Quilting, Farming, Variety

Friday, January 24, 2014

Winter Farm Update ~ 2014

Brr-rr!!  This morning we woke up to the coldest day of the winter ~ so far!  The temperature had fallen to around 3 degrees during the night.  I knew it was cold, because in spite of putting more covering on the bed, I was cold all night!  We haven't had rain, ice or snow this go-around, for which we are very thankful because that would make the farm work so much harder to get done.

We have a good supply of wood for heating, but I'm so fearful of fires now since everything is extremely dry and the wind has been very strong; yesterday morning when I cleaned out the ashes, I heard a slight roar in the chimney and smoke billowed out like crazy, so I didn't put more wood inside the furnace just then.  On pretty days we replenish the wood pile; the logs are hauled in from a field we had cleared a couple of years ago.  The farmer saws them up into chunks,

then uses an attachment for the BobCat to split them into sizes for the furnace.

The cold weather has been very hard on the old, weaker cows.  We have lost around eight I think.  Our chickens are twelve days old and will need to be kept at about eighty degrees for a while longer.  We start them in only one half of each house; this means only half of each house has to be heated, saving heating fuel.  Then at eight days we turn them out over the entire length of the house and by the time they are 4 1/2 to five weeks old they are giving off enough heat from their bodies that the heaters are not needed unless it is extremely cold. 

Saving fuel has become very important.  Before these chickens came, the farmer had our 10,000 gallon propane tank filled to 80% at a cost of $1.46/gallon.

This was the reading this morning, after only twelve days of usage.  We hoping we won't have to buy more!  Yesterday we heard there is a shortage of propane and the cost is now $3.90/gallon!  Of course this is bad for farmers, but what about people who use propane for heating their homes and cooking their meals?  This could get serious!

Think about it,


  1. I had heard of the price increase and didn't realize you used it. It is extremely cold this winter isn't it - it was warmer here though than for you a big whooping 10 degrees.

  2. They were just talking on the news tonight about the possibility of a shortage. They asked everyone to turn their thermostats down a degree or two to try and conserve it. We're expecting more snow tonight and tomorrow. I hope you stay safe and warm, Charlotte!

  3. I sure hope it comes down. We use it to and I can only imagine how much it must take for ya'll. It's been a rough winter and I fear the gas will only go higher. I'm glad ya'll haven't had anymore ice or snow. We got just a dusting of snow when it came in here Tuesday but like you we've been waking up to near zero in the mornings. You take care and stay warm.

  4. It's amazing how fast the firewood supply is diminishing. Good thing you had the big propane tank filled before prices soared. I think all eyes will be on the groundhog next week.

  5. And yet, there's a guy out in California trying to keep an outdoor hockey ring frozen in 80 degree weather! I know he's probably not using propane but it all figures in.

    When the price of something shoots up because of shortage, seems like it never gets quite back down to where it was before. I don't know why that is.

    I hope you get through this winter without having to buy more propane. We are having same weather you are but we don't have our chickens anymore so don't have to keep any outbuildings warm.

    Hang in there and stay warm, it's going to be spring eventually! Hugs, Ilene

  6. Wood heat is, in my opinion, a warmer heat than gas or electric. I miss the days of our wood stove. But I don't miss the having to go out in the cold and bring the wood in. lol
    It's scary how high propane has gotten. We were watching interviews on the news yesterday morning of folks who are keeping their homes just barely warm, to keep from running out of propane.
    I hope that your propane is enough to do the rest of the winter. Maybe it'll warm up soon.

  7. That's just unbelievable how much propane you've already had to use out of that big tank. I'm like you - glad we haven't had any snow or ice on top of this cold. Just ready for some warmer weather!

  8. Sorry to hear the cost of the propane. Hope that it will come down in price soon. Hope your little chicks will stay warm enough. Sorry to hear about the cows as well. Wishing you some sunshine and warmth soon! Take Care.

  9. It is scary to think about the price increases of just our basic necessities. I know you're ready for spring --- and just the right amount of spring rains.

  10. I heard the news people talking about this very thing today. I'm so sorry that the prices have shot up. Something said about getting some regulation on price control. I hope so! We don't use propane, but we sure are using a lot of gas and electricity. Hope this cold snap ends soon and your chicks do well.

  11. Here's hoping it gets warmer for you. I have had a heater in my greenhouse ever since I have owned it. This winter, it has been so cold that the our home heater, the greenhouse heater and the chickens heater has made out electricity bill sky rocket. I place heating lamps in the chicken house and greenhouse both, hoping that I might not lose plants or chickens and that our bill will go down. I have heard of the propane shortage. It is such a hard winter for all it seems.

  12. Dear Charlotte,
    What a winter this has been...all over the country! I will be praying that you don't have to buy any more fuel. We heat primarily by wood...and I am so thankful for the huge supply of it sitting outside our kitchen door! Seems like we spent a lot of time cutting and splitting last spring...but I am very grateful right now!

    Hoping it warms up soon for you!