Friday, January 25, 2013


With the near arctic cold, there is no room for error, not an inch of wiggle room. Every chore that involves the animals, the wood stove, or the water must be attended to first time, every time or the consequences could be deadly or at the very least, costly.

The vacuum trap is frozen on the milking system. Nothing to be done about it until the weather changes. Thus only the boss starts the vacuum pump, which runs the milkers. As a manly man he has an ear for do I really, but I am absolutely delighted to allow him the responsibility. He opens the caps on the line so air can flow freely and waits, listening carefully, for everything to thaw out and warm up enough so that they can be closed and milking can begin.

Water hoses have to be coiled and stored in the milk house between fillings of tubs for pens. Usually they are hung on the wall, out of the way, from spigots not in use for other jobs. Now I can't even lay them on the floor away from the cold walls, because they freeze from end to end.Thus we run the water  from the milk house now, a messy, bunglesome job, but it must be done.

The stove must be kept full constantly. Normally two or three times a day is plenty, but now the fills it five or six and checks it every time he walks from house to barn or back again. He must feel like he's chasing his own tail the way he runs around these days.

Ready for anything

The girls' horses get extra bedding and hay. Their buckets were being thawed in the kitchen sink until someone complained about hay clogging the they are hauled to the milk house, thawed and filled with warm water, twice a day. 

Thirty degrees seemed wintry and cold a couple of weeks ago and I didn't think highly of the ice that formed each night. However, I am ready for their return....any day now....

And just think, any day now, it is almost February after all, the maple season will begin. I hope this cold spell will cause the trees to really crank out some sap for the maple producers this year. Good stuff!


Cathy said...

Oh that happy note you hit at the end!
" . . . maple season will begin"

Gotta ask. Do the cows get shy when an 'orange-masked' stranger shows up?

And I can't help but to translate those endless chores into calories burned. I'll bet you don't have to skim the fat off your gravy.

Rev. Paul said...

You folks can't seem to catch a break, weather-wise. We're accustomed to really cold weather up here, and things are designed to keep working. But you ... my hat's off to you.

thefarmerslife said...

Hi! I just noticed an incoming link from here to my blog. Thanks for putting it up! I haven't been here before, but this looks like a pretty great site! Hope things warm up for you soon.

Linda said...

Cold weather does make for much more work......and stress. I'm ready for the end of it and according to the forecast it's only to get colder next week.

threecollie said...

Cathy, I love the hope and promise of maple season! Love to get a sapsicle from a broken branch and put it in my coffee! The cows don't really notice the face mask. The dog on the other hand...

Rev. Paul, thanks. I think it is the wide range of weather that causes most of the problems. In normal winter weather the cows need on thermostats, places for air to enter the barn. Then we get a cold snap like this and everything has to be closed, shut off etc. Our barn is very, very a couple of hundred years things that didn't exist when it was built, like automatic water bowls, freeze.

The Farmers Life, thanks so much for visiting! I was very impressed with your blog so I linked to read it myself.

Linda, I am a fan of spring! And grateful, very, very grateful, that we have no calves due right now.

Terry and Linda said...

It's raining here... monsoonal rain. What a huge mud mess we have, but it isn't cold, that is scheduled to hit here on Wednesday...the rest of the weekend and part of the week rain...then horrible freezing weather. I have to keep remembering warmth has to return sometime in March...or April.