I’m still working overtime on the programming project that’s had me swamped for past few weeks. I believe I’m finally close having this one licked. It’s been a blur of long days, seven days a week, but it’s all good. For the first time in years, the low-carb cruise is happening after the girls are finished with school, so we’ll all four be on board this year. (The girls are already jazzed about having their own cabin.) The overtime hours will cover the cruise and then some.
Today is officially a holiday, but I spent most of it programming. However, we also took some time to prepare for the deep freeze that’s due here in a couple of days.
I took the picture below late this morning. It looks like a dusting of snow in the picture, but it’s actually a layer of snow covered with a layer of sleet. We’re supposed to get more sleet, then more snow, then temperatures dropping to five below zero or so by Wednesday.
During our first winter on the farm, the temperature dropped to 17 degrees one night — and then our power went out. That’s when it occurred to us that we have electric heat and an electric stove. We had a fireplace, but no wood. We couldn’t cook and couldn’t keep the house warm until I went out the next day and bought a kerosene heater.
We took that lesson to heart. We now have the wood-burning stove shown in the picture above and plenty of wood in the barn. Alana and I hauled a load up to the house yesterday, and Sara and I hauled up two loads today. The driveway is a bit steep, but fortunately I was able to bang my boots into the sleet for a foothold as I pulled a garden cart full of wood behind me. If the driveway had been covered with ice, it would have meant taking the long way home: through the front pasture, across the bridge over the creek, then up through the front yard – which is also steep near the house.
We’ll be fine during the deep freeze, but we have livestock to worry about now – plus two big dogs and a cat. I’m told chickens can survive sub-zero temperatures, but I doubt they enjoy the experience. Chareva ran extension cords to both chicken houses and installed heat lamps.
She did likewise for the pigs. They’d probably survive a night of five degrees below zero, but we don’t want them staying alive by burning calories that are better used growing extra bacon. The male pig was outside the warm hoop house voluntarily, so I guess animals do indeed have a different sensation of cold than we do. The dogs were also playing tug-of-war outside today, even though they have access to a perfectly good sun room with a heat lamp.
The flaw in our keep-the-livestock-warm plan, of course, is the fact that the heat lamps all require electricity. If we lose power, I don’t think we can invite the hogs, chickens, dogs and cat to all sit near the wood-burning stove inside without a riot ending in carnage. It occurred to us last night that we should have added a gas-powered generator to our power-outage plans.
We figured on getting one today, but that’s obviously not going to happen. The roads are too dangerous to risk a drive into town. Almost nobody was driving on the highway that runs past our property today. The few cars I saw were moving so slowly, you’d swear they were driven by nuns. There was already a power outage in a different area of Franklin, which means everyone in that area probably snapped up the available generators.
So we’ll just hope the power stays on and the livestock stay warm. If the power goes out, we’ll hope they survive. If they don’t survive … well, I guess we’ll be storing a helluva lot of chicken and pork in our freezer.