Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Six Dog Night

They're little you know, so we need more than the requisite three.

It has been an incredibly cold night for Southern Oregon, even by mountain standards. The thermometer is reading 0 degrees F, coldest I can remember in our almost 10 years on the Greensprings and certainly unusual for early December.
Rube, the wood boiler, is going through wood PDQ compared to his usual fill times, but the house is warm and toasty. I can't say that for the barn, even my kitties only made a half hearted effort to come and greet me at the start of my rounds. They got extra food and they have a nice little kip in amongst the hay bales. I put my ungloved hand into it and it was pleasantly warm. I would have liked to have curled up in there. Instead, I pushed bales down and loaded Bob the tractor and sat and coaxed him into starting for me. It took some well placed compliments and a few promises but Bob finally rumbled to life, billowing smoke as only a cold diesel engine can. Slowly we made our way up in the cold, very slowly, both the steering and loader hydraulics where pretty sluggish.

The horses are faring well in this deep freeze, no one is showing signs of being particularly cold and I am grateful they are all plump with fat and dense coats. They certainly have needed them these past two nights. Hay was doled out with a heavy hand, water in the big tank was broken with a large steel crowbar. Even the heated buckets had a hard time keeping the top free of ice. There was a thin layer that was easily pushed in with a nose. Someone had beat me to it. I filled the heated tank with water from the big tank and went off to check and feed the girls.

Their fleeces are deep and shiny and if you dig your fingers into it, they are roasty toasty warm. Oh, to be able to harvest them right at this point...but then I'd have very cold bare naked goats and that certainly wouldn't suit. :-)

Bob was warmed up and faster back to the barn to be parked for the day. I checked on the cats again who were just slipping back into their nest and headed to the house. I can't imagine having a big barn full of many many animals during these cold winter months. What I have is just about right. Winter requires we slow down and be more deliberate in our actions, picking up hoses so they don't freeze, double checking tanks, making sure no one is cheated of feed, getting those short haired dogs in quickly and remembering to let the house cat in before you go to bed! If you don't love your animals and the life you have with them, this is the time that will test you.


  1. Brrrr! Glad your animals are toasty and warm. The whole hoses/pipes freezing thing must be inconvenient for you.

    Today is a beautiful, sunny winter day with snow still hanging on the trees here. (Very unusual two days after a storm). And tomorrow, the blizzard that has hit many parts of the US arrives here. It sounds like it will just be a moderate storm here - with 5-7 inches of snow. But we'll see.

    Stay warm!


  2. Sue, the whole set up by the paddocks is pretty dependable. We have a no freeze faucet and the hose is short, so I undo it and hang it on a hook, stretch it out to drain the water and leave for the next use. The only trouble I have with the faucet is the handle freezing if it has been wet from rain or snow. Now I just plop a bucket over it to keep the wet off of it.
    Power is on a post right by the tall faucet and has enough outlets for the electric fence, two water buckets and a spare should I need to plug something else in.

  3. it is -17C here these last two mornings - about the same as you. It is a lot of work to take care of animals in this kind of weather. I only have the wild birds I put out fresh water for and fill the feeders!Evelyn

  4. I hear ya we are getting your cold here in Utah and lots of snow!

    Stay warm!!!

  5. Yes, winter definitely ushers in a change of pace. For me, I just want to stay warm and so tend to limit a lot of activities. We've only had snow forecasted but no show. Lots of cold rain though.

  6. Ian was surprised this morning when the normally aloof llamas stood still and let him brush the ice and snow off their backs. We had sun all day - phew.

  7. I tip my hat to you - because I certainly could not handle the cold like you! I'm glad all those animals have you looking out for them!