A Triple Dog Dare MomentFeb 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By David Nowacoski
Winter sure does create some weird situations, doesn’t it? Take the other morning for instance. I was up to feed the chickens slightly before dawn. My eyes were not yet ready to be awake, and I was trying to coax them into working together so I could focus on the temperature gauge. That was a mistake. When they finally cooperated and saw that it was “freeze your nose hairs” degrees out, the rest of my body voted for a mutiny and tried to haul off back to bed. After some tense negotiations, we were bundled up and headed down to the barn with chicken feed and water in hand.
In the summer, our chickens run free in acres of pasture, but when there are no more grasshoppers hiding in that lush green grass, we move them inside a heated barn. It’s more like a chicken hotel than a barn. There are wrap-around windows to let in plenty of sunlight, yet they are completely protected from the wind and cold. It’s insulated, heated, and with ample roost space these are pretty bougie accommodations for our feathered friends.
As I got to work filling the feeders, the chickens crowded around to be the first to grab those big kernels of corn. While they were busy eating, I gathered up their waterers. I stepped back outside and rinsed them out to make sure they were good and clean before refilling them with fresh water.
I set the water back in the barn and turned to close the door. Which is a steel door with your typical front door-style knob. Did I mention that it was cold out? I guess my hand was still a bit wet from cleaning out the waterer when I grasped the handle. I pulled the door shut and turned to head back to the house. But my hand stayed right there on the handle. My brain was confused...it had told my hand to let go. My hand immediately reassured my brain that it had, in fact, let go.
That scene from A Christmas Story flashed through my mind. You know the one: the Triple Dog Dare to touch your tongue to the flagpole. Yup, that’s me...my wet hand had immediately frozen to the metal handle.
A lot goes through your mind when you realize you are frozen to the outside of a door when it is really uncomfortably cold out. Is this it? Certainly not the way I expected to go. I bet the life insurance company doesn’t even have a code for this one. Do I hear the chickens laughing in there?
Luckily, my hand warmed up the handle enough that the whole ordeal lasted less than a minute. I tucked my unfortunate appendage under my armpit until it returned to a normal temperature. As I gathered up the feed pail, I thought that you don’t get those kinds of issues happening in July. Farming in winter is another whole level of difficult here in the northeast.