cattle in the bare field. A little tabby barn kitty catches my eye, but there is work to do today..she and I will have to play later.
Into the big empty fields the truck rumbles; cattle see us coming and start making their way toward us. I love the slow lumber and the mist of their breath as they move; low bawls drift across the wide open prairie carried on the wind.
Grandma uses the hay hooks to toss big hay bales over the side of the truck as we slowly crunch over the blanket of snow; grateful cattle snort and moan as the crunch. Standing at the back of the cab I tilt my head toward the sky...no warm sun greats me there..only the howling of a cold prairie wind.
The way back to the house Grandma and I crowd into the cab trying to warm a bit. There in the middle..in the old blue truck..I smile just a bit. We may be cold and a bit tired from the work, but a little escape from the confines of the farmhouse was found as we bundled up in our layers and accomplished a winter prairie chore.