Thursday, January 15, 2009

Was that my finger that just fell off?

Things are just a little on the chilly side here in Eastern Iowa. When I woke up this morning and turned on the weather report, the poor weather guessers were trying to come up with new, unique descriptions for the degree of cold that is upon us. The fact is, it's just plain cold! When I finally ventured out ( after adorning myself with; 2 layers of socks, a set of Cudle Duds, 4, yes 4, sweaters, Carharrts and my jeans) it was -25 actual temperature and somewhere in the neighborhood of -45 wind chill. It is supposed to get worse than that tonight.

I am a worrier. I worry about my animals out there in the cold when there is not a lot I can do about it. I spent a good part of the morning trying to make certain that everyone had adequate bedding, feed and water, that they were out of the wind and as comfortable as possible. I added some heat lamps into the chicken barns along with 2 bags of extra bedding a piece, which seemed to help to an extent.
That brought the girls from -40 up to a balmy 0 degrees (0 degree?) inside the coop.
The barn kitties have their little houses full of straw that seem to keep them pretty warm...well, that along with the excessive amount of fat that they carry around.
Before we had such a problem with foxes getting our chickens, I used to have a few of my old hens that would run free and then roost in this barn with the cats. The crabby old hens would chase the cats out of the boxes and use them for nest boxes, the cats would later go back in and lay on the eggs. We had a great time telling my 4-year-old grand nephew that the kitties layed the eggs....maybe we should set him straight before he starts school.
I am not looking forward to our electric for this the chicken barns we have 2-250 watt heat lamps, plus base heaters for each of the chicken water tanks. The base heaters are on a thermostat, but when you are talking 40 below temps, you know those puppies are running constantly to keep the water from freezing. We also have separate tank heaters for the ewes, one for the rams, one for the horses, and one for the barn cats (heaven forbid the cats have to walk over and drink out of any other water tank).
While I was tending to my chores I came up with some observations pertaining to frigid weather.
If you are going to buy sweet feed containing molasses, maybe you should not do that whilst the temperatures are 40 below...the feed tends to come out in a big chunk retaining the shape of the bag that it was previously resting molasses in January...hmmmmmm.
If you normally collect eggs twice a day, better make it 3 times at least....eggs don't fare well in this kind of weather.

Whiskers, of any kind, are frost collectors.

I know that most of the country is just as cold right now, so I hope you are all staying warm......I just got some seed catalogs in the mail, so spring is just around the corner, right????


Nancy K. said...

I LOVE the frost on the whiskers pictures!!!

My chickens are laying eggs all of a sudden ~ and I don't have any heat lamps on in their un-insulated, open-doored barn! My poor babies...

You are THE greatest sister in the whole, wide world!


Crosswinds Farm said...

Thanks Sis!
Big (((hugs)).

Unknown said...

Its not as cold here as it is your way but for me -14 was cold this morning! I love the picture of the horses eyes......very captivating!! I too worry so much about the animals outside! Did you find your finger by the way? LOL

Michelle said...

LOVE the outstanding whiskers shots! That's as close as I need to get to your cold temps, however....

thecrazysheeplady said...

Beautiful pictures!

Karen said...

Beautiful pictures and adorable kitties...

Shula said...

What a great idea for the barn cats. It's not as cold here in MA but it's pretty darn cold so I might try that for my two this weekend. I know it's cold when I have to break out a second blanket for my horse. Of course he hates it as it builds up static when I take the top layer off.

diane said...

I LOVE the whisker pictures too!

Gone2theDawgs said...

That is just a "bit" too cold for me...when it approaches 0 I start to whine. I'm like you I worry, worry, worry about my animals (everyone at work calls me the Mother Hen). We don't have any power down to the barn/shelters (it's the first thing to do on my list this summer!)

Love the barn kitty pics, (my kitties can identify with the excessive amounts of fat....):)

The whisker pics are THE BEST!!:)

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