Sunday, February 14, 2021

Bracing for a Winter Storm

 I know so much of the country is currently experiencing frigid weather. Around here, cold mornings call for Steel Cut Oats with apples for breakfast:

And while they were cooking, I put a new recipe our girl shared with me, together in the Crock-pot - Yum! (yes, I'll post it soon and no, I haven't forgotten about the other recipe I promised) 😏

The impending arrival of a winter storm also calls for a double batch of homemade gingersnaps - a longtime favorite of DH's:

We're expecting a quick, 3 day, cold snap, but it will be a stressful couple of days. Our high was 28 today. Earlier this week it was 80. These extreme temperature swings are rough on cattle. DH spent some time winterizing: checking heat lamps in pump houses, wrapping of faucets (he just keeps ours wrapped, but one needed a little re-wrap)

More hay dispersal:

He puts out the bales and I swing the gates and cut the twine:

covering some pipeline, and worrying about the new babies:

Yes, we're in the middle of calving season. Add to that, no grass, plus snow, plus 40 mph wind, plus -0° (even for just 2 days) makes for a worried rancher. DH saddled up and brought a pair back to the house. He has mad trailer backing skills:

The mama looked poor and he was concerned she wasn't producing enough milk so he brought them up to the barn and I fixed a little milk to see if this little fella would suck:

DH unloaded them and I headed to town (about 25 miles to the Farm Store on the edge of town) on a milk replacer run. We were worried if the mama wasn't well enough to feed this little guy and with a storm headed our way, that we'd be in a bind so best to be prepared:

Baby calves ears will surely freeze in this weather. It's just not a good situation. On 128,000 acres, we can't save all of them, but we do what we can. When DH isn't feeding, he's horseback, picking up pairs that are struggling and bringing them into the pens in order to keep a closer eye on them. Skeet welcomes the newest arrival that isn't much bigger than he is:

He's tiny, but he's feisty:

I spent about 2 hours hauling hay from the barn floor to the chicken coop. My chickens are tough. No heat in their poor coop, but the coop stays surprisingly cozy and I haul out warm water to for them. Plus, I made a HUGE pot of steel cut oats in order to have lots of leftovers for them. They are loyal layers:

Filling bird feeders:

 And after tending to chores:

Skeet BEGGED for a walk. When he sees me put on a particular pair of shoes, he goes ballistic so we went for a short walkabout. SHORT being the operative word because I love Skeet, but it was 25°, but it's a small thing to ask in return for joy:

After a long day, we were pooped so I cheated and we gladly dined on frozen pizza on paper plates (saving the Crock-pot leftovers for tomorrow):

Here's hoping the resident rancher will get a good night's sleep. As always, we pray, do what we can and hope for the best. It's not a glamorous life, but I sure do love it. Please remind me of that when I have to crawl out from under the warm quilts while it's still dark out in the morning. 😉


julieQ said...

OH how this reminds me of my youth, when I lived on the farm in Colorado, and we would end up bringing the lambs and calves right into the house porch! Once it got to be 25 below zero, actual temperature...those babies would have just died in such weather. You always provided such lovely meals, and the pizza looks great!! That is a big spread you have to take care of there!

Dorian said...

Good morning my Friend. brrr! I hope that you can spend lots of time snuggled under those quilts. It takes special people to raise animals, take care out there.

Chantal said...

I pray all will be okay after the storm. ;^)

Violet said...

I love steel cut oats. Mine call for a can of coconut milk, a cup of water and a cup of oats. Cook about 30-40 minutes then I add some chopped walnuts, raisins, and a drizzle of maple syrup. You may have covered this in your blog already, but how on earth did you acquire 128,000 acres!? LOVE your wide open spaces. We're having a "cold" snap here in Florida too...getting down to 29 tonight!

Sherrill said...

Oh man, that terrible weather is here now and gonna get worse (and we are NOT used to it!!). I really hate the cold but dang, I don't hafta do what you guys do to prep for it. Animals at your place are WELL cared for and lucky they are. I always think of those in our area who are homeless and won't go to the shelter--I can't imagine.

Barbara said...

I'm always in awe of the hard work and commitment required to live on a ranch. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Lisa said...

Stay warm! It was -18 F here this am with a real feel of -26 F. Hard to keep anything running! Finished up the first quilt top of 2021 and looking for ideas to start another today. Soup and Cinnamon rolls on the menu here!

Tired Teacher 2 said...

Lots of memories triggered by this post. Stockman Warnings were always heeded - new bedding in the corrals, tending water lines, and making sure the littles would be safe. Take care and stay warm.

Donna said...

One of the quilt bloggers I follow in Iowa said her friend had some chickens freeze to death and one had a frost bitten comb!!! Love the pictures of Skeet and the calf! Hope the cold weather passes you by.

Shelly said...

I love it, too, but I have NOT loved it this week, when our daily high temps have been windchills of -18 on average and it's even worse at night. I'm so worried about my goats and whether the furnace will stay running, I can't even sleep! Of course, now is when one of our stock tank heaters would kick the bucket, and for a couple days we chopped ice until it froze so hard that became impossible. So we had to drag out another tank and set it up. It's been impossible to buy a replacement heater locally this winter, so we had to order one online and wait for it to arrive. We had to bring the hunting dogs in the house to keep them from freezing to death. I have 4 beagles in my mudroom! I keep telling myself: just a few more days, just a few more days. This is supposed to break sometime in the next few days, so hopefully soon it'll just be a bad memory, and everyone makes it through all right. Praying for you, cos I know exactly what you're going through!

The Joyful Quilter said...

What a darling photo of Skeet welcoming the new arrival. LOVE!!!

Janet O. said...

I hope the cold snap/storm doesn't do damage to your family or animals!! Praying for you!

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