Monday, January 09, 2017

November Hill farm journal, 25

We had predictions for 5-7 inches of snow this past weekend, along with 3 days of temperatures well below freezing and 3 nights of temperatures in the single digits, and, last night -6, so I spent Friday preparing. We of course stocked up on Timothy balance cubes and the pellets I give Keil Bay with his meals now. With our hay stall well stocked in the barn, that was taken care of, but I added extra bags of shavings so we could top off stalls as needed until their night-time turn out can resume.

Normally these extremely cold days aren't paired with precipitation here, so I decided with all of us recuperating from colds, and with both snow AND extreme cold, I would do something I've never done before. I bought two stock tank heaters and set up water tanks in the barn aisle and under the shelter so that both sides had water with no worries of freezing up. Typically we go out and remove the ice on these cold mornings and tote out buckets of lukewarm water as well, but that gets dicey when the ground is slippery! 

It has worked so well I have a new idea to implement after the barn roof work and additional side shelter are completed. My next barn project was going to be getting the barn re-wired, and now I'll have that done but will add a dedicated outlet on each side, under each shelter. I'm thinking I'll put slightly smaller stock tanks beneath each shelter, with the capacity to use the heaters during winter months as needed. If I do this I can do away with the water buckets in the barn aisles and the individual stalls since we rarely close anyone in anyway. 

I'll keep the stock tanks in each field, obviously, but I think in the long run this will be easier on us and better for the horses as well.

We ended up getting about an inch of mixed sleet and snow and then a little more snow on top of that, which hasn't been too difficult to navigate. The big issue has been the extreme cold and we are all looking forward to tonight being the last of this cold spell. One more night, 13 degrees, and then we start to warm up so that by this weekend we'll be at 70 degrees! 

This is the crazy roller coaster weather we get in North Carolina. The blessing, I suppose, is that we get breaks from the extremes pretty regularly so nothing goes on for too long a time.

I enjoyed the snowy landscape on Saturday and on Sunday until the sun came out - for some reason the sun on snow isn't pretty to me, and the blinding whiteness makes me want to cover my head and not come out until the snow melts away. 

Inside, I'm putting down towels to catch the snow on all the cats and Corgi paws, not to mention boots, and sweeping up firewood debris around the wood stove several times a day. It's a messy kind of weather all around. 

As is usual in North Carolina when it snows like this, we all have snow days today. The university canceled the first day of spring semester classes, my beekeeping school first class is canceled, and husband is home from work. There are a lot of joke memes about this going around on Facebook but I actually love this about our state. We don't get this weather frequently enough to invest in heavy duty equipment to clear the roads and keep things going through the snow, so everything shuts down for a few days until it melts enough to drive. 

These snow days are good times for enjoying family time, making good food, and creating memories. And it impresses me that for those of you living with horses in this kind of weather for months on end you are able to keep things going! 


Grey Horse Matters said...

I can't believe you'll be up to 70 by the weekend. We should hit around 40 tomorrow but it's been brutally cold and we got about 7-8 inches of snow. That's not too bad. The temps were very cold but we manage. I remember driving through the Carolina's in a snowstorm and they obviously had no snow removal equipment for the roads. It was quite a ride.

I also have the towels for the dog. Up here in the North when you have kids and they have snow days and are off from school I remember them in and out all day with snow suits, boots, hats, scarves, gloves, ice skates etc. It got old by the third day of constant changing of clothes and cleaning up.

billie said...

Stay safe and warm up there, A! Yes, NC has only minimal snow equipment - the few snowfalls we have don't justify the cost.

Ice skates!!!! Oh, that sounds like a storybook life though I know there are rough parts too keeping everything going in winter weather.

Matthew said...

Watched the last of the ice melting away on my drive in this AM!

billie said...

It is like spring out there right now!!