Lessons from a Cold Snap

We’re in it. Right in the heart of another cold snap. When I rolled my car window down to grab my drive thru fancy coffee this morning, the air took my breath away. It is the “even though I know how cold it is, I’m still shocked by it” kind of cold. We’ll see a dozen photos of our friends’ car thermostats today. We’ll see a dozen more memes about “why do I live where the air hurts my face?” But what I doubt you’ll see much of is posts from livestock producers complaining about the weather.

I try not to complain about the weather (trust me, I’m not perfect at it). For one, my personality type hates this type of small talk. But mainly, I know my day is merely inconvenienced by the weather. I spend most of my days in my climate controlled office, house or car. My family – and others like them – don’t have that luxury.

Winter Reality

The reality of weather is far different for livestock producers. All night long, through below zero temps, my sister and brother have been checking on their ewes. They both have small flocks of gals that make great 4-H projects for my nieces and nephews and it is lambing season.

Making sure the ewes that are close to lambing are tucked inside during a cold snap is crucial. Lambs are born wet and if born outside right now, the end result is typically catastrophic. Or, it means they come inside the house for some TLC! This means my siblings are checking due dates and looking for changes in their appearance and behavior. These changes can be as slight as the way their “baa” sounds! And it doesn’t matter if it’s 15 or -15, they are making the trek to the barn every few hours, all night long. 


And the work doesn’t stop there! Once they are back inside, projects like sewing blankets for lambs or ear warmers for baby calves take over. Baby lambs need the extra warmth and ear warmers prevent frost bite from harming young calves.


Practice Gratitude

My point is not to shame folks for hating this cold snap – it isn’t fun for anyone! Instead, I hope you take a moment to see the things we should be grateful for – cozy homes, warm meals and ag producers who care deeply for their animals. When the winter memes start flying, they hunker down and get to work. And without their work, I wouldn’t have a cozy wool sweater or soul-warming soup to take bring me comfort.