The season of easy living officially checked out yesterday. The high temperature peaked at 21 degrees, just moments after the clock declared a new day, then fell steadily throughout the remainder of Thanksgiving. It didn't fall far, though, the low was 14.
As the sun began to illuminate the heavens, dawn's early light revealed a gray-toned world and lightly falling snow. Low-hanging overnight clouds had wept a constant light mist of super cooled water droplets, and now trees and grasses and signs and lines and everything else was crusted with a light rime.
This was the first real cold and snow of the season, and the first one is always a pain. Everything is harder in the cold and snow. In the season of easy living the thought is the action. It takes, comparatively, nothing to get up, get dressed and get to work. In winter, though, it takes, thought, attention and energy just to get dressed.
First come the heavy socks, then the long-handled winter drawers in their modern Under Armour iteration. Next come wick-lined winter cargo pants and a tee shirt. Danner Pronghorn insulated boots go on. The Shield gets inspected and cycled, then snaps into the N8-squared IWB holster. Next comes the heavy overshirt, followed by a hooded sweatshirt, followed by my working vest. After checking the pockets for spare mags, flashlight, camera, spare batteries, syringes, needles and antibiotic, cell phone, nippers and spare gloves, I can finally waddle out the door and get to work.
It's a far cry from lightly skipping out of bed and immediately charging into the day.
The cold and snow also means a more detailed vehicle pre-flight. In the summer I scarcely check the oil, but in the cold and snow I check everything. In summer a broken down pickup can mean a multi-mile lark of a pleasant hike, in winter it can mean misery and mortality.
So on the first day of the season of not so easy living, I feel like I'm already tired when I get to work.
It's more of a mind thing than anything else. Getting dressed and checking the pickup isn't really taxing, but it does add steps, and it's a change in routine, so I bitch and moan and whine a bit. Within a few days I've adjusted, the whining wanes, and I give it no more thought.
Once I got out there, the weather was amazingly beautiful. Cold and snow and chopping ice is something other than fun, but there's just something magnificent and delightful about close horizons, softly falling snow, and well conditioned cattle doing what cattle do.
Thursday was, of course, Thanksgiving, so before I could even venture out to do food-on-the-table work, I had to do some food-on-the-table work. If you get my drift.
The plan was for a quiet and subdued Thanksgiving meal. Brothers and Sister and their families would not be present for the festivities, having other plans in other parts of the state. One brother and family would make an overnight stop at the ranch on Wednesday, then head for the wilds of Colorado's Redneck Riviera to dine with inlaws.
The official EJE Thanksgiving Dinner would have, then, only three at the table, Mom, Dad, and I.
Somehow I'd managed to convince Mom to let me take care of the meal, so at the crack of 4 a.m. I was up and preparing sage dressing for the crock pot.
|Aromatics bubbling in butter|
Which was nice, because 10 at the Thanksgiving table is much more better than three at the table. It just is.
|Bird on the platter|
|Spinach artichoke casserole|
There were more dishes, of course, which I failed to photograph. Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, bread and rolls, relish tray, candied yams, beverages, pies, etc. It was quite a spread, and turned out to be almost not quite enough!
I don't care who ya are, that's funny right there. I'm glad no one was videotaping me!
And now it's Friday morning. Another dawn, another day to be thankful for.
It's Black Friday, as the media call it, screeching in indignation and forgetting completely to be thankful for anything, looking down on people who they believe in their tiny little media hearts to be less than human, the real Americans who live real lives and suit up and show up each and every day.
Not that I feel strongly about the self-serving, small-minded, lemming media, you understand.
They do provide another reason to be thankful, though. In addition to weather and food and family and football and fun, I'm thankful to be an American, thankful that I'll never be one of those cold and timid souls.
And off to tilt at frozen stock tanks with my trusty war ax.
It was about a draw...
Between me and the frozen water that is. Ran over something and had a blowout, which required swapping the spare on of course.
At any rate, a few more pics. Beautiful morning, cold and still. Beautiful test of skills and competence with the blowout. We expect to do well on these tests.
|Recently harvested corn, stalks trapping snow for next year|
|Golden late November morning sunshine|
|Monk soaking up all the morning sun he can find|
|Sun behind snow-filled clouds|
|And more rime ice|
|Cows never graze on slopes. Never! Just ask the NRCS experten.|
|All better. Kinda.|
|More wabbit twacks across the glittering new snow|
|There he is|