This blog supports the 'American Barn Stories and Other Tales From the Heartlands' TV series which is seen on PBS stations across the country. Watch for it in your area and if you don't see it on your local PBS station schedule, CALL THEM AND ASK FOR IT -- they'll know what to do!
Monday, January 13, 2014
Baby it's COLD outside!!
The plunge below zero last Monday was brutal here in Wisconsin, like in so many other places around the country.
My main concern was for Art the Farmer, knowing he was huddled in his old farm house with not much heating capability as well as for the cows out in the barn.
Under usual conditions the animals provide enough warmth to keep the barn temps comfortable, but -15 adds another dimension to it all and creates a risk that has to be tempered as best as possible.
When I called Arthur last Monday night he was pretty much in melt-down mode from the additional challenges caused by the low temperatures and his resulting trying to deal with it all since early that morning.
You can hear that conversation by clicking HERE, it runs 16:48 and it's something to hear, check it out.
One week later Arthur is still alive and the cows are OK, too, but it was one of those moments on a farm where things can go real bad real quick and in the meantime, if you're the farmer, especially if you're an old timer all alone, you're suffering to make things as right as can be and it's beating you up in the meantime.
In his true fashion Arthur met the cold challenge and things continue on the farm but the clock ticks, and the impending forces of change are knocking on Arthur's door.
Over time we'll witness what happens with him and I will continue to bring his story to you.
Stay tuned, I guarantee it won't be boring.
More Follow Up
In the cold in the meantime, Arthur himself was sleeping on the cot seen below in the farmhouse in temps of 41 degrees, he talks about it in the phone call.
He has a 220-volt space heater that he relies on for warmth that sits on the kitchen floor and filters over into his sleeping space.
The space heater is just to the right, in the kitchen.
You can see the top of the space heater here in the lower right portion of the frame, it's brown.The table is full of some donated groceries I ran up to him to help him keep going last Winter. See them loaded up in Trusty Rusty below.
Here's Arthur's farmhouse on the right, built in 1855, along with the barn and other outbuildings that have come along since then. His front door is on the other side of the house while the staircase that you see leads to the rental apartment upstairs.
Wow -- what a story we have the honor, and sadness, of witnessing -- an old time farmer playing out his days.
And the fact that his pasture #6, seen above, connects to the local graveyard where his wife Carole rests and, in time, he will, too, just adds to it all.
Stay tuned for the story as it continues to happen.
Thanks for clicking in -- more later on it all --
PS: And as so many people enjoyed the Country Church Christmas post, here's the link to it to enjoy it again or pass along if you're so inclined -- click HERE for it.