I was up at 3:30 this morning, shepherding Beatrice outside for a quick pee, and all I could think was, “My GOSH is it cold out!” And it was. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, that is quite a chilly morning for Austin, Texas, even in February. We seldom dip below freezing, and when the mercury does, we tend to make a stink about it.

In hindsight, that probably wasn’t my best move considering that although I physically reside in Austin, every other part of me is up in Montana. When I called up Nicky at the vet clinic on my way home this evening to see how the day had gone, I committed a verbal faux pas. Before I got much past a greeting, I slipped up and remarked how bloody cold out it was, that it was only 34 degrees (and I had to say Fahrenheit, because in my head I still think Nicky thinks in Celsius) in Austin. “Don’t you dare complain about the cold,” she snorted and laughed, “because it is minus 22 here and we’ve had calving emergencies all day.” Excellent point. Trying to sew up a prolapsed cow when you cannot feel your face let alone your hand kind of makes the ignominy of having to wear a slightly heavier jacket and even gloves in Texas puts the day in a slightly different perspective. Suddenly my friend Michelle’s advice to “Buck up, Montana!” (by which she meant me) and take Eleanor and Beatrice out for a hike seemed sound advice and certainly a lot easier than anything the clinic was having to deal with.

One nice thing (amongst many) is that when I put out a call for photos, old friends are happy to oblige. Abby Skelton took these photos while out feeding, and the snow and the cold and the blow comes right through the pictures, no matter how many layers of Carhartt she happened to be wearing.

Regardless of what Mother Nature and Old Man Winter seem determined to hurl at us this year, ranchers are out in it. Cattle need extra feed, clear paths to water, and ranchers’ watchful eyes. And knowing Abby, she probably made certain that they chucked a few extra bales of hay out for the deer.

So yes, it is winter here in Austin, slight as it may seem compared to the northern climes. We did take Eleanor and Beatrice off to Turkey Creek for an evening hike. No snow drifts, no howling wind and blowing snow, and not a cow in sight, but we did spot a lone doe amongst the trees. She seemed pretty glad to deal with a just a slight chill, not the deep freeze that has been this winter in Montana.

And I must give credit where credit is due, and that credit goes to Sinclair Lewis. His earlier wit provided the title for this post.