The next few days should be interesting. Weather reports range from cold rain, an ice event or 8 inches of snow, making it hard to prepare for the upcoming storm. This cold February is not going to give up easily.
At the barn level of the property, we still have traces of snow left from two weeks ago. Up in the woods, several inches remain where the open areas of the forest allowed the snow to blanket all the new seedlings.
Our usual Tuesday firewood delivery has been moved up to today, just in case we are not able to get out of the driveway with the load.
This afternoon will be spent checking the drainage around the barns and filling stock tanks in case of power outages. If there is any daylight left after preparations, we will be out in the barn bundling wood for what may be an urgent need for firewood at the stores where we have contracts.
It is a snowy, icy scene as I sit in the warmth of the house with my morning coffee.
The light coating of snow has frozen over night and then a cold rain came in and crusted over the snow.
In the far distance the bulls are moving about under the tall firs and out by the barn. They are wondering when their breakfast is going to be served.
They may have to wait for me to enjoy climate control and another cup of coffee before their question is answered.
A couple of years ago on Christmas Eve just before the evening chores, I slipped on a patch of ice as I stepped off the sidewalk and twisted my ankle and foot.
I knew that once I had my barn boots off, the swelling would keep me from putting them back on again. The chores got done, but it was a painful go. Sure enough, once I got into the house and removed the boots I found that I had black and blue and purple all around my heel, up to my ankle and down to my toes. I had bunged it up good, but since I could still move in every direction felt that nothing had been broken. Continue reading
Most of the snow is gone from the fields and where ever it had fallen naturally. The driveway, roads and any paths that were compacted still are icy.
Driving the Gator on the ice is fairly easy, but stepping off can be a whole new scenario.
This is Mike and the dogs loaded with the morning hay coming down the driveway and headed for the cows across the river.
The river is still pretty high while the last of the snow and ice is melting. The cows will not try to cross back over, they are usually pretty smart about staying on the side that feeds them.
I like to refer to this picture as a view from my office.
This is looking out at the Nehalem River as we are heading across to feed the main herd.
The snow and cold have caused extra work on the farm since before the first of the year. But when I take a moment to take a look at the view, I am awed by the sheer beauty of it all.
It’s scenes like this that take my breath away, but it may just be that the thermometer was reading 4 degrees at the time. Either way, this is my commute and it would be hard to trade this for a different life.
The main herd of 20 pregnant cows are still being fed twice daily in outdoor feeders while the snow continues to stubbornly stick around.
The cows, after meals, wander up under the tall fir trees during snowy weather for protection. When the temperatures drop and the cold nights freeze the ground solid, the herd heads on trails in the snow that they had established weeks ago.
Single file on these trails are the safest for the cows and the calves that they are carrying. One slip on the hard crusted snow could break a hoof, fracture an ankle or displace a hip.
The herd has been able to stay upright and healthy through this cold stretch of winter.
Those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest remember winters past where we would have snow days that lasted a week with totals of 5 feet or more. But new-comers (those who have moved here after 1980) were not exposed to those more extreme, cold snowy winters and don’t remember sledding and skating on local lakes. Continue reading
It may seem strange, but 2017 is turning out to be the year of the sock.
This is my third post this month that deals with socks. I did not plan it but it just happened to be a re-occurring theme.
Today the story is about a sacrifice, I cut up a pair of panty hose to slip over my work boots during the ice storm that slickened every surface of the farm.
For two reasons, I used ivory colored nylons. Reason number one, I could not remember the last time I wore ivory tights (for that matter, I can’t remember the last time I wore any pantyhose, but that is a whole different story).
Reason number two, I happened to have a pair stuffed in the back of my sock drawer.
So I didn’t feel bad about the sacrifice as I hacked the hose into four lengths sans the panty part. I slipped one length over each of my boots, then I slipped ones on Mike’s boots.
The nylons were tight enough to hold on the boots as we trekked outside to feed the cattle. The mesh of the tights gave just enough traction so we did not slip on the thick layer of ice that covered all surfaces.
The pantyhose worked great, but we had to be careful to keep moving our feet because the mesh would freeze to the surface causing the hose to rip and tear. The tights only lasted for one feeding but that was enough to give us the traction we needed during this winter storm.
Handy household tips are great. Better yet, handy farm tips are even greater than that. Anything that saves me a little time, or elbow grease, or just makes things easier in the long run, perks me up and I am willing to give new ideas (that are sometimes goofy sounding) a try.
The local news station was giving ideas about easy snow and ice removal on your car or pickup during the winter months. I already knew about the rubbing alcohol mixed with water in a spray bottle for de-icing a windshield. I had un-frozen door locks with a squirt of hand sanitizer before, nothing new there. But when they talked about covering your windshield wipers with socks to keep them from sticking to the windshield, I thought, I gotta try that! Continue reading