While North America is suffering from the terror of an unbelievably cold Winter, us Brits with our fetish for the weather are in the grips of a much milder – yet just as terrifying for us weaklings – bout of snow. Yesterday it was -8C here in the Derbyshire Dales. This is practically apocalyptic for us. Whilst walking the dog, my hair actually froze. Woah.
As I live in a rather remote little hamlet high up in the hills, we were pretty much cut off for several days. Only the odd pickup truck managed to brave it outside while us mere two wheel drive car owners were trapped at home.
Hence I had 3 days off work. Every exit of the village is up or down extremely steep, narrow, bendy roads which never see the gritter or snow plough. There was no way I was getting out in my otherwise-wonderous Volvo.
Fortunately for me, I’m super organised so there was no risk of me running out of coffee or wine (two of life’s essentials for the modern day millennial. Screw your avocados and quinoa, the world runs on coffee and is recharged by wine) and my other half also has a family farm, so I wasn’t too bored out of my wits.
Actually there’s much more work to do on a farm when it gets really cold and snowy.
We have water pipes running to many different troughs in separate pens, in three cattle sheds. This water comes from a natural spring, collection tanks on top of farm buildings and with a back up on the mains water.
These pipes like to freeze.
Then 113 cows and 40 hens have no bloody water.
Defrosting endless pipes and troughs takes forever. And you have to do it every day. Sometimes twice a day. Nightmare.
Also our 12 year old tractor enjoys breaking down, particularly when it snows. It’s that old and knackered it has no dashboard and we have to roll start in down a hill.
This also likes to fail.
Also with the wet snowy weather, all the cows straw bedding and hay/silage/corn food inevitably gets soggy, heavy, wasted and requires removing and disposing of.
This all adds extra work.
So while I’ve had three days off work, I’ve done a shitload of farm work instead.
I’m not complaining – I find there’s nothing more rewarding then doing hard physical graft in return for seeing your animals happy, clean and well fed. I can go to bed at night feeling fulfilled, content, and nicely tired.
So what else have I managed to fit in with three days trapped at home?
I’ve taken the dog on many frollicks through the snow, I’ve done lots of good hearty vegan cooking and filled the freezer (farmers can enjoy vegan food too) I’ve watched the confession tapes of Ted Bundy (did you know the dude escaped from prison twice?!) and attempted a 1000 piece jigsaw of an autumnal cottage.
The jigsaw has defeated me and has been relegated in the charity shop pile for some fucker else to try.
Back to the grindstone now… until next time!
One of the “roads” out of town. Obviously the flattest part.