Choppers: What the best-dressed woman (or man for that matter) in northern Minnesota wears in the winter time.
I mentioned choppers briefly in a previous post (or maybe it was just in the comment section) and some of you said you'd never heard of them.
Basically, they are large, leather (often deer hide) mittens. These of mine are relatively new, but as they age they become soft as buttah (!), formed to an individual's hands and are worn until they self-destruct . . . at which time you are forced into breaking in a new pair.
They are worn with an inner mitten or liner often made of felted wool.
They are large in size in comparison to other mittens for two reasons. You need that big, insulating wool mitten next to your hand and anything tight or restrictive would cause your hands to get cold really fast. The natural warmth from your hands creates a mini heated "room" inside that leather and wool covering.
Choppers are necessary for anyone doing any kind of work outside in the winter time up here where the temperature can hover around zero (and frequently quite a bit below) for many weeks at a time.
You do feel a bit fumble-fingered when wearing choppers because obviously you don't have the use of your fingers for any task. Sometimes even picking up pieces of firewood is a little clumsy with them on.
But the hand protection they afford is well worth any lack of dexterity. Back when we had our dairy goats with no auxiliary heat in the barn, there were times when I seriously considered trying to milk with my choppers on!
They really are a wardrobe necessity up here in the cold months, and I wouldn't want to have to go without them. Makes my hands hurt just to think about it.
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