Chills and Chores

The wind honked all night, roof vibrating, vents flapping, an omnipresent whistle caused by I don’t know what pitched up high, disappeared, came back and rose louder. It’s scary and it’s not, depending on what you’ll let your mind do with it. A force strong enough to shred the tarp off the tractor, rip your roof off, knock out windows?  Or a cranky lullaby to put you to sleep.  Better to be in bed at night than trying to feed the sheep or bring them water.  That will all wait for tomorrow.

Farm chores continue regardless.  Bitter cold was followed by a short snap of warm air and rain, enough disruption to freeze the hay shed’s sliding door in place.   I tried to chisel along the base first with a summer tool, an edge trimmer, then with a crow bar and hammer.  Nary a budge.  After work Todd went to Home Depot and bought a blow torch which came with a large blue canister of propane gas.  It sat the rest of the week on the counter like a menace. By Sunday morning I’d convinced myself that we were likely to set the contents of the shed on fire trying to melt the ice under the door. 

I continued to chisel while Todd clicked, ignited and torched the ice under the door. He stopped from time to time to swing the sledge hammer against one side of the door. Then the other. Barely a budge.  The torching resumed.   Small scraps of hay lit, burned, and died. Then the torch refused to stay lit.  Thank God. “Going to try hot water,” Todd said. And I thought, great, let’s add to the ice problem.   It took some time for him to fill a five gallon bucket with the hottest tap water from the garage sink so I continued to chisel with hammer and crow bar.  He returned and slowly poured the steaming water along the trough under the shed door.  In less than a minute, the door was free. “We won’t close that again,” he said.  With hay bale twine we tied up a panel across the door opening so the sheep wouldn’t splurge on the stored hay.  At some point Todd had said we could use the torch for crème brule.  Cue the nightmares of the kitchen on fire.

I’ve lost count of the storms that have come through, I just know one is due this week starting with light snow. This one will also be followed by rain.  Bring on the ice.

From forty 500 pound round bales in November to now seven. Shearing is in two weeks which means lambing is just a month away.  I am leaving in a few hours for a never before kind of vacation with my sister.  We’re headed to St. Petersburg, Russia and I’ll be back in a week, but my thoughts will be with Todd, the farm and the sheep.  




  1. Jean Kagan on March 9, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    I love your storytelling!

  2. cheri allen on March 9, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Oh Peg: This winter is a challenge all over the country! Avalanches here are closing the roads! Safe travels to St. Petersburg and enjoy some amazing art.

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