Minnesota Farmer

We raise them tough up here … or not

The temperature was eleven below as the school day started this morning and some high school boys were coming to school in shorts and no socks, they did have a long sleeve sweatshirt on.  I know of several men who will not wear long pants unless they have to, no matter what the weather.  Today’s high will be 18 degrees, and for some, coats are optional in Minnesota.  Minnesotans have been known to leave home for a three hour or longer drive in the winter and not even bring a coat or boots.  Yes, we raise them tough here … or do we?

I also see cars warming up outside houses for ten minutes so that the owner can make a five minute drive to work.  Heated garages are a requirement for any new house built today, and apartment buildings with underground heated garages are common.  Most folks here in the north are able to go from heated house, to heated car, to heated business and rarely do they experience the weather.  Are we tough in Minnesota, or have todays modern conveniences made life so easy for us that we do not have to dress for the weather.

We take pride in Minnesota in our good roads.  Our winter road crews are second to none when it comes to keeping roads open in nasty weather, but this has lead to the illusion that you can drive anywhere at any time.  I grew up on the prairie, not in town, and I know better.

The last few winters have taken a toll on snow removal equipment on the farm.  There are days you seem to be doing nothing else other than moving snow, and if you have livestock it can be worse.  The animals have to be cared for.  Free range is not possible when the wind blows snow into the yards every day, our animals need shelter.  Larger cattle and horses can survive cold up to a point, but pigs and poultry need to be indoors.  Sheep, goats, dogs and cats will make it in the cold, but will benefit from a place out of the wind and food and water every day.

The real tough one here in Minnesota is the livestock farmer, always making sure that his animals are cared for.  Newborn calves in the shower stall, baby pigs warming on the oven door, these are what the livestock man does to keep his animals alive.  Waterers freeze and he has to fix them despite the temperature.  Feed must be delivered and if the tractor does not start, or something breaks, it can mean many hours of unexpected labor even if there were family plans.  Yes, the tough one here in Minnesota is not the kid who comes to school in shorts in below zero weather, no, it’s the guy bundled up until only his eyes show, out feeding his animals.  His sacrifice for the animals he raises is a true sign of being tough.



2 Comments so far
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I am grateful to live in a warmer place, but I am also grateful for the farmer who works so hard. 🙂

Comment by booktopiareviews

Well said. I, too, grew up on the prairie and not in town and I know better. Although my three kids grew up in town, they know to carry a shovel and sleeping bag in the car. Cap and mittens/gloves are also always a “must” to have along.

As for those high schoolers wearing shorts, no socks and no coats, crazy, I say, just crazy.

Comment by Minnesota Prairie Roots

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