Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bitterly Sunny

After a week of spring-like melting and grayness, we are back to sunshine and COLD. I am sure it seems colder than it really is after that teaser January thaw, but the radio did say we had -35F windchill this morning.
Hauling water continues to be our most demanding chore. Our faucet bib is frozen up, the heated hose doesn't work worth a darn, and now the geese's water heater is kaput. We are providing bins of tepid water a few times a day to the geese -it freezes into a huge ice cube in couple hours. Of all the animals, I suspect the geese and ducks most fervently anticipate spring when they can play in water once again.
The cows drink about 30 gallons of water every day. We fill the 5-gallon buckets in the kitchen and pull them out to the shed on a little plastic sled, two at a time. The water is poured into a round plastic pool with an immersion heater to keep it from icing up. A couple times a week, I find the pool frozen solid and the heater on the ground--Reuben must sometimes catch the cord with his horns and flip it out.

On these very cold days the cows consume nearly 50% more than in more temperate weather. On a nice day they may eat one bale of hay and on a very cold day a bale and a half. Both calves still nurse occasionally - even though the Jersey steer, Reuben, is now taller than the cow Lariat, a Dexter (Dexters are a very small Irish breed.) In this photo, Lariat is looking at the camera, her calf Lasso is the small one in the center and Reuben is the tall, gangly teenager calf behind. Reuben and Lasso were born on the same day!


Linda said...

In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine such low temperatures, and all the extra chores that come with it. Heated hose? Never heard of such. For sure your world is beautiful.

Callie said...

Brrrrrr... Very cold. I hope you don't have to haul water all winter. I think it is cold here when it is in the 20's. But -35 I don't even want to think about. Love your barn. The animals looks so well cared for and happy.

Anonymous said...

Your lovely photos depict such a wonderful life on your farm. Sigh. I envy you, even though I know it's a lot of hard work. :)

katiegirl said...

I'm sending some warm thoughts your way. It's gotten cold here again too, but nowhere near as cold as where you are. I went out with wet hair this morning to feed the animals, and ended up with haircicles in no time.

Susan said...

Thanks for all the warm thoughts. Really, altho we complain about the cold, it's no problem if you are appropriately dressed. There is something invigorating about that sharp, clean air. Cold builds character in us Minnesotans and makes us treasure every sweet summer day.