Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Basic chores in freezing cold weather

We've been going through a streak of achingly cold weather.  The high temperature for the day was 20 degrees Fahrenheit or  less for nearly a week.

Did I mention the snow?  It snows.  All the time.

Big fluffy snowflakes that cause drifts of dry powdery snow.  Add in brisk winds and doing basic chores around the farm became surprising complicated.

Every winter, I cover all the windows to the chicken coop with plastic sheeting nailed in place around the frame of the windows.  I also put plastic or fabric bracing across the inside of the sheeting to prevent the wind from blowing the sheets in.  ( Well, I thought I did.  Turns out I didn't.)  I totally forgot to brace up the biggest east-facing windows in the coop.

On a particularity windy Saturday, they all blew in.  I came in to do chores and was very impressed by the amount of snow that had been blown in the open door.  The amount of light reaching the back of the coop was really bright too.  It wasn't until I was pulling out the feeder that I noticed that the extra light and snow was coming from the front windows.  I had planned to work on crocheting an afghan that afternoon, but realized my time was going to be spent fixing my mistake.   I pulled all of the nails from around the frame, realigned the plastic, nailed the sheets of plastic up, and nailed strips of duck tape behind the plastic to act as bracing.  I ran out of duck tape before I ran out of window.  Rather than drive into town, I dug out some tulle that I had left over from storing the sunflowers and twisted it into strips of bracing.  The tulle strips are surprisingly sturdy.

 When the weather is that cold, the heater for the poultry flock's water dispenser runs all the time.  Between the warm water and the dry cold air, I need to refill the waterer daily.  Normally, I just run up to my in-law's house and use their outside faucet.  Recently, though, I've been walking over to the milk house.  The hot water there is piping hot - at least 180 degrees before adding cold water - and handy to melt the frozen water in the ducks' tub.  It takes me about three times as long to get 3 gallons of water since I have to transfer the water in 5 quart buckets from a sink into a big bucket.  Being inside a warm building and carrying a warm, slightly steaming bucket of water feels so good that I don't miss the extra time at all.  As an added bonus, the walk to and from the milk house is a bit more sheltered from the wind than up to the house and back.

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