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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh Lawz, It's Nasty Cold

~ frozen laundry ~
It warmed up ten whole degrees today...woohoo! It was around seven above zero when the sun came up, not sure what it was when I got up, around 5:30. Like a lot of folks, I shudder to think of my oil and propane bill and the wood stove hasn't cooled down in weeks. It's a real drag and, yes, that's meant literally. Going to the barn, in wind chills well below zero, is rough; even the dogs look at me like I'm crazy and seem to say, "Are you sure those stinkin' barn cats need food?" They think it's okay to go out in the frigid temps to have fun but to do work...hmmm, not so much. And some folks call them dumb animals.
~ Daddy John going to feed his cattle ~
Around here, most farmers wait until, at the bare minimum, daylight to do chores but it's an individual decision to wait until it warms up, the sun shines, the wind isn't howling...there are a  bunch of reason to make the choice and generally based on the safety factor. I hate to get on the tractor when the wind is howling, yet, that's when the animals need hay most. Due to the wind, we have deep snow drifts and huge areas where there isn't any snow; also, these photos were taken on different days.
~ Dandy Man, background with HayJ, left, and Bo, right ~
A combination of factors enter into when I put out hay. Obviously, the most important factor is if the animals are out of hay. That makes it an easy decision. If the wind is howling, that's another negative factor and if there's any sort of moisture...I get the hay out as quickly and safely as possible. Usually, the hay has a round, metal ring around it to keep it from being trampled, but, it's been so cold, I put this round bale closer to the house...better for my safety. Horses produce heat from the gut out and need protein to produce heat in order to stay warm and healthy. All my animals have free choice shelter, water that's warmed with a de-icer and free choice hay. As with humans, it's easier and less expensive to stay well than get well. 
I set out three round bales of hay and do other necessary chores; all that takes me around three hours. Daddy John could do it in a lot less time but he's more comfortable on a tractor than am I; I tend to go v.e.r.y. slowly and carefully. I'd rather take longer and be safe than hurry up and risk a doctor or hospital visit. 
~ barn door trench ~
A couple of weeks ago, it was warm enough to dig out the tractor; the door being frozen due to ground heave. Ground heave is caused by freeze thaw cycles and the mud had frozen to the door, and, using a mattox, I dug a trench so I could open and close the barn door. Freezing weather and door locks do not a good partnership make and, next, the door lock froze. I tried a lot of things before resorting to boiling water poured over the lock. Someone said, "weren't you afraid you'd break the lock?" Trust me, that was the least of my worries!  The same measures were used to open the lock on the wood barn and, tomorrow, I'm going to bring a couple of weeks worth of wood to the back porch. 
When we first moved to the farm, I asked Dave for three things: a well for drinking water, a gas stove for cooking and a wood stove for heating. Our well is 650 feet deep and produces 75 gallons of sweet limestone water a minute; our Acorn cook stove has gas burners and I've written about our beautiful wood stove that heats a portion of the house.
~ mud season ~
There are five seasons on a farm, winter, spring, summer, autumn and mud with mud season happening, on and off, all year 'round. There are times the mud is so deep and thick, my Muck boots are sucked off my feet and not something that bears too close a look when one considers muck...manure, urine, crap and...what about the 'k'? -smile-
~ l to r, Levi, Gypsy, Tippy ~
Back in the house, Levi, Gypsy and Tippy have to be shooed out of the bathroom tub so I can have a bone warming hot soak. After being in the cold for so many hours, my knees feel like shattered glass and only a hot water soak alleviates the pain...well, hot water and a few aspirin. Today was a red letter day; Dr. Ann removed Levi's nubbins so he'll  spend his life healthier although p'raps not happier but he'll never know different and a loving family member. 
~ l to r, Sam, Sadie, Sophie ~
The dogs crowd on the sofa, in the living room where the wood stove keeps all toasty. At the moment, the bone sucking cold is making life difficult and I've heard a "super storm" is headed our way tomorrow. I'm not sure what that means but it sounds like more cold, more snow, more winds and more pain. ugh. Tuck me into prayer, would you, please?

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." ~ Albert Einstein

Today's Miracles ~ sunshine ~ heathy animals ~ successful surgery ~ tub of hot water ~ aspirin ~ good boots ~ round bales of alfalfa hay ~ 


  1. Sandra, I'm stopping right now to pray for you. As always, I take my hat off to the hardworking woman that you are and vow once again not to complain about going out to feed the birds on a cold day when my husband's not here to do it. I do so love hearing about your life on the farm though, surrounded by the animals outside and those comfortable ones inside. I'm so glad you have that gas stove and wood stove, but I do hope your 'lectric doesn't go off.

  2. Hello, I came over from Gumbo Lily (Jody's) blog. The name of your lovely farm caught my eye. I have been reading through your archives and feel a bit as if I am eavesdropping. I just wanted to tell you how much you inspire me. You say you are plodding along but heartbreak is never easy. I feel so much strength in your honest words and hope that you will find joy in the months to come. I know you will. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I am adding my prayers as well, Sandra. May it be, simply, a storm at most.

  4. Praying for you too, often! Take care, God Bless You!

  5. That certainly looks cold. Hope the storm passes you by and that it warms up soon

  6. It's cold here, too, but not as cold as there... Take care!!!
    And we tuck you into prayer :o)))!

  7. Your dedication to your farm is amazing and I also agree I cannot complain about has been bone chilling and below zero and I will not complain...

  8. Hello Dearest Sandra:
    Our hearts go out to you battling in these terrible conditions. We know that it cannot be easy to keep the farm going at times like these and we are so filled with admiration for your courage and determination and, of course, your very natural concern for all the animals. Our thoughts are constantly with you.

  9. Oh Sandra, you will be in my prayers. I don't know how you do it - I wouldn't be able to stand the cold - my whole body would be one big red hive since I'm allergic to cold LOL I'll stick to Georgia where we moan and groan when it gets to 30 LOLOLOL Hugs to you - stay safe in the storm.

  10. Stay's cold here too...not cold by ND standards...but cold by WV standards...snow is forecast too...

    Have a lovely day!

  11. If one could catch a cold through 'puter osmosis', I'd be sneezing, sniffing and sitting in front of the fire right now after reading your bone chilling report of just ONE DAY on the farm. What dedication, woman! I won't even tell you what the temp was here in Texas yesterday...oh, was near 80. Sending heart and soul warming thoughts your way.

  12. Goodness, Sandra, what a lovely post on a BRRRRR awful subject!! :) Do stay warm, you and your animals. Avoid frozen locks, and whatever you do, DON'T stick your tongue to any flag poles - hahaha :) The tub looks inviting, and the woodstove too. Make some soup and stay warm.

  13. Holy crap! [giggle] No wonder you have so many animals, if the heater quits, you can just get in the middle of them and stay warm.
    DEFINATELY tucking you into prayer. Stay warm and do be careful. I won't mention how unbelievably warm it is in SE Georgia ... [hugh grin] xx

  14. Sandra.. oooh, do I Knoooow your Woe. 7 here too, frozen water buckets (one shattered).. have to get new chicken coop heat light today..

    LOVE your horses, beautiful curly paints! and a glimpse at your home full of critters. As it should be :-)

    Stay warm!

  15. Wicked cold here, too, but I wasn't minding it til one of my goats injured a foot this morning. Harder dealing with something like this in very cold weather, as I'm sure you know firsthand! Two epsom soaks today, and if he doesn't look better tomorrow I'll talk to the vet again. Now I wish I could take an epsom soak for my aching joints, but I'd need to borrow your splendid bath!
    Take care, stay warm.

  16. Sandra,
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog during the grow your blog tour. It has been col here, too. The last 3-4 days we have had temps in single numbers with wind chills to 35 below, yup 35 BELOW ZERO!
    Today we are having a heat wave, 20 degrees. Summer is sure to come and I will have comments about the heat I am sure ;)
    Have a wonderful weekend
    Carry on!

  17. I know how you feel about taking care of the animals, and I would do the exact same thing, cold or heat. I believe they know what a wonderful home they have there with you, Sandra. I'm so happy you have that lovely tub for a hot, soothing soak.
    God bless Dave for taking such good care of all of you. You're doing great!!

  18. I'll remember not to secretly whine about waiting at the bus stop with my youngest on Monday! It's cold, but working in it is entirely different. Next week it's supposed to "warm up" some, so hang in there.

  19. Now I know your name, as several people have used it in their comments. :o)
    I just said a prayer for you and am hoping that the weather passed you by, like it did here in Georgia. We were supposed to get icy rain and possibly snow, but alas, nothing.

  20. Hope you didn't get hit with more snow yesterday. It has been as cold here but we only wound up with one inch and a little sleet. Temperatures are moderating. Stay safe!

  21. Sophie is such a cutie - and those bathtub cats - why do animals who hate getting their bodies wet always want to hang out in a sink or tub?
    I hear ya about the knees - one of many reasons I cannot live in colder climate than I have now - totally sissified now about bitter cold.
    Praying as soon as I click off - you are definitely experiencing three dog nights

  22. You are one tough woman my dear. I am such a weenie when it comes to cold weather.

  23. Whew! So much work for you. Looking forward to Spring, especially for you!! I love that the animals have warmed water.... a spot of tea for an afternoon break. Haha!

  24. Oh I loved this post it hits home for me. Take care Hug B

  25. Dewena, thank you; the cold really works on my old bones and I feel it more as the days go by. Dave put in a generator so even if the 'lectric goes out, I'll still have heat, lights and a few "necessities".

    Bonnie, thanks for visiting, you're always welcome here, you are kindness itself. Come by soon.

    Michelle, it was only a storm, thank God!

    Annie, praying for you and yours as well.

    Christine, the storm was only a storm, thank God!

    Timi, it's warmed up a bit but still a fire in the stove; praying for you as well!

    Donna, the animals are my responsibility; I want to practice good stewardship.

    Hi Jane and Lance, you bless me with your friendship, thank you.

    Jill, the cold is easier with a nice bed warmer...more mail to you to follow -smile- and THANK YOU!

    Teresa, I think this winter has been rather mild but my bones are hurting so it must be age, ya think?

    Sue, gosh, you're warm and I bet the sun is shining isn't it? sigh.

    MK, if the thought ever dawned on me, I think I pushed it down -grin.

    Sparky, I sleep with 3 dogs; need I say more?

    Karen, hope you're weathering your storm.

    Quinn, epsom salts is a wonder cure!

    Michelle, you and me both, grin!

    Marsha, bless Dave's memory; he did a great job!

    Astrid, I'm trying to hang in there; it's all I can do.

    Charlotte, hope your storm didn't amount to much.

    Leslie, thankfully, I am staying safe but it takes so much longer to do chores because I'm moving so much more slowly. Hope you're staying safe and warm as well.

    LindaSue, I've gone from sleeping with 5 dogs to 3; is that an improvement? -grin-

    Sandy, cold weather bothers me more as I age so I know what you mean.

    Elizabeth, spring will be quite welcome, yes indeedy!

    Buttons, you take care as well; be safe!


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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