We started a few days ago with the barn and the goats. We rolled over the small shed the buck and wethers use for shelter so it would be on grass covered ground instead of poop dirt.
Then we put in a thick layer of old hay for bedding.
We will have to be pumping or carrying water for the next few days. It is nice to have a barn that we can shut down to keep out most wind and precipitation. This keeps the does warmer than it otherwise would be. The last time we had a farm and goats we had a lofting shed. It was great and we learned a lot there, but we really enjoy this barn.
We don't have electricity in our barn or chicken house so we provide them with the shelter we can. We are wondering how the chickens will do in single digits. Their house is enclosed which will protect them from wind and precipitation. We really hope they do well.
Next we covered the vents under our house to keep the bitter cold out.
We topped off our gas tanks and added a gasoline additive to both vehicles to help with condensation in the tank and gas lines. Then we put the truck in the barn to keep it from getting iced over. Frank tackled a project he has wanted to do for a while. In the past when the weather got
cold, we plugged in the block heater on the car using an outlet on the outside of the house that is not protected from the weather. Frank has wanted to have an outside outlet under the carport that is connected to the garage. To do that he had to empty a shelf or two and deal with the short wires connected to this outlet. The man that built this house and garage didn't believe in extra wire. He left the absolute minimum needed to connect any outlet, switch or light fixture. This makes any work of this kind difficult, not to mention having to twist and turn and work through a shelving unit. Tedious to say the least.
Putting the outlet on the wall outside was a breeze compared to getting
the wires out there to begin with. Frank also used a vise and some ingenuity to create a wide hook to hang the extension cord on out of a open eye hook. This is a great addition to make things easier and safer to work with. Now the car is under the carport, ice free and easy to plug in. This is not a very noticeable project, it already looks like it has always been there. But many times it is the small details that make things run so much smoother. We have the jeep ready in case we need to make an emergency run. It just works better in ice and snow. It was bought in Anchorage, it likes the cold.
Another preparation Frank made was to fill our water jugs. Some needed to be emptied and refilled with fresh water. We figure this will give us about 50 gallons of potable water. These containers have a spigot in the lid. They are made to be set up on a cabinet on the side with the spigot. I hope we don't have to use them, but if we do, they are very convenient. We have other water stored, but this is our ready water.
If the power goes out we will fill up the bathtub and washing machine right away.
This will give us water to flush the toilet with as well as take a sponge bath if the need arises.We will also make sure our Katadyn water filter is full, along with a few more pitchers and buckets. This will last us quite a while.
We got up this morning to a layer ice covered by a layer of sleet that quickly became covered by a layer of snow.
About mid-morning Frank realized we needed to check the grey water drain line. It has begun gurgling again over the past few days and we have had plenty of precipitation. With lows forecast in the single digits tonight, we didn't want the drain line to freeze up in a puddle and prevent us from
running water to keep the water lines from freezing. So, there was another snowy chore to do. He went out and got a hoe and made sure there was a good channel for the water to drain from. He found a few chunks of soap. This is what he calls the cholesterol of water drain lines. It can clog it up if you're not careful.
When we headed out to do the chores, we found that the overnight ice, sleet and snow had essentially locked up the chicken house door for us.
I had to call Frank over from his gray water chore to help clear off of the steps so I could gain access to the chicken house and give them some warm water. Frank headed back to the drain line and I headed up to the barn.
The goats were ready for some breakfast and so was Pearl. Having the barn shut down really makes a difference in the temperature and comfort level when the snow is coming down.
Pearl and the cats are really enjoying the snow.
Frank had the water running briskly through the gray water ditch to make sure there was a free channel when I finished up at the barn.
We also checked Frank's radio antennas while we were outside. There is a layer of ice on them and they are sagging some, but don't look dangerously heavy. We hope the freezing drizzle forecast for Saturday night and Sunday doesn't add to the problem. Some interesting information for those of you following the radio information. Frank was able to listen to Spain, Florida and Texas this morning. He participated in the Texas net sharing the weather conditions in our area. There are also some of the regulars in our area talking on the VHF repeater which covers a large area. After a while they started checking on each other to make sure all is well. If someone had not been heard from by noon, phone calls for welfare checks were made. Radio can be a great hobby, but it can also be a very effective life saver, especially in dangerous times like severe weather conditions.
The snow is pretty, but this time, we are not very excited about it. The cold is and will be dangerous for man and beast in much of the country for days to come. There is still some freezing precipitation heading our way with an increased chance of losing electricity. It may be good practice for being prepared for winter without the luxury of power, but like everyone else I know, I really enjoy the comforts electricity brings. We pray that everyone in this weather system is safe and warm and prepared. Even though there are many challenges with this type of weather, some that can be deadly, it is a good time to review, take stock and see where you may have deficiencies in your preparations. We pray for your welfare and safety.
Until next time - Fern