The thaw yesterday was incredible. Two feet of snow had vanished in the rain and wind by the time I got home from work. The geese were happy. They splashed in the puddles while I mucked the barn. The chickens strolled the grass looking with foolish hope for bugs. I kept a watchful eye for the coyote as I trundled the heavy wheelbarrow in and out.
I straightened sagging fences, pumped up the truck tires, emptied our trash and recyclables, and drove to school to pick up four bales of mulch hay. I restacked bales of shavings that were in danger of getting wet in flooding. I re-bedded the stalls, filled mangers and water buckets, and brought in the cattle and sheep.
By the time I threw open the door to the sheep addition to start mucking, it was dark and my energy was spent.
Some of the light bulbs have burned out. I gazed down the gloomy, 320 square-foot expanse of heavy work waiting for me and my pick-axe.
I have worked alone for so many years that I can drive myself through almost any tough chore. Moreover I knew the job would be much easier in the thaw. But in the time left, I could at most make one foot of progress. My bad knee was aching. I’d been up since 3:30 AM. It was time to start dinner.
I leaned the pick-axe against the wall and closed and bolted the door.
This morning it is snowing. Tonight it will be -20° F again.