Winter on the Farm
By Lesley Ward
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
After reading Leslie’s blog about the freezing conditions we’re experiencing here in the Bluegrass, I thought I’d contribute my two cents. I’m fed up with this crappy weather! The only place I like to experience snow is on a ski slope.
Horses look pretty running around in the snow, and as a photographer, I enjoy taking pictures of them, but that’s all I enjoy about the snow.
We’ve had sub-normal temperatures and snow for the past week. My horses are snug in their blankets and eating about a week’s worth of hay a day. They don’t mind this weather at all. Me—I’ve had enough. My three normally live outside most of the time. I only bring them in at night if it’s cold and wet or cold and snowy. So, they’ve been in at night for the past week. This means mucking out three stalls every morning before work.
Everything was going fine, until I noticed that the plastic balls in my automatic waterer were freezing. Not a problem. I just kicked them free with my feet. This went on for a day or two, but then I noticed that the waterer was completely frozen. This is the first time in five years the waterer has frozen. Of course, my hose is frozen (&$*###!) , so now I’m hauling buckets of water to the trough. To make sure my three freeloaders are getting enough water, I’m also adding water to their feed. Listening to them slurp up their meals lets me know they’re getting enough water .
My vet gave me a tip about the waterer and if you’ve got the same kind, it might come in handy. If you’ve only got a few horses, every day during a freeze you should let let about half of the water in the unit drain from the plug on the side. This allows the waterer to refill, keeping the pipes running. Of course, this advice came a day or two late for me. And the plumber that installed the unit said that smearing petroleum jelly on the balls also helps them from freezing.
I’m just glad that I invested in two pairs of insulated overalls. I live in them around the farm. I’m typing in them right now. Why? My ancient house heating unit broke over the weekend and my30-year-old rancher is icy cold. My barn is probably warmer. In fact, I think I’ll go out there in a few minutes to muck out and warm up.
Luckily, the HVAC man is here right now, and after three days of huddling around the fire with my six cats and two dogs, a brand new unit is being installed. I just might have heat tonight! Hoorah!
The joys of farm life.
How are you coping with the cold weather? Let us know.
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