We’ve had lots of folk ask about how our animals are doing in the recent severe cold spells. I’m glad they’re concerned about the critters and glad they asked about their care rather that make assumptions about neglect or hardship. But, seldom has anyone asked us- the farmers- how we’re doing in the bitter cold.
Coaxing cold engines to life, hauling buckets warm water to frozen water tubs, and braving that first assault of cold air in the lungs when you first step outside in the morning are “all in a day’s work” for a farmers. Still, it doesn’t mean we enjoy doing it for days on end.
However, farmers are by nature optimists. In the mist of the cold and dark or winter, they can glimpse future days of warm sunshine, soaking rains, and garden rows in blossom. I think that’s why all the seed catalogs arrive in December and January. Growers ponder the harvest before it’s even planted. Livestock producers envision offspring from planned matings, and horticulturist trim trees to facilitate future optimum fruiting.
Farmers don’t use a Magic 8 Ball to predict the future but instead, rely on experience, the advice of others, and on occasion, good luck. Those optimistic visions are what helps carry them to the day when new life scrambles up on wobbly legs or soldier-straight rows of corn plants pop up out of the seed beds over acres and acres.
When you farm, you have to learn to see the future. Farming predictions and promises don’t always come true. But, they’re certainly more reliable than relying on a weather forecast from a ground hog in February.