In the blackness of the early hours of a frigid January day, I tred down the snow-covered hill to the milkhouse and the barn. My rubber snow boots crunch through the icy blanket. Though my nose gets bit by Jack Frost, I am feeling toasty in my down-filled chore jacket. My ears carefully covered by my blaze-orange snow cap hardly sense the cold.
As I reach the bottom of the hill, I cast my eyes up onto the disk on the nearby calf shed wall. The circular dial tells me that it is ten degrees below zero.
Chores stretch out from November till March during our calving season. I bottle-feed and pail-feed the calves. I see to it that they have satisfying amounts of hay. Calves need to be fed twice daily, every day. I am watchful to see that the calves are eating well and not showing signs of illness.
This new responsibility and schedule takes some time in which to adjust. I have been doing these chores since late November. Knowing that I have to do this morning and evening every day for 5 whole months straight can be overwhelming. After all, March is still 60 and more days away. So, I reject pondering that thought and do the chores one day at a time.
Being responsible for doing daily chores for these calves has given me a greater respect for my husband who has carried the responsibility for his herd these past thirty-some years.