Frosted Morning, with Animals


It’s 13 degrees here at the moment. The next few nights are forecast for sub-zero. Snow is expected to start again sometime this morning. I was out doing chores early, before the flakes start falling.

Food to the dogs and cats. Feed and hay to the goats. A big bucket of grain to the cows. I moved the cows all the way into the back barnyard to give them access to more hay. I can’t move round bales right now, so I need to get everybody where they can get what I can move for the next few days–square bales. Their big grain feeder is frozen into the ground in another field, so I had to feed their grain in a small-ish (for big cow heads) feeder.

They managed to get all three of their giant heads in there at the same time. Motivation can create miracles.

Everybody has access to creek water, which has helped me a lot this winter. Well, not the chickens, since I have them in their house. I bring them fresh water every day and tell them to drink up before it freezes on them! They mostly pay attention. Or at least they’re still alive, so nobody’s died from lack of non-frozen water yet.

And at times like this, survival is pretty much the goal. Nothing’s perfect when everything’s going wrong and frozen. Just keep everybody alive until it thaws.

Last, I went to get the horses to move them down and across the road to another field where an untouched round bale was waiting for them. Whenever I’m having round bales moved, I insist on having a few placed here and there in other fields that I’m not normally using in the winter. My hired men say, “Why do you want a round bale there? You don’t need a round bale there!” And I say, “THE DAY WILL COME. Everything will be frozen and I can’t have any bales moved and I will need a round bale there.” I call them emergency bales.

Zip is easy to lead. I just put a dog leash around her neck and tell her to c’mon. Shortcake follows right behind her. The morning sun was pushing at the thick gray clouds in the sky portending the upcoming snow. The road was partially cleared, in the middle, and the horses clip-clopped over the pavement. The sound of their rhythmic clip-clops was such a steady, soothing sound, I wanted to keep walking, never stop.

But I had the leash in one hand and a big bucket of grain in the other, and Zip and Shortcake were eager to spread their napkins in their laps and get to dining, so I took them in the field and let them have at it.
It’s 13 degrees and everybody’s alive.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on February 18, 2015  

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  1. 2-18

    Oh boy…we had winters like that last year. But, in Pullman, WA it is 43 degrees out and sunny.

    My fruit trees are budding and it’s freaking me out because its FEBRUARY. Where’s the snow??? I’m convinced that we will get a cold snap and it will kill all my new buds.

    Stay warm, it sounds like you are good and prepared this year!

  2. 2-19

    So very cold here as well, the wind chill last night was -25. This brutal weather will last for the next 2 days it will reach high of 4 degrees today and down to -14 tonight and then a warmup on Saturday with more snow moving in—yea :hissyfit:

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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