Saturday, January 11, 2014

Triple Creek Farm, The Arctic Vortex of 2014, January 11, 2014

Cold is coming, an Arctic Vortex, I have watched the weather as this storm made its way across the country, I was hopeful it would start going North before it reached the East Coast but this did not  happen.  We prepared, added bedding to everyone's sleeping area.  Gathered the coolers because they work in reverse when you put warm water and oatmeal in them.  This gave us time to do our chores and refill the water bowls with more warm water before we left the barn lot to refill ourselves with something warm.   Tuesday morning,  I stood there are watched the water freeze in the duck waterer as Mr. Bootsie went to fill another waterer.  Being fearful of frost bite, no one was allowed out on Tuesday.  I had some unhappy animals.  I do believe the chickens were okay with my decision but this was the first time my goats were locked in the barn.

Wednesday Morning conditions were improving and all were allowed to return to life as normal.  Some of the older girls must have liked being fed in the coop because they stayed in and were fed inside on Wednesday.  We prepared for this the best way we knew.  There were some good last minute decisions made.  The barn door was covered with a large plywood sheet as two of the ladies sleep right in front of the door and there would have been a breeze coming thru.  I am so pleased we had purchased hay a few weeks back and had a good supply.  We fed hay and they ate quite a lot as there was nothing to eat in the barn.  The girls in the coop was given additional grain as they pick outside all day.  My biggest problem was with the ducks,  if they did not eat all of the oatmeal it would freeze, I learned to empty their bowl and just put in grain while I was away from the coop.  We did feed warm oatmeal twice a day, morning and night.

I am very pleased for I see no signs of frostbite on Mr. Roo or the girls.  I was satisfied with the preparing we did and everyone seemed to do well even when the temperature was in the single numbers.  The last time our part of the country experienced a chill like this I lived in a more populated area and had no outside animals, this was a lesson learned for me.

The first half of the week was spent making sure we were taking care of the animals and ourselves.  There were a number of trips to the barn filling water bowls, Mr. Bootsie and I worry about their need for water, I really think if they have water they can make it through quite a lot.  There was the replacing of hay twice a day,  we do this daily but not in these temperatures. so we fed extra to help them make heat.  The girls were fed extra scratch earlier in the day to help them build up heat for the early evening cold.  I found myself very tired, I fell asleep every time I sit down.  Meals were made, animals were fed and watered, the stove was fed with firewood.  I learned not to plan to do anything when there is weather like this in the future.  Yes, my responsibility is our animals and ourselves.

The soup, which was canned and stored in the pantry, was heated on the wood stove.  The goats have raspberry tea made from water heated on the wood stove.  I find things stay warm longer when heated on the wood stove.  My preparing went back to the summer when I was making soups, I have learned to try and be prepared for what will come my way.  I must say for two old people and doing this for the first time, we did quite good.  Now I post these lessons I learned just in case I need to return to them another time.

Time has come for me to venture into the tunnel, record breaking low temperatures and I really do not have a lot of experience working the tunnel.  I was in for a surprise, everything in the tunnel was happy expect for the plants Mr. Vole has eaten.  All the plants I had repotted into pots he could not get into were happy and had no shock of being repotted.  I checked the row tunnel and we will be harvesting more of  the Holland greens next week when the temperature is in the 50's. I shall continue my working on discouraging the vole/moles after I have a little more knowledge about my experiment I will share with you.  The girls were so excited to see me appear at the coop with a basket full of chickweed which was grown in the tunnel.

Friday night, I was awaken by rain which has continued all day Saturday.  We have been cutting drainage ditches, trying to explain to the goats we did not ask for this rain but I still was given the evil eye as Saturday was another day in the barn for goats, 2 days this week.  There is water, muck and mud everywhere in the barn lot.  I will be busy moving in leaves to keep us from sliding in the muck.  There are 2 very happy ducks playing in the pond and running through the muck.  I was so pleased to see them get a good bath Saturday morning.

This has been a week!!!  Temperature swing form mid 50's to record breaking lows of 8 degrees F. and returning to high 40's by Saturday.  We have seen so much change in one week, you really do not know how to dress, or what to do for the animals.  The animals adjust much better than humans do.  They seem to go with the flow of whatever is put in front of them.  If my goats get their grain twice a day and the girls are fed they seem to be happy.  The ducks are ready to go inside their little coop at nighttime and have a good supper.  Each morning we are rewarded with an egg from Momma Duck.

I know so many of you have experienced weather conditions of your own which have been overwhelming.  I hope all is well in your corner of the world.  Spring will come at some point, I have not started counting the days but I am thinking about how nice it will be outside planting the garden.