Thawing & Freezing – Cunningham’s CornerFree Access

Thawing & Freezing

Years ago, many years ago now, on the farm, I spent most Saturdays doing farm work with my father. This was regardless of the season. The animals still needed to be fed in the wintertime, and they needed shelter, fresh bedding and fresh water, perhaps especially so at 10 degrees below. We’d be out all day. All. Day.

At the end of one Saturday, he was using a tractor with a loader bucket and hydraulic clamp to drop a huge round bale into a metal feeder. Give or take, the bale was probably a thousand pounds. I was to twist the nut off the bolt that held the feeder together and open it several feet, so the feeder wouldn’t get bent when the huge bale dropped in. Sometimes I dropped the nut, or the bolt, and had to retrieve it. It was somewhere between zero and 10 degrees. And I’m cold, discontented, and fighting with a small bolt. It’s 4 or 5 o’clock, and nearly dark. We’re in the midst of a hundred steers, and they’re a little bothered too, probably because they couldn’t get to the hay. My father, a master of both laconic understatement and the obvious, said, “You getting cold?”

The clean-up began on Friday morning when the sounds of snow blowers were heard countywide. But cold temps stuck around through Saturday night. Photo by Eric Gross

The clean-up began on Friday morning when the sounds of snow blowers were heard countywide. But cold temps stuck around through Saturday night. Photo by Eric Gross

I looked up. Paused. “I’m not getting any warmer.”

We called it a day shortly after that and went inside.

A postscript: A year later, we’d given up on disassembling and assembling the feeder for the insertion of the round bales. Dad dropped the bales in, and that was that. Just dropped them in.

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Last week’s weather, particularly Friday and Saturday evenings, was reminiscent of those days. We should be grateful to those who keep the roads plowed, the grocery stores open, and the populace safe in what are surely arduous conditions.

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A note on PDFs: Occasionally people send news releases as PDFs, rather than plain text or as a Word document. I wish you wouldn’t. It’s sometimes difficult to extract the text, making it difficult to use the release. We run a pretty tight ship these days; I don’t have a roomful of people waiting to retype things. I welcome news releases and highquality photos from schools, churches or the public in general. But stick to plain text or Word.

A note on smartphone photos: High-quality phone photos, sharp ones, in focus, usually are fine for newspaper reproduction. But send them to me at “original size,” which will ensure optimal quality. Many people compress the photos (sometimes unwittingly) to save space.

Until next week.

Douglas Cunningham is editor and publisher of both the Courier and its sister paper the PCNR, in Cold Spring. Reach him at 845- 265-2468, or by email at editor@pcnr.com. Letters to the editor, on this or other topics, are welcome. Please send by email as plain text or a Word document by 9 am Monday.

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