We find ourselves, once again, in winter's icy grip. There is no cute little name for this. We have the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer; the dog days of summer; and cool crisp fall air but all January can give us is someone quietly singing to themselves, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it." … That's about all that gets out of their mouths before someone yells, "Hey! Why don't you shut your pie hole?" Yeah, nerves get on edge this time of year.
It seems that what should take 30 minutes to accomplish in July or August could possibly take at least all day or maybe two days this time of year. One mental error can slow you down significantly. Forgetting to plug in the block heater on a loader tractor, for instance, can cost hours of delay. A tripped breaker can have you off chasing electrical problems and frozen cattle waterers or bring you to the realization that you now have two tractors that won't even consider starting until after lunch. Just after lunch is the time you're supposed to be at the pesticide training session that won't be offered again until Monday, 200 miles from here.
The cold tends to freeze things in place, like the time I was hauling a wooden feed bunk with the loader and had to tell my dad that "we'll need to go back next spring and get the legs for this bunk, they're still out in the feedlot."
Aging has a huge effect on farmers and the winter cold. I've found that even at the age of 60, things I used to take for granted have to be planned for because of poorer blood circulation. Extra layers of clothing and mittens and boots and facemasks and stocking caps are necessary, and oh yeah, a stepladder to help you get into the cab of your pickup.
My buddy Paul related to me that a phone call to friends on a farm in North Dakota had revealed that we really don't know what bad weather is. They had had three feet of snow and high winds for days. The farmer said it was a sad situation and that his wife had just spent the entire day staring through the kitchen window. He said that at about sundown he began to feel sorry for her and let her in. I'm very aware that entertainment is hard to come by out here on the farm but that's something I'm probably not going to try. Marilyn didn't think it was a funny story, I didn't either and quit laughing immediately.
I do look forward to late December and January because of all of the college bowl games and the NFL playoff schedule. I got on the Internet and found a schedule of all of the games as well as a listing of the central time zone start times and what channel they would be on. I carefully set each one to record and told my wife I was set to finally "be a man." I'd be able to watch each game without interruption. My wife said, "Yeah, you'll get four hours of uninterrupted sleep during each game, that should be great." For some reason Jackie Gleason came to mind, "One of these days, to the moon Alice."
Through the entire football schedule I have also come to realize that I have marketable skills. The folks in Las Vegas will be praising me for my abilities some day. What are the chances that out of seemingly 50 or 60 games, I would not be rooting for one winner.
I will now make a prediction based on my vast knowledge of pro football. (ahem) Now keep in mind that I'm writing this before the last two playoff games so I've no idea who the teams are that will be playing in the Super Bowl. I'm pulling for Green Bay to win the Super Bowl. That information, knowing that I'm rooting for the Packers, can make you more money than knowing when the price of corn is going to peak. Place your bets.
Now I have to go unlock the door for my wife.