Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Still digging out....

and frankly pretty tired of it! I really feel for the people that got the ice and snow in really large amounts. What we got was enough to slow things down and make it very difficult for awhile. This last week has been tiring. After the ice/snow storm it stayed very cold for a few days, then we had a brief warmish day or two (30s), that started things thawing, then a very cold couple of days (close to zero at night, high teens during the day), so anything that had melted a little froze into a glaze of greasy ice. Paths are like skating rinks, paths besides the paths are almost as bad (time to make an even newer path!). Its really hard to think of everything before one of these storms hits, although there are always the basics you should do--like have plenty of water on hand (which means every bucket and container in the house is sitting around full of water), make sure you have ample feed for the livestock and yourself, candles, kerosine for the lamps, any medications you or the critters need, and an alternate heat source if the electricity goes out (I have wood heat, so as long as I can carry the wood in, I'm good!) There are alot of things that I didn't think about though. I did think a little ahead and managed to wire a couple of the inside gate panels up out of the snow, as well as take the hay panel off the stack (which was almost gone) and wire it up on the fence out of the snow, so it wouldn't freeze down. I didn't think about every stinking gate/panel/bucket/tub becoming ice bound.....for a week. I spent the first day (luckily off from work) digging out the gates and unfreezing the latches just to get out of the yard, and into the livestock pens. Many of the gates still only open enough to squeeze through, but at least they are opening. I had the vet out yesterday to health inspect some of the sheep who are sold and traveling out of the state. I didn't think about having to dig out the cattle panels to make the catch pen work, until late the night before! Putting ear tags in when it is this cold is also a challenge. Luckily I only had three that needed put in and also luckily the manufactorers think ahead and include a handy little tip sheet in the box on how to make the tags work in the cold weather (you put a bottle of warm water in side a bucket with the tags and let them warm up so they become more flexible and expand). Yesterday I was finally able to dump some of the water tubs to get rid of the big pieces of ice. Most of the tubs are black flexible rubber and can be banged and pounded on to release the ice...unless they are frozen to the ground. My arms, back and legs hurt from hauling so much water and breaking ice in the tubs for the sheep this week (until yesterday even the outside spigot was frozen up), and creeping along, every muscle tense to try and keep from falling. Of course some of the soreness might be from catching and worming/tagging reluctant sheep yesterday too.....

Unfortunately the sheep had just enough hay in their round bale to last them about a day into the storm. After that I had to feed my square bale hay (expensive, much too good hay that I use for the ewes just before/after lambing), to the girls and rams, which involved alot more work, and creeping around on the snow/ice. The sheep were very happy though.

Today (Saturday) its warming up and we are suppose to get some really warm weather this week--40s and maybe 50s. I spent the morning working out in the barnyard, unloading feed into the chicken house, putting out mineral blocks for the sheep, putting straw bedding in the dog house and chicken house--all things that needed to be done, but were put on hold with the storm. I enjoyed the feeling of not rushing, the smell of the frozen barnyard waking up to the warm sun (yeah I know--believe me, its a farmer thing),the critters moving around enjoying the same sunshine. I also finally got some sandbags for my truck and some sunflower seeds for the birds (been feeding them allstock!). The birds are very happy today and singing and puttering about.

I'm still tired from the week. :-) If this post seems rambling and doesn't make much sense, it might be because thats about how I am at this point. At night after getting home from work and getting chores done, I would come in the house, eat supper, do a few household chores, then plop down and work crosswords and watch t.v. If I was lucky I make it til newstime, but the last few nights, I've dozed off before 8! I even fell asleep during some of my favorite shows....(does anyone know how CSI ended on Thursday???)

I think its gonna get better though. At least a break to re-group and rest up! I wish I had Boone, the dog's, energy and enthusiasm for this kind of weather. He really loves it and runs and plays like an idiot, falls, jumps up, runs some more, get the idea. Nothing mars his good time!

Hope all of you, especially those with livestock, made it through this early winter storm okay.


sheperdchik said...

Wow, you have had a lot more actual winter weather than we have this year so far. I'm in NW Iowa and we've had only a scatter of snow so far (probably jinxed myself by saying that)

Tammy said...

It sure caught me by surprise, even though 'they' were forcasting it. I was somewhat prepared, but certainly in denial that we would get a 'severe' storm. I just hope the whole winter isn't this dramatic! :-)