January 12, 2011

January Cold Snap

Every winter we have a few days of brutally cold temperatures. Usually I have a goat due to kid during that very time, but this year I *don't*! Hurray!

I'm thankful for modern forecasting technology that tells us in advance that this is coming. I'm thankful that we usually have a few days of above-average temperatures in which to prepare for the cold. So as usual, we spent several days getting ready for the annual cold snap.

- Water containers were filled up and stored inside the house. I've learned through experience that even a heat lamp won't keep water from freezing at 5°.
- We moved hay and feed so they were accessible for us but still safe from the livestock. Hubby moved a new round bale of hay out to the pasture for the horses. We put out a new salt block.
- Our old mare has a winter blanket to keep her warm. I put it on her before the expected precipitation began. We have two additional blankets in case another horse needs one.
- Extra bedding was put out for goats, cats, dogs, and chickens.
- Hubby bought and installed a tank heater for one of the horses' water troughs. I've wanted one for several winters, but we did not have the "right set-up" until this year. Hubby is extremely cautious about water and electricity, and would rather break ice than risk something going wrong. (I understand that completely. I am the same way about anything that might possibly cause a fire.)
- We have de-icing spray and salt in the house in case they are needed.
- And I dug out my ski pants, boot socks, work boots, and coveralls. Hubby bought us each a new pair of winter gloves. I have to take care of *me* too, rather like the instructions on an airplane to put on your own oxygen mask first, then help your children.

Our final step was to move the goats into the center aisle of the goat barn. The fencing isn't finished yet, so they are confined to the inside for a few days until the weather warms up, but it is more weather-proof than their old shed in the main pen. They should be just fine.

Not having any newborn kids sure makes life easier. Our week-old lamb is still in the barn with her mommy; we decided they could stay a little longer until the cold weather is over, even though lambs seem to be more resilient than newborn kids. Next week they'll go back to the sheep pen.


  1. Sounds like you've got everything covered! We had a cold snap the week before Christmas - it was 4* when we got our tree and it was so frozen that it stayed in the same position after we took the netting off! We had to pull the branches down and let it thaw out for an hour and boy was it bushy! We get several cold snaps throughout our winter, followed by breaks of near-Spring weather. This winter was supposed to be milder, but it's 17* out right now so I'm not sure what the weatherman's definition of "milder" is.

  2. Kathi, just found your delightful blog. I look forward to reading more. Did your neighbor ever find his horses...hopefully before the storm? Keep warm!


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