It doesn’t seem like it was very long ago that I was writing “It’s Fall When…” in my column. How can it be time for winter already?
It seems to me that November serves as a transition month as we slowly move from a fall to winter routine. Mother Nature has been teasing us with snow and cold, then warmer weather, and back to snow and cold again. Here at Pipi’s Pasture, I’ve been trying to get used to the season’s changes, though I must admit that I’ve spent some time musing about what it would be like to stay inside when it’s cold and watch the goings-on through the window.
The cows have been trying to get used to winter, too, judging from their grumpy facial expressions and the whining that goes on at morning feed time. Perhaps they remember warmer days, with mountain grass and lots of shade.
Anyway, here at Pipi’s Pasture we know winter’s on the way because:
■ The car has to be warmed up in the morning, the defroster started and, depending on the weather, the car has to be cleaned of snow and the windshield scraped.
■ The roads sometimes are slick, and there’s the chance that there might be blizzard conditions.
■ A temperature in the 40-degree range seems really warm.
■ Ice has to be cut and removed from stock water tanks, especially in November when tank heaters have not yet been installed.
■ Hoses used to fill stock winter tanks have to be drained each day.
■ Lots of time is spent putting on outer clothes and boots before going out to do early morning chores.
■ Wet gloves have been set out to dry.
■ We’ve had to start wearing snow boots again, and we’re reminded how much heavier they are compared to wearing tennis shoes and sandals.
■ The garden that produced tomatoes, corn, squash,and other vegetables is covered with snow.
■ Snow has to be cleaned off the hay bales.
■ The tunnels between bales in the haystack have become sleeping quarters for the cats.
■ Elk are starting to come down from the high country.
■ Cows are grumpy in the morning, missing sunny, dry days when they could nap and digest their breakfasts.
■ Coal and wood furnaces have to be cleaned and replenished with fuel.
■ Even the flowers in patio pots that have been protected from the freezing temperatures are finished for the season.
■ Now that daylight saving time has ended, it’s light enough to do chores by 6:30 a.m.
■ Now that daylight saving time has ended, chores have to be done earlier before it get dark.
■ Barn cats are slow coming to breakfast now, and the water in their pans is frozen so that hot water has to be put in them.
■ Amazingly, winter tires are on the car already.