There are days like today when working off the farm is extremely difficult. Even after a morning low temperature of twenty below zero, the sun came out and temperatures reached well into the teens this afternoon. While many may consider teens intolerable, after double digits below zero with double digit wind speeds to match over the weekend, high teens is WARM.
For the second year in a row a good snow pack and below normal temperatures have inhibited progress on outdoor projects. Looking out from my office window as I shuffled papers from in progress to completed and billed, I thought about the greenhouse and how today's sunshine and warm temperatures would allow for some melting around the base if only I were there to remove the top layers of snow. This warmer weather also might entice our pampered birds out from inside their coop if I could get out and clear some snow from on top of and inside their run.
I turned back to my billing for the items which we moved from their origin to their destination, then proceeded on to monthly statistics. When I broke for lunch and warmed up last night's supper of shepherd's pie - made with local potatoes and squash from last year's garden - my mind wandered to fences. Some to keep the chickens out of the garden and some to keep this spring's feeder pigs separate from the boar we bought last year. The plan is to raise one to trade for half a cow and keep the second for a breeding sow. While the walking would be a little difficult, the sun would be shining on the pig's pasture right about now and it is pretty well protected from the wind. Any leftovers from the fence material could go to the minor repairs needed on the smaller of the pig shelters.
Stepping outside for a few minutes of fresh air was probably the nail in the coffin of productivity today. It was all I could do not to keep walking towards my car - after all my keys and wallet were already in my pocket. Reluctantly I headed back inside and answered the phone and updated my databases and did a little more billing, all the while the mind was 23 miles northeast of my current physical location mentally working through all the projects which have only seen slow progress; all done in fifteen minute segments before my fingers froze or the skin on my face started turning white from the early stages of frost bite.
As I traveled those miles home with the sun dipping below the hills to my west, I thought about the future of our farm and whether or not my dream of being home when Little man gets off the school bus each day is financially possible. Being met at the door by a toddler with the story of four-wheeling down by the landing where my cousin is logging on the family's land recharges the desire and fuels the enthusiasm which started this humble homestead in the first place.
Sitting next to the tub while stories of swimming in the lake this summer spill forth from Little man's imagination, I am planning the framing for the revised greenhouse and perhaps scheduling a day off from off-farm employment to work on farm projects.