Frozen Thoughts

“Can’t feel fingers.”

This persistent, painful realization plays on repeat in my brain as I move slowly through the snow.

My core is toasty warm, in almost insulting contrast to my frozen extremities.

Perhaps, my fingers are succumbing to the cold water seeping through my gloves as I dump yet another small bucket of nearly frozen water from the next calf hutch?

Or perhaps, it’s the ice forming over my gloves from the aforementioned water?

Or perhaps, it’s simply because it was 60 degrees last weekend, and today I’m wearing 10 pounds of clothes and in denial about the single-digit temp?

No matter, because I still can’t feel my fingers.


These hurt too. But my new $107-on-special winter boots aren’t to blame.

I will admit my toes are just a tad cold, but there is only one toe I’m really stewing about.

It’s my baby toe, left foot, and I’m not sure if it hurts more from being inside my running shoe one too many miles or from being stomped on by a nervous heifer.

Either way, I just hope I don’t loose the toenail.



In the midst of my trek to collect empty bottles and dump out water pails, I look up and realize the clear, crisp beauty of the night. It’s still and it’s cold and it’s clear enough to see millions of stars.

I can also see my breath coming in great clouds, and all the little calves are blowing their own steam puffs through each nostril. I’m thankful for this breath that fills us all with life. In the midst of what now feels like a frozen world, there is still so much life.

And, I know I have much to be thankful for. Not the least of which is a warm home to go home too, where I can thaw my cold limbs and nurse my angry toe.

This trek also brought a startling thought to my mind.

Nights like this, where I battle cold or pain or sleepiness for hours, are just part of my life. At the farm, when there’s a job to be done we must do it.

Sometimes I take breaks when things get hard, but usually I know it’s best just to push through. I’ll get done faster and the animals will have what they need sooner. Then I can warm-up or rest or whatever is necessary.

Perhaps, this is why when I ran my first marathon, I didn’t think it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. I didn’t think it was the ultimate test of my endurance.

Perhaps, just maybe, my life on the farm has already tested me to the limit. It’s on cold, dark nights when yet another newborn calf needs care and all I want to do is quit. But I don’t.

It’s on days when we stare at numbers and talk about dollars and wonder why farming can be such a financial headache.

And it’s on lonely days when the rain falls and the wind howls, and we’ve got to keep our farm running as normal.

I’m not saying running isn’t hard, and I’m not saying 26.2 miles isn’t a crazy long way.

What I will say is many thoughts pop in my brain as I do nightly chores. And now, I think I may have solved my personal mystery of why the marathon didn’t beat me down quite as I expected.

Maybe this whole farm life is making me stronger than I realize. Maybe (or surely) God’s hand in where I’m at right now is perfect and right, in spite of my own questions and doubts.

I’ve tried to capture the night and the night’s thoughts in words, so I’ll show the day in photos…





About Lisa

Hi, I'm Lisa. Dairy farmer's wife and Minnesotan to the core, I write about rural farm life, running down country roads, and the food, faith, and family that bind everything together. Follow along on my journey.
This entry was posted in Agriculture ( in general), Baby Calf Care, Christian Reflections, Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Frozen Thoughts

  1. Runblondie26 says:

    Holy snow! Oh my goodness we’re still in t-shirts around here. (I like snow and cold weather, so actually it looks quite nice 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your toe. Funny how one little appendage can cause so much misery.

  2. Heidi Nicole says:

    Love this post! I remember days like this! And every season has its own issues…mud, heat, cold, rain, storms…

    Needless to say I am really appreciating the awesome weather CO has been throwing at us. Apparently 60* temps in November is normal! *love*

  3. jena says:

    aww, that poor little baby with that icy snow on his face =( I can’t wait until I can see my breath because it’s cold. I don’t want it to snow, I’m just tired of sweating so much.

    I really like this post – i like the way it’s written. very nice =)

  4. Dana says:

    Even though I’m not a huge fan of snow, something about this post wanted me to whisk myself to that exact moment where you were finishing your chores and looked up to see a million stars. We don’t get that around these parts 😦
    I find that snow covered land at night is just so incredibly peaceful and serene…my tiny relation to that would be the ball field behind our house that we go up to after a fresh snow. I would take all the frozen appendages that come with being on the snow covered farm for just one night…just looks and sounds so amazing.

  5. Great post. I remember nights like that and wouldn’t be a fan of being out in them either. But glad that you can stop and be thankful and persevere in the midst of them.

    And I love that picture of the calf covered in frost – melts my heart.

  6. Bree says:

    I can’t believe how much more snow you guys got then us. I am wondering if it will be there still when I go home on Wednesday.

    Love the post! Great descriptions. I can feel the cold toes and hands just reading it.

  7. Brit says:

    Great post! You have me longing for winter weather and those clear, crisp nights.

  8. Jess says:

    You must live on a different planet than I do. 😉

    We STILL have not had more than a temporary dusting of snow! (knock knock knock on wood) I know it’s coming. But I’m not ready. Last winter was so long and awful.

    And yet I must admit, this is a BEAUTIFUL post.

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