I"m proud of my farm today. There was another nasty winter blast, but the temperature was almost 40 degrees warmer than it was yesterday (it was 20 degrees today) and it will be in the 40's on Thursday.
I'm proud of the donkeys, sweet and tough and uncomplaining creatures, they patiently endured weeks of sub-zero temperature without losing their grace and poise, soaking up the sun whenever they could find it.
I'm proud of the sheep who didn't seem to notice the cold at all. The animals teach me grace and acceptance.
I'm proud of my wife, who went out in the middle of the night and the very bitter cold and shoveled and hauled hay, usually by herself. I couldn't go. I'm proud of me too, for letting go of my male baggage and letting her do her work. She is my Willa Cather hero.
I'm proud of the dogs who hopped and danced on the freezing ground, tried to work when they could, and did their business against brutal cold and discomfort.
I'm proud of Gus, who disdained his booties and sweater and chased Fate all over the tundra. He's my guy. I'm proud of Fate, who didn't ever seem to noticenof the cold, and I'm proud of Red, who didn't play the hero and let me know when it was too cold for him.
I'm proud of the farmhouse whose plumbing was built intelligently in the center of the house and basement. It withstood the wind and the snow and the ice and the cold. Our pipes held steady in the worst cold in many years, if not ever.
I'm proud of our frost-free water line to the barn which did not freeze, saving us from haulingl water from the bathtub to the barn until April or May.
I'm grateful for the chickens for staying happily in their roost and basking in the warmth of our read heat bulb. Maybe they will lay eggs again soon.
I'm proud of our cars which started every day (even Maria's little Toilet Bowl) at the first turn of the key and drove us safely through cold and snow and ice. I did what I was not supposed to, I shoveled and fussed, but only for a little while and not all the time.
I'm proud of my heart for not complaining when I shoveled or scraped, and my angina, which chose to leave me in peace, even out in the cold.
I'm proud of our wood stoves for keeping the house warm, day or night. I'm proud of the new baseboard heat we put into the bedroom, which kept us comfortable through the awful cold.And the heated blanket I bought my Maria a year or so ago, how sweet to get into bed at night.
I'm proud of the loggers who got us such good firewood and the big guys in trucks who put the frost free line to the barn down deep. And Vince, the plow guy who kept our driveway open, even through some nasty storms.
We all did one another proud and good, we got through this challenging spell. We planned ahead, stayed calm, trusted our little farmhouse and our steady and hardy animals. We got through it well.
I hope your lives are emerging now and returning to normal. We have taken some deep breaths here in the past few weeks, it turned out fine. When all is said and done, I love winter, it challenges us and makes Spring quite wonderful.