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January 5, 2019: The Cold Snap Continues

My title sounds oxymoronic because a cold snap supposedly lasts for just a few days. It’s been below zero here now for a few days, and it’s supposed to get colder. Maybe we are calling this a cold snap because the thought of having to deal with ongoing below zero temperatures is unsettling. And the colder it gets, the greater the focus on survival.

It was -12˚F today. As the temps drop, we are having to be even more vigilant about animal care. I get up and get the fire in the woodstove going, and before we eat, Pete is making sure that all the animals have warm water in their buckets.

Last night I noticed that Thelma the Chicken was not doing well. She just was not her usual lively self. I told Pete as we were pen cleaning that I wanted to bring her inside, but Pete said no. He’s never allowed livestock in the house; the only exception was Rover the Goat. Before I could plead Thelma’s case, he came up with another solution, which was to put one of our four gallon water buckets (filled with hot water) in Thelma and Louise’s upper roost. Pete did this, and thus far, Thelma is just fine.

Today I went with my friend Heather and spent time with her horse Rio and Rio’s buddy Scout. We first pen cleaned and then took the pair for a walk. Neither of us seemed in any way to be deterred by the colder weather. And both Rio and Scout were in good spirits.

Tinni with his blanket
Tinni with his blanket

Beforehand, Heather had indicated that Rio’s back was bothering him. I ran my hand along his topline and he did grow anxious. Then we went for a mile walk. Both horses were very cooperative and fun to be with. We returned to where Heather boards her horse and I again checked out Rio’s back, as I’d done an hour earlier.

Rio was more at ease the second time around. The wheels in my head then started turning. I turned to Heather and then said that on cold days like this one, it takes me some time before I warm up. I then suggested that she put a hot water bottle on his back prior to exercising him.

I then began thinking about our own horses. They too would benefit from warmth being applied to their backs. And, so might the chickens and the goats. And, so might I. So I am going to start amassing hot water bottles and using them for animal and self-warm-ups. I think this is actually one of the best ideas that I’ve had in a long time. I don’t think that I’ll find any at the thrift store right now, so I’ll buy a few.

Pete and I took Tinni and Hrimmi for a walk when we got home. Both were glad to be out and about. It did my heart good to see them so energized on such a cold day. I took Tinni’s blanket off beforehand and I will put it back on him tonight. I will have it warming by the woodstove.

We will continue to adapt if it gets colder. Of course I hope not.

Next: 6. 1/6/20: Aaaay 0ooooooh

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