My perspective really has changed.

When I lived in the city, I would hesitate to make a quick dash to the grocery store unless my hair was tidy, my jeans were crisp and my shoes were clean. Now, I almost consider it a badge of honor to head up to town with farm mud on my boots and my hair flying out from under my hat. These are the proud signs that I have spent the day outside, farming.

When I lived and worked in the city, I remember that I always wore pumps and stockings downtown.

I remember how my heels would click along the city sidewalk and how my toes would feel the cold bite of winter if I had to walk more than a few blocks, but I was not alone.

Everyone who I passed on the city streets, all hurrying along between the tall buildings, sported the same attire. We were all dressed for success.

I no longer own any pumps or stockings.

This morning, as I dressed to head out to do the animal chores, I smiled to imagine myself in my pumps and stockings, making the animal rounds. The temperature gauge read a frosty .5 degrees.

I first pulled on a thick pair of insulated socks. (They would never have fit into my pumps.) I then put a fleece vest on over my turtleneck shirt, which I next covered with a thermal-lined hooded sweatshirt.

I pulled the hood up over my head and then reached for my thick fleece jacket, which I zippered all the way up so that its collar covered my neck up to my chin.

I then pulled the sweatshirt hood down and put on my ever so warm, winter-lined, thermal cap. It has the most wonderful ear flaps that I pulled down and fastened under my chin.

I was beginning to feel a bit hot inside the warm cabin as I wrapped a scarf around my chin and made my way to the door.

Greg’s large rubber work boots were sitting on the rug just inside the door, warming up so that I could slip them on over my thick socks.

I have learned that pinched toes quickly turn cold, so when I wear my super thick socks, I borrow Greg’s big boots. Boots on and jean legs tucked securely in, I reached for my winter-lined leather gloves. I was finally ready to head outside.

With each step, I felt the single-digit crunch of snow underfoot, but inside my many layers, I was toasty warm.

Only my nose felt the bite of the winter morning, as with each inhaled breath my nostrils crinkled.

I remembered as a child back east, hearing why New Englander farmers are thought to be so taciturn and reserved.

What I had heard was that New Englanders have realized that by not smiling, they can keep winter’s cold bite from freezing their teeth! Fact or fiction, I do not know, but when I opened my mouth for an inhaled smile, my teeth did feel decidedly cold. I quickly closed my mouth and tucked my chin back under my scarf and the collar of my zippered jacket.

In time, the sun came out and shone brightly across the snow-covered creek valley. The world seemed to glisten warmly, but the outside temperature still hovered in the single digits.

Inside the cabin, though, the temperature was toasty warm.

I stripped off my many layers and carefully placed them where they belonged until my next venture out, dressed for success in our wintertime, creek valley world.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in Ohio. Visit them on the web at