by janinelidell

“The winter was not given to us for no purpose. We must thaw its cold with our genialness. We are tasked to find out and appropriate all the nutriment it yields. If it is a cold and hard season, its fruit, no doubt, is the more concentrated and nutty.      

-Henry David Thoreau

Now that I’ve spent a good 5 weeks on the farm, I think I’m starting to thaw out. Slowly.

We arrived in the beginning of March when most of the country was looking towards an upcoming spring season. Here in Washington County, Maine, the “down east” was blessed with a record amount of snow this winter. In fact, winter was still in very full effect when we arrived. And as the extreme weather continued, we were thrown right in to the regiment of farming chores and learned quickly to carry 5 gallon buckets of water and grain throughout the farm to feed the various animals. The goats, pigs and giant draft horse, Gambler still needed caring even though the temperatures kept dropping.

In the Edmunds area, we have a winter advisory for tonight. Snow, sleet and freezing rain.

But the barn animals have a small amount of outdoor space to enjoy all of a sudden.  You can tell they are more than sick of being cooped up for their kidding season by their roaring energy. As we thaw, I still reflect on the extremely cold when one middle of the night birth slipped past the humans and the kids didn’t survive the cold. The usual hair-drying and heat lamp lighting didn’t happen quickly enough for two out of three. Was this quick death from the cold a blessing for the young male goat? More on that question later.

All this said, I can see patches of beautiful brown dirt arising from the white floor. Treasures forgotten to be secured safely away before winter have started to show themselves. As there is melt, a full gas can appears next to pile of wood, a small red car is halfway uncovered. And I am constantly impressed by how the animals on the farm have held up and thrived in temperatures that I know I had never experienced before coming to Maine.

Here in downeast, garden seeds are being sorted through and birds and chipmunks make appearances for the first time which I know means something is changing. And still I realize after living here for over a month, I haven’t seen my home uncovered yet.

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