Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It Must Be December: I've Got Nails!

It's that time of year...the garden is under snow, the chores are minimal and.....I've got finger nails!  Just in time for the Festive Season!  They are not pretty: my cuticles are not groomed, I've got scratches and dings on my hands, the nails are not shaped or painted....but they are there!

As a market gardener and caretaker to livestock, it's impossible to have nails.  During the growing season there is sooo much stress on nails!  I'm constantly scrounging in the soil weeding or harvesting, often without gloves because I just find they impair my ability.  I'm grappling with elastics and bags trying to bundle and portion our produce.  I'm trying to rip into bags of feed, fighting with gates and pens.  Lots of water is involved: hauling hoses for watering veggies and animals, hauling buckets, trying to get into those chicken waters.  Plus the almost constant hand washing as I go from chicken coop to goat pen to making supper to harvesting vegetables; my hands must get washed fifty times a day!  My nails grow fairly well (must be all that fresh goats milk and fresh veggies!), but are always nicked and the longer they are the harder it is to clean them; finger nail brushes just don't reach down that far!  So, during the season my nails are trimmed very short all the time.

Jacob's Cattle bean, waiting to get shelled.
With the arrival of winter, things ease up a bit.  The only chore left from the 2012 growing season is to shell the beans we grew for soups and stews,  the yummy Jacob's Cattle!  I become a bit more of a house wife in the winter, with lots of soap making, baking and such.  Yes, I still have animals to care for, but with the snow and cold weather they are more confined to the coop and barn.  We're not even milking anymore - the goat mamma's are dried off as we assume they're growing lovely baby goats again and we want all their strength to go to that!  I find, even though it's below freezing, I'm still without gloves a bit as I go about my chores.  It's just impossible to do somethings with gloves on, like finding that little strip to tear off a new bag of feed, or trying to get into one of those pressure-sealed chicken waterers.  So my hands are red, and still a little scratched from playing with Doodles or barn kitties and a myriad other things.  I believe they're not as bad as they could be, partly due to our lovely, gentle goats milk soap and our nourishing handmade lotion bars - which I'm applying constantly!

The nails can't last.  As someone with chickens, goats, cats and dogs nails of any great length are a hazard.  I might poke someones eye, or cause myself great pain by catching a nail and bending it back.  But for the Holiday Season, I'll trim them a bit and nicely, maybe give myself a little manicure.  Maybe between Christmas and New Years I'll even put a coat of paint on them!  And then, they'll be gone again....because soon we'll start growing, getting seeds started inside!

1 comment:

  1. Great minds must think alike. I just read a post on another blog about dirty gardener hands v. rings. I've never been good with nails, just not that ladylike I guess. I've always wondered how some women keep their nails so nice, I barely touch the dishes and there goes a nail.