In agriculture, no two days are the same. There is always an unexpected activity or complication that changes your plan. That could be a piece of equipment breaking down, a goat stuck in a fence, or a water line freezing.
The most consistent thing on an operation is inconsistency.
On the other hand, there are some moments that never fail to come to pass. Here are the 10 best moments on the farm every winter. When you notice these moments, take a minute to pause and enjoy them.
1. First slow-cooker meal
The slow cooker is the ultimate symbol of winter comfort food. Soups, casseroles, dump dinners, dips, and everything in between can be cooked to perfection in this miracle machine. Once it’s pulled out for the season, it stays out.
2. Putting on wool socks
Slipping on a pair of thick, cozy socks for the first time in the season is something to be remembered.
3. Babies being born
Whatever animals you have, the joy of a new lamb, kid, or calf is the same. Not only do you have another life in your care, you also see the hope of a new year forming. On the blustery cold days, nothing can lift your spirits more than a healthy baby nursing for the first time.
4. Bonding with family
Since 97 percent of farms in the United States are family-owned, it is safe to say that farmers are typically working with family. Nothing beats working on tractors with a grandpa or baking with grandma. No matter what the activity, if it’s being done with family, it’s worth taking the time to slow down and enjoy it.
5. Opening a fresh bale of hay
Cracking open a fresh bale and releasing that earthy smell is a moment to pause for. It’s reminiscent of when the days were warm and long.
6. Smell of the field before the first snow
Fresh air in the morning has a special smell, but dawn before a snow has a different scent. It smells cold and new.
7. Fireside planning
Getting prepared for the year ahead can be tedious and boring. While it has to be done, it is made better by a warm fire with a hot cup of coffee. Really, a fire makes any activity better — with the exception of spray painting.
8. Seeing the sunrise over the snow
The sunrise is always beautiful, but there is something special about a fresh dust of snow over round bales and fence posts. A new day is dawning and is full of possibilities. Take a moment and breathe it in.
9. Fun projects
Winter brings a bit more free time to many in the agricultural community (sorry livestock owners). What better time than now to work on a project that couldn’t get done over the other seasons? Start restoring the Allis-Chalmers Model B sitting in the shed to its original glory or get to knitting the blanket that was started a year ago.
10. Photos for the future
A fancy camera isn’t needed to take a great photo to show off to your friends. Use your cell phone to take some pictures of your land covered in snow, cattle breath clouds, or newborn lambs jumping around their mothers. Little memories can last a lifetime with the click of a button.
Jessy Woodworth is a senior at The Ohio State University studying agricultural communication and animal sciences.