Even the Sheep Didn’t Want to Go Out


All day yesterday we had blowing winds, swirling snow, and thick, heavy cloud cover. I was internet-less. However! I had power. And water! The new kitchen plumbing worked like a charm, and the new well tank stayed cozy and warm with the heat tape and insulation blanket. I took a tip from the comments from the other day and stacked a bale of hay under the door to the little room where the well tank is tucked in the barn. There’s a huge gap under that door that can let cold air blow right in at the well tank. The tip was actually to use a bale of straw, and next time I’m in town to the little store, I’ll get a couple, but I don’t have any right now so I settled for a bale of hay. Which the sheep will eat so will have to be regularly replaced, but I set it there before bedtime so they wouldn’t get it eaten down overnight and the tank would at least be protected in last night’s low temps. I’m thinking of just bringing a couple bales right into that room and tucking them directly around the tank, but that room is pretty small and I’m afraid I may not be able to get in there to get tools if needed if I do that. At the very least, I may just wait to do that until I can get some straw–it will be a few days before I go out. The roads are covered.

But I’m back! For the moment….. It’s really winter now, so you never know!


  1. Old WV Broad says:

    Welcome back, you were missed.

  2. SarahGrace says:

    So glad you didn’t lose electricity!

  3. outbackfarm says:

    I am so glad they have a nice dry place to hang out in weather like that. It has been in the low 20’s here at night. I had to lock all 6 of my sheep in their stall night before last. They did not like it at all and piled out when I opened the door yesterday morning. I have 3 Katahdin ewes that get cold so they like going in. And 3 Finn’s that apparently don’t feel the cold at all with all that nice think wool they are wearing. But right now, they are all lined up at the gate ready for breakfast and to go next door to their pasture. We have not seen sticking snow here yet. That barn sure looks redder with all the white around it. Stay warm!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Yeah, my sheep don’t like being locked in a stall either. I’ve been leaving their stall open so they can come and go. They stayed in almost all day yesterday. I do lock the goats in their stall. They just plain won’t come out in weather like that anyway, with the blowing snow. Goats are so finicky!

  4. Darlene says:

    So glad you are back and everything is ok. Bet the pets are loving the barn.

  5. Diane says:

    So glad you got heat and water. Makes a big diffrence when the weather is bad. Here in Pa we got snow also and its cold. We are ready to stay in for a day or so.

    Love the photo of the sheep looking out the door. You know its bad when they even do not want to be outside in the weather. lol.

    Keep warm, enjoy your time being snowed in.

  6. Flowerpower says:

    You got the weather we had here Wednesday. Winds and blowing snow.
    At least all the water works and heat so you are good to go. Anywhere you live it’s a constant tweaking or fixing of something or other. Goats are smart animals.You wouldn’t catch me out either. I had wondered about yesterday and had been checking to see if you had posted. Glad you are back. :happyflower:

  7. willsahna says:

    When I saw you didn’t post yesterday I wondered about the weather and the electricity. So gladit was only the Internet. Also really happy that you and the animals have such a nice barn this year.

  8. Runningtrails says:

    WInter has come to stay here, a well. That’s a great barn you’ve got there!

  9. holstein woman says:

    I’m so glad you are back, I really miss you when you are not posting. Glad everyone and everything is good.
    Please be careful not to put hay or straw on any electric, we DON’T want a barn fire, especially after waiting for so long to get one.

  10. Almost Heaven, WV says:

    Suzanne…I have a question, or actually my husband does. In the picture of the barn there is white guttering there on the right. It looks like the downspout goes back into the barn. I can zoom the pic, so I was just curious. 🙂 Glad you stayed warm and “liquified”…lol

  11. City Kid says:

    I feel sorta-kinda guilty reading about everyone having winter. We finally got some winter on Thursday here in MN, but by tomorrow the temps will be in the 30s again. It’s supposed to get cold later next week, but we haven’t even had below zero yet! Shoot, there’s not enough snow on the ground to make a respectable snowball! On the other hand, all I have to do is think back to last year when winter started a few hours after the State Fair closed on Labor Day and lasted until pert near Flag Day. Stay warm and dry everyone! I understand and I sympathize. Now, I must go out and talk to the tulips that are determined to grow…

  12. bonita says:

    Phew! Glad the interruption was (only) internet service…glad you’re staying warm and watered. We finally have measurable snow. It was pretty the first dya. I’m over it now. And it’s cold.

  13. rileysmom says:

    You described the weather we had yesterday! Wind gusts up to 50 mph and power flashes all day. Hopefully, you won’t get more!

  14. Murphala says:

    Whew! Glad you’re back and OK. This page often stays open all day while I do other stuff. I kept hitting the F5 key and wondering why my screen didn’t refresh with new posts. I thought for a minute it was MY internet! 😆

    Keep warm! We missed you!

  15. FarmGrammy says:

    Yes, glad you are back. Sure missed my daily boost and great photo. We had non-sticking snow that just swirled around. Yours is prettier, are you walking outside and taking gorgeous postcard style shots?

  16. STracer says:

    Since the entire room is open to the air of the barn and you don’t want to fill the room with hay, FabHub says that you should try to make a box around the bladder tank. Add another 2×4 to the two that are on the walls already and put in a couple more boards to tie them all together around the top to complete the square in the corner. Then get a sheet of polystyrene foam and cut it to fit on the frame, use duct tape to seal the seams. That will do a lot to keep the heat of the tape from escaping and the cold from getting in to the tank. You could even put planks around the outside of the frame and the foam on the inside. That would keep the foam from getting damaged. Oh and make sure to leave a way in! You don’t want to tear it apart to unplug the heat tape.

  17. enjay says:

    Susan, I’m having a difficult time fitting together exactly where everything is in relation to everything else from your pictures, but you said that the sheep will eat the hay bale that you put inside the room with the tank to block the drafts, does that mean the sheep have access to the tank area? If so, you probably don’t want that. In the picture of the tank I saw hanging electrical cords, you don’t want animals to be able to get to those or down the line something very ugly could happen, especially since cords collect hay dust and debris and start smelling like a snack to the animals. It will also help prevent rodents from gnawing on the cords. You also don’t want animals chewing on the insulation bag on the tank so you’ll probably want to enclose it or otherwise block their access to it. My preference would be an enclosure, like an insulated box, to prevent anything from happening if someone escapes.
    If you have electrical things that have to be where an animal might possibly get to them, and it’s a permanent installation like the pump or even the heat tape, may I suggest what we did? We used old hose with a slit cut in it to fit around the cord, zip tied it closed every few inches, and then used flexible metal strapping to screw it to the wall. I don’t know the exact name but I’ve seen the strapping used on conduit and pipes to hold them to a wall.
    I also learned the hard way to check cords regularly for damage and to make sure that cords had a “drip loop” in them, basically that part of the cord dips several inches below both the outlet and whatever the cord runs, because condensation may build up and run right down the cord. We used to get condensation once the pipes and pump were all buttoned up and cozy for the winter and then a warm damp day would show up and everything would get wet, although it was always damp around the well cistern especially once we put an insulated “pump house” on it. We had to have it, the plumbing was under a concrete slab and we had no access to it that didn’t involve a jackhammer so we needed it to prevent everything from freezing, but it needed watching because it was a mouse magnet. Insulation + warm + water + feed and hay nearby = rodent explosion. We did make sure that there was a pop hole cut for the cats to get in there but the only one who took advantage of that was the mouse eating hen.
    Anyway, it’s something to watch for and pretty easy to prevent. I used to keep an eye on a particular barn window that was near the electrical and water stuff, I knew if the window had condensation on it that the cords would be dripping fairly soon after.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      enjay, no, the sheep don’t have access to the room where the tank is. I put the bale of hay outside the door to the room to block the gap under the door. The outside of the door is in the alleyway of the barn. The sheep do have access to the alleyway.

  18. Leaves of the fall says:

    my first thoughts were that of holstein woman, keeping straw away from any electrical elements… if your animals have access to the area, you might want to block off any access…. i would hate to see a goat eat your wires or blanket warmer. :no:

  19. Boymama says:

    What an amazing blog! Thanks for your efforts!!

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