Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today is very cold. The babies were cold, thirsty, and hungry when I came out this morning. Unfortunately when we go out at 8:00 AM and it is -8 degrees the water doesn't stay un frozen for long. All we can do is re fill their water when ever we can, and try to make sure they get sufficient food, and lots of hay for both food and something to help them keep warm.

 The Lady of the House got some great photos for this morning, and was trying to get some to show the frost frozen on Twilight's whiskers and muzzle. It isn't as pronounced as it has been at times because she'd been bouncing around and shaking it off before this photo was taken. If you look closely though you can see the frost near the center of the photo. She is doing alright, and is eating and drinking as much as she can as soon as it comes out. Other than that she, like the others is staying in the enclosed private areas to keep the wind off.
The only ones without a private area are the babies. As a result they tend to stick together in groups. The exception being the three biggest ones are always the first to move away from the group and demand food. The babies are getting big and doing well despite the cold. We haven't been weighing them since Christmas due to the long break. I'm wondering if that may come back to bite us since they're no longer as used to being handled. That said, it's far far too cold for us to be pulling them out and away from their fellows, and too cold for us to be out there longer than we need to be. One other thing complicated this morning, and that was the barrel latch on Twilight's hutch. The knob fell off and thus the locking pin of the barrel latch fell through and to the ground. It's not the first time this has happened, but this time between the cold and the snow I couldn't find the knob. The long and short of it was spending 10 minutes combing through rabbit poop and snow looking for a brass knob unsuccessfully. Finally I grabbed a bit of pallet wood and a nail and secured the door shut with a wood latch. It'll work to keep the hutch closed just fine, but it was a frustrating morning. 

Today's level of cold led to a first for us, the stream out back froze over solid for the first time since we moved in. Not just a skim of ice over the water. I could jump up and down on it, and smash on it with a hammer without breaking through it. I am curious how the wild animals are doing since they're going to have to break through to get to water, or get to a faster flowing river like the one half an hour up, or the river at the base of the hill. I thought that I'd reached a point where winter was just annoying, and we were passed the point where I'd see beauty in it. It still is annoying, but I can't deny that there is a real beauty to the world at the moment all frozen, and in blues and grays.

Homesteading wise I am very glad we have an electric well fed from deep underground. If we were having to deal with getting water ourselves this would be a very difficult time. I truly enjoy the luxury of a warm shower before going out into this every morning, though I question my wisdom when my hair freezes.

Stay warm everyone, and next week I will return to the coop planning process. Right now I have some real research to do, especially on the foundation.


  1. Great post. Thanks for the update and try to stay warm!

  2. Couldn't wild animals just eat snow to get water?

    1. In theory yes, they could. However one can't do that for long as a human or as a wild animal. It drops your core temperature a lot, so you have to burn a lot of energy that is scarce due to the scarcity of food. Most wild animals when things are frozen rely on berries still on bushes, moist foods, and stored food that has gotten wet, and thus has moisture in it. More likely in our area they are digging to get to seep wells like the one that we have the game camera focused on, but it's cold enough that's likely frozen thus my curiosity of where they are drinking.

    2. Interesting. I never considered the effect on body temperature. Thank you!