Friday, December 16, 2016

The Polar Vortex Has Arrived...

The dreaded polar vortex arrived this week.  Oh how I dislike that term! Early yesterday morning the winds picked up and the temperature dropped. Brrrrr...  Cold weather has it's benefits, but I'm such a fair weather fan that I have a hard time seeing them.  Instead, I think of the headaches that come in the barn.

The box pens in the barn are full of young heifers, so we have a couple of them still at the hutches.  They have shelter, but no running water over winter.  Thus, we have to carry water for them several times a day.  Our trusty green wagon gets a lot of use these days...

Drink fast girls, before it freezes again...

My negligence in gathering eggs last evening resulted in this...

Jim had ordered a truckload of sawdust, but postponed the delivery yesterday because of the strong winds.  The barn doors are quite heavy, and if the winds catch them, there could be some pretty serious damage...both to the doors and to whoever might be in the vicinity.  The barn hill catches the brunt of the brutal north and west winds...

The winds died down over night, so the sawdust was delivered this morning...

All the animals keep the inside of the barn much warmer...although we often drain the water lines on the west side of the barn when it's really cold and windy.  Yesterday (and again this morning) we used a hose to fill a big water tub for the outside pen heifers.

In the calf pens, this young heifer and Jolyn enjoyed some playful moments this morning while I was feeding a newborn...

...and when I turned my back, Phoebe crawled into the pen and curled up in a feed tub.  It's not a good place for a dog to be, but I must say that once again, she was being resourceful!  She found a warm place and made the best of it...near her people...

And of course there's always the dilemma of the glasses steaming up, going from warm to cold and back again.  I wish I could just take them off, but...

Hopefully you're keeping warm where you are!


  1. Phoebe looks all comfy in the hay... She's a smart dog. I know all too well the peril of cold temperatures on the farm. It's been so windy yesterday and today that I have to lock the outside door on the north side entrance to the calf barn as the wind shook the door until the latch slowly moved until the door opened. Luckily I was there. There's a second door to the barn but the wind also got that one opened before. If it happens on a very cold night, all the water pipes freezes.

    We brought all the older heifers in the barn from their south side shelter in the back of the barn. They help keep the barn warm and they are kept warmer in very cold weather.
    I always think of the wild animals who have to find their own food and shelter in the snow and bad weather.

    Wishing you warmer weather.

  2. Oh gosh, the water freezes so fast!! Its cold and muddy here today, but nothing like what you are having to put up with.
    I hope this doesn't last too long.
    I love how Phoebe looks in that feed tub. Smart girl. Stay warm if you can.

  3. It is -14 here. As long as the wind doesn't blow is isn't too bad. We had a waterline break at work. Outhouses in below 0 weather is interesting. I love the photo of Phoebe. She looks cozy. Merry Christmas

  4. Ughhh, carrying water is a never ending job, isn't it? I love the picture of Jolyn! She's such a pretty cat. -Jenn

  5. 2 words: lasic surgery. I have never once regretted having it, except that I wish I'd had it done 20 years sooner. No more glasses, Yay! Fancy sunglasses, Yay! No more fumbling around 'looking' for my glasses. Best part, it was tax deductible.
    It got down to -40* last night, and that's -40* no matter which system you adhere to.
    I empathize with packing water out to the critters, we did so for many years. Our Richie waterer has stood up to some of the worst weather imaginable, but the hydrant INSIDE the barn freezes solid yearly... it's a touchy subject around here.

  6. Smart Dog! Looks a lot like how my days have been going. Stay warm!

  7. Alicia,
    I'll join and the "fair weather" club! My biggest dilemma is all the extra clothes and heavy boots. I'm not a fast mover and all those layers don't help my cause. In addition, they have to be put on in just the right order so getting dressed takes awhile.

    I understand the extra work that comes with extreme weather. Be safe and stay warm as you care for your livestock and barn animals.

  8. It was horridly cold here in Kansas, too, last weekend. I'm glad it warmed up a little. Merry Christmas!


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