After several mild winters we have been welcomed back to reality by a month of snow and near zero temperatures. January started with one of the coldest stretches I can remember as we rarely got above single digits while spending a lot of time at or below zero. The creek froze all the way through, so I was out chopping ice in the water tank twice a day to keep the cattle hydrated. Luckily we have lots of hay to feed, and the cold doesn't bother our Highlands much with their massive shaggy coats.
We've been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter aloud to the children before bed. It helps put our winter in perspective as we sip our hot coffee under a pile of blankets on the couch, thankful for the warmth of our home. This bit seemed especially beautiful.
“It can't beat us!" Pa said.
"Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked.
"No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up."
Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.”