Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's a little cold here-- Revised

ok, here is the revised entry with the pics. I thought that I added them yesterday, but it did not post, so I will try again.

I have lived in Wyoming for a little over a year now. Last winter, Belle and Foxy shared a barn with 20+ other horses with automatic waterers and someone to feed them in the morning. Shooter’s dog house was in the garage with a doggy door and we had Puma. Her food and litter box were upstairs and I only went up once a day to tuck the kids in bed. This year, since we bought the property and a ton more animals, so the morning starts off a little differently than last year.
First we fill the gallon water jugs.
Then the grain buckets are checked for oil. 1 cup for Barnaby and two for Belle.
(We leave the oil in the house because it is just too cold).
The outside temperature is checked. This morning it was only -5° F. That is 37 ° below freezing. That is a lot better than last week when we had a night of -32 ° F. So we load the gallons of water out to the wagon.
(Actually, we only haul out the gallons of water if it is 10 ° F or below. It is just too cold to haul out the hoses if it is below that. The effort of the gallons definitely outweighs the pain of a frozen hose later in the day)
Then the grain buckets.
The chicken and dog bowls
(meat scraps for the puppy, everything else for the chickens)
generally get hauled to the barn by one of the kids as do the rabbit waters
(except this morning the kids forgot the dog bowl AFTER I reminded them on my way out the door and Mr. BPA reminded them, too).
One of the rabbit waters must be thawed out and given to Cinnamon, the doe with 6 babies that are currently living in the house. We brought them in the day before the -32 and have been letting them grow and the temperature to improve before we send them out to the cold, cruel world.
(We had duplicates for each of the three cages, but these rabbits are a little aggressive and the fryers turned on the runt and tried to kill her. I once lost one of my favorite does to her own litter when they turned on her, so they have been away from Mom for over a month. I left them all together for warmth, but they are now separated and I haven’t bought new bottles yet)
While a few of the people are doing this, everybody is getting geared up for the Antarctic exploration. Gloves, hats, scarves, coats, bibs, the whole nine yards. Mr. BPA actually puts on two coats, his warm one and then a light one on top so that his parrot
(Rascal the cat, but when he is doing chores, she must be perched on his shoulder, this pic is not of Mr. BPA, it is too dark for pics at feeding time, this was the day of -20 and an attempt at a group pic and Mr. BPA has a lovely beard for Rascal to chew on. I merely have ears for her to cling to when she doesn’t want to get off of my shoulder. Yes, both ears have cat scratches)

can sink her claws into the fabric rather than the slick heavy coat that she slides around on (isn’t he so sweet) One of these days, the kids will be able to put all of this on without at least one of them getting to the barn and freezing their hands because they forgot their gloves.
(How do you forget your gloves in -32 ° F weather? It’s not like showing up at the carriage barn after driving from the house and then realizing that your third pair of gloves got left on the dryer from last night. The second that you walk out of the house, the cold attacks, attempting to invade and penetrate any exposed flesh. The walk down to the barn is 100-120 feet. I would think that you could figure it out by then, rather than whine once you got down to the barn)
Then we start by dumping the grain into the buckets. Barnaby’s goes into a bucket hanging on his door. Belle’s goes into a flat bucket in the breezeway and the oil is allowed to drain as the windows to the hay racks are opened. Shooter is also let out of his stall. He sleeps in the barn for warmth. During the summer, his dog run was outside. His stall is left open just enough to let the cats in and out, but he stays in (most of the time) Sassy, Princess, Mystique, Sergeant, and Foxy get 1 quart of complete feed to supplement the hay. Lady gets 2 cups of Foal grain. I let Belle out of her stall and she will stand in the breezeway, dripping grain on Shooter’s head as they share her grain. Foxy will eat all of the grain if she is fed in their stall. (Belle, Foxy, and Lady share stalls connected by their outside run that runs down four stalls to Barnaby’s run. Shooter’s stall and the rabbit stall do not have outside doors) Lady is fed her grain out of a bucket to prevent Foxy eating that, too. She must eat in her stall, though, because if she gets out, then she wants to play, not eat. We used to just stand guard over Belle’s grain, but there is just too much to do in the winter to have an adult keep Foxy from Belle’s grain. Lady’s doesn’t taste good enough for Foxy to put up much of a fight and with a small grain bucket; she doesn’t normally get her head in very easily, anyway. Foxy then gets 3 flakes to keep her busy while Lady is still finishing her grain. The other horses get their hay while Critter and Mr. BPA break ice. The kids feed the chickens, give them more water (they have one of the few heated water buckets) feed the cats, dump the ice out of the cat dish and refill with some water from the gallon jugs, rotate rabbit waters, feed the rabbits, feed the dog, fill up his water bucket, (he got a heated bucket over the weekend, too)
Once the ice has been broken on all the horse waters, then the kids come around with the gallon jugs and fill up the buckets. They don’t get filled up all of the way, but enough to get them through breakfast and out to pasture so that the temperature can warm up enough to break out the hose. When the temperature does not reach 0 ° F as the high, this is not fun. One of the things on my wish list this year is a water heater that can heat up the water in the tank in 10 minutes. Next year, I want de-icers in each tank. (They even have heated rabbit bottles!)


  1. Okay, #1- ditch the gallon water jugs. Go to a grocery store with a bakery like Smiths, ask at the Bakery if they can save the three gallon icing buckets for you. When you have enough, fill those in the house, first lining the buckets with a trash can liner, then twist tie at the top after it's full.

    See? The water stays in. Reuse the trash bag.

    Next, #2) Somewhere I have stock tank heaters, I think. Somewhere. If I find them you can have them. Here is what you do: You buy a 100 gallon stock tank, put it in the barm, fill it once a week or so from the hose, have Mr BPA make a simple plywood cover with a trapdoor & handle. Put a stock tank heater in it and when the horses go out for the day, "float" your buckets lined with ice in the water until the ice comes lose, then dip buckets to refill just before the horses come back in for the evening.

    Also, to keep the hose froom refreesing you store it in the stock tank under the (heated) water. Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesey.

    I lived in Missouri for 8 years. You mock me for the Salt Lake temps right now, but I'm well versed in bitter, bitter cold, my friend.

  2. All I can say is -32?? o_0 I wanna see some Lady pics! I bet she's still growing like crazy!

  3. SD- thanks for the ideas. I had already been dropping the rabbit waters in shooters heated bucket during the day, so this is just a much larger version of it.

    Stacey-- I will post some soon. I have been meaning to take some to demonstrate just how thick their winter coats are. Belle's is really thick.

  4. SD- we go with the 1 gallon jugs because
    1-they are oil jugs from Belle and Barnaby's supplements and
    2- All five rugrats can carry at least one.

  5. Oh, for some reason I thought you loaded a wagon. But really, a stocktank (with lid) mand a heater is fabulous.

  6. Wow I must have been really really tired when I wrote comment #1 because I know freezing is not spelled with an "s" and barn with an "m".

    Of course it could be my sub-par typing skills.

  7. I will forgive you. We do load them in the wagon, but we make the kids do it. Why else have them, right? We thought that we would be down again before Christmas, but it isn't working out that way, so have tons of fun this weekend!