The only Sailor Jerry, my favorite rum, available was in the gallon-sized bottle. We didn’t buy that one. We settled for Captain Morgan’s instead. We only wanted rum for some hot toddy drinks made from cinnamon tea and rum.
I worry, sometimes, about alcohol consumption. My husband describes himself as an alcoholic. He is a whiskey man. I drink wine, as a rule, but these were exigent circumstances.
The weather forecast was for extreme cold over the weekend, with a windchill of minus 15 Fahrenheit (-26 Celsius). Our house, which was built 100 years ago and moved to this property from another in the 1970s, is drafty. We were going to be cold and we knew it.
This morning, if you were to look closely at the windows in my kitchen you would see frost on the inside. On the pane and all around the window sill. My dish soap has turned to a thick, nearly frozen sludge. I could see my breath in my bedroom this morning despite the heater being on.
I should probably mention, we live in Texas. We aren’t from the East Coast of the United States or Canada or Siberia, where people are somewhat accustomed to these conditions. We do get extreme weather up here in the Panhandle. Extremely hot and extremely cold.
This is the first extreme winter I have been solely in charge of feeding the animals. For 9 wonderful years it was my husband who braved the winter weather to go feed. He would suit up in his insulated coveralls with a hood and face mask and ginormous gloves. He has insulated boots he calls Mickey Mouse boots because they are so big. At first light, he would feed and break the ice in the stock tank. Then he would come inside and get ready for his day job.
I have not missed those days until this morning.
This morning I got dressed in 123, 567, 432 layers and went out to feed. We keep the feed in the garage, protected on all sides from wind and weather. Underneath all the layers and double gloved I didn’t feel all that cold. Until that is, I opened the back garage door.
The wind blasted me in the face with freezing snow. I considered turning back and getting warm inside but thought of the poor freezing goats, chickens, and turkeys. If I didn’t like it, they must be hating it.
I braved forward into the snow and wind, through the orchard, and back to the milk barn. I sprinkled the chicken and turkey feed over the ground, unable to call the chickens because the wind was snatching away my voice. The air was so bracing I had to cough. It felt like my face fell right off my head. I knew it didn’t because I could feel clear snot running from my nose and starting to freeze.
I made it to the milk barn and quickly fed the goats. On my way back through to the orchard I saw the turkeys in the working shoot (an area we have blocked off to medicate and castrate the sheep and goats), gave them a wave, and shouted, “I guess you’ll figure it out!”
Once back inside my face and figers started burning. I stripped off my gloves and made a beeline for our mini Keurig. I filled a mug 3/4 with water and set it to brew. I felt extremely grateful for the rum and poured a slug, more like a glug, on top of my coffee.
As I sit here sipping my second cup of coffee rum, at not quite 8:00 o’clock in the morning, I can’t help but wonder if I shouldn’t have bought the gallon of Sailor Jerry after all.