I’ve always hated winter.

Mcbride matti
Editor / Progressive Dairy

I think it’s a rite of passage as a farm kid, and naturally so. It is bred into us to despise the time of year when you seem to be doing chores in the dark – regardless of what time you start. It seems that the act of getting dressed to do the dang thing takes an extra 30 minutes. Thermals, a few pairs of socks, sweaters, overalls, coat, gloves, hat and then somehow you’re supposed to bend over all of that to throw your boots on? (Which, regardless of the brand – and I’ve tried 'em all – seem to turn into an icebox after 30 minutes.)

And once you get dressed and out the back door, it is likely you’re going to be shoveling some snow to make your way to the truck. It takes a few minutes to track down the shovel and another few to make a path wide enough for you to walk through. By the time you're done, you're probably sweating and questioning your wardrobe choice for the day. Then it’s a gamble to see if the old farm truck will crank in sub-zero temperatures. You turn the key and wait for the engine to turn over, praying that it will start and save you the task of jump-starting the old Dodge Dakota.

Once you shovel (or shove) your way through the barn door to grab the milk buckets, you triple-check the lids to make sure you’re not about to dump milk all over your warm, dry heap of outerwear as you lift them into the back of the truck. But somehow – even when you’ve checked four times – you manage to spill enough milk on yourself to say a few words that would make a sailor blush. You jump – or rather roll – into the front seat only to find you’ve forgotten to scrape off the inch of ice that accumulated on the windshield last night. It takes at least five minutes to locate the ice scraper – which is snapped in half because it’s really easy to sit on one of those when you’re bundled up – and another five minutes to carve a hole big enough to see out of but probably still illegal to drive with.

Finally, you climb back in the truck and throw it in reverse. In the likely event it’s still dark outside, you’re hoping the candlesticks that serve as headlights will guide you enough to stay on the road full of snow drifts. You’re probably driving a little faster than you should to bust through the drifts and cussing at the wind, like that will do something about the situation. At long last, you pull into the driveway of the heifer farm. Through a few more snow drifts and around the corner, you throw the old truck into park and sigh. Now you’re ready to start the next chore: feeding calves.


When you're finished with the morning chores and you head to the barn office for a warm mug of coffee, be sure to flip through a few pages of Progressive Dairy's first issue of 2024 as your toes thaw. Read long enough and you forget how miserable it is outside … at least for a few minutes. Happy New Year!