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Having right attitude about winter weather

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ne thing about livestock, be it good or bad, is they make a person get outside even when one would rather not.

Today, there is a raging blizzard going on. Given a choice, I would rather rest by the fire and watch the snow blow by. Since I have assorted animals depending on me for their survival and entertainment, staying in is not an option.

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I put on about 40 pounds of clothing and headed into the teeth of the storm. The dogs were first to greet me. They stretched and yawned as though greeting me on a warm, summer morning. They promptly took off running like a couple of children, plowing the fresh drifts with their faces. I guess they have the right attitude. If there is nothing you can do to change the situation, you might as well enjoy it.

The horses stood at the north side of the barn, all facing south, doing their best to ignore the wind and snow. I personally would have thought it would be easier to ignore the cold winter winter blowing on one's rear end if they had gone inside the barn, but apparently, that is just my opinion. I gave them a bale of hay on the south side of the barn, out of the wind, but they chose to stay where they were. I was not about to argue logic with a bunch of horses.

On the way to the farm, the roads were icy from the wind polishing the gravel with a constant barrage of snow. At my slow speed, I noticed a covey of quail, huddled in a circle on the edge of some weeds by the road. My creeping by did not seem to bother them. I think they planned to sit tight until the storm blew over.

When I drove down the driveway on the farm toward the lake, I saw an eagle balancing precariously in a large oak tree. It was nice to see a mature bald eagle this late in the season, but it looked as though it was taking all his concentration to keep from being blown off his perch. He may have been hunting for fish on the open water of the spillway but he looked like it was a full-time job just hanging on.

Three deer were in the bale lot, bedded down beside a row of big round bales of hay. Until the tractor scared them off, I bet they thought they had it made with a wind break that was also a ready source of food. They gracefully jumped over the fence and stood off a short distance away, waiting for me to leave. As soon as I got over the hill, I bet they went back to their sheltered dining area.

The cows were happy to see me and enjoyed unrolling the bale of hay by hitting it with their heads whenever its down hill progress slowed. A few cows laid in the fresh hay while others milled about, out of the wind, picking a choice morsel here and there to eat. They seemed to be tolerating the miserable weather, even enjoying it.

I was happy to get back home as the roads were drifting shut. While I was gone, my wife had refilled the bird feeders. Dozens of birds of all sizes and colors were eating as though they might never have another chance.

We went inside, put another log on the fire and found we could enjoy the blizzard. The wildlife and domestic animals seemed to be tolerating the weather well. I found it is easy to have the right attitude about cold and blowing snow when a person has a thick pane of glass in front of them and a warm fire at their back.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.

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