Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Long Winter, Southern-Style

We had a couple of REALLY cold days last week, which happened to coincide with the time when my husband was away on a business trip. That meant I had the responsibility of caring for his livestock (notice I said his livestock!). The main concern was keeping water for them, since the temperature was well below freezing both days. I wasn't so worried about most of the cattle, since they get their water from a running source, which is less likely to freeze. However, the sheep's water was covered with a layer of ice about an inch thick, and the hens' water was frozen solid. The pond the bull drinks from also had some ice, but I don't think it was frozen over completely.

Anyway, I carried water to the hens and broke the ice on the sheep's tank with the splitting maul (like a sledge hammer with an axe edge on one side). That was a perfect tool for the task, and it didn't take much effort. As I was walking back to the house, I remembered reading in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Long Winter about the cattle whose heads were frozen to the ground after a blizzard. The temperatures were so cold that the moisture in their breath froze, trapping the cow in an icy muzzle. Laura's Pa had to go to each of the cattle and break their noses free of the ice. It made me glad to live in the South, where weather is the teens is considered "frigid," and we don't have to deal with blizzards and sub-zero temperatures, and any cold weather we do have is generally short-lived and followed by days in the 50s or 60s!

1 comment:

  1. glad you were able to handle it ok - we left our faucets dripping for two days running so they wouldn't freeze up. I never even thought about livestock - guess that is one of the reasons we don't even have a dog!
    I remember reading all of Laura Ingalls Books - the girls and I loved all of them.