I don’t like being unprepared for much of anything but the last two weeks or so of frigid air gave me a real kick in the pants! We have been used to teens and single digit weather but not with 20 – 45 mile an hour winds. We were able to keep the house good and warm but had to keep heaters in the cellar and laundry room around in the clock. We didn’t have any frozen water pipes or lose any of the valuable canned goods.
We did however have to keep chopping holes in the streams that water our cattle. We had to move two herds due to the mountain springs freezing solid and the feed we gave them was increased by an extra roll of hay each day, giving the two larger herds three round bales and the heifers two. The heifers and bulls were given corn gluten every other day.
January 3rd we went to Rural King to pick up salt and feed for the chickens and he bought me a new insulated barn coat and insulated bib coveralls!!! Along with the Extreme socks Heather bought me for Christmas, the flannel lined jeans Shawn got me and these from Eddie the winter weather coming would not be taking hold of me!!!!
I know how the Pillsbury Dough Boy feels now, waddling around!!!!
January 5th was the worst day and the pickup wouldn’t start, the big tractor fuel was frozen and wouldn’t start, and we used the small Kubota until the hydraulics froze up. At this point the cattle were fed the old fashioned way by using 15 square bales of hay loaded onto the old Dodge pickup for the larger herds and 10 square bales to the heifers. We keep bales of hay in the loft of the bull barn for the bulls and they were fed hay and grain. I had filled up the firewood on the porch and in the house and was constantly chucking it into the woodstoves. I made a huge pot of soup on the stove and our bodies stayed warm and full on the inside!!! The chickens and rabbits were checked hourly along with Mischief, our coon hound and all were given fresh warm water. Mischief stayed wadded up in her house with enormous batts of hay! We had been feeding her extra food to keep some fat on for just this kind of weather. We take good care of all of our animals. The temperature that day finally reached 12* but the wind was raging and expecting to last through noon Saturday. With the wind chill the last few days our temps were ranging from -12* to 0*. Mr. Caldwell was working on thawing the tractor all day in the frigid cold and wind!
Finally on Monday we were able to get out and do some extra winterizing to prepare for the next onset which might be within the next week!
So with the rabbits taken care of before the next batch of frigid weather, I went straight to the hen house. Extra bedding was put in their nests to help keep the eggs from freezing. There’s not much I can do with their water freezing except take them warm water more often. Hopefully in the spring the electricity will be added to their house but this new house is much warmer and cleaner than the old one.
I use a metal pan for their water so that when it freezes I can take it outside, pour a little hot water over the bottom and the ice pops right out. I do carry a jug of hot water with me when I go check the water for the rabbits, chickens and the dog. They love that warm water to warm their insides! I’m keeping the rabbits and the chickens feed bowls full. If they have plenty to eat their fat stores will help to keep them warm.
Now that the animals are better prepped for the frigid air to return it was time to fill up the porch with two types of firewood.
We have two piles of wood outside and one is seasoned, split and covered. The other is dried but not fully seasoned and not split. We have plenty more in the woods ready to take down and bring in to the house.
We’ve made it through the first of the really cold winter weather but we’re ready for the worst to come in the next three months. Between now and then I’ll sit with my new seed catalogs and prepare for what we all hope to be an early spring!! When we expect high winds and possible power outages I keep plenty of buckets of water in the laundry room for flushing the toilets and several gallon jugs of water for cooking and hand-washing. We keep supplies of candles, oil lamps and matches on hand and small wood on the side porch for the wood cook stove. Four small tanks of propane are always full to heat the laundry room (holds our main source of water pipes) and the cellar.
Stay warm and don’t forget to prepare for the next winter hit of weather!