Category Archives: Life on the Farmlet

Relative indicators: cold, colder, coldest!

Saying this winter is cold is an understatement.  We may not be in the negative digits as those to the north of us are suffering, yet I believe it is all relative.  Let me explain that statement.

The serious bits…

We are all facing a propane shortage.  Because of this shortage, the Governor of our state has declared a state of emergency.  This will protect us from price gouging.  Cold below freezing will hurt you, and if you can’t keep your house heated, then sadly, it doesn’t matter how many degrees below freezing you are, below freezing is going to hurt you.  I had no idea about the propane shortage when I called to have our tank filled yesterday, and I am grateful that it is full now, because we don’t have a fireplace here.  Normally we get through the winter with only one fill up.  This was our second!

We in the eastern portion of the nation, and this does include the deep south, are facing unseasonably cold winter weather!  Homes built in the south are not accustomed to prolonged freezing temperatures.  We are near the Tennessee border and our walls are pretty thin.  The further down towards the gulf you go, the thinner and less insulated your home will be.  When it gets this cold you might as well be living in a cracker box!  This also means higher energy costs. Few living in the south have a home that was built to be protected from frozen pipe damage or insulated well enough for sustained freezing temperatures.

For all the water we have here in the form of rivers, lakes streams and reservoirs, it may seem quite odd that there were some localities that experienced a water shortage.  This was due to all the households running their taps at night to keep their pipes from freezing.  No one wants to waste water,  yet in weather like this, it has to be done.

Then there are the animals that are affected.  I’m not so worried about my own, because I have provided them with a heat source, unfrozen water, and warm, protected shelter.

On realizing that we were headed into the deep freeze, with possible windchill factors below zero, we put up a wind break for the poultry.  It works really well for the chickens, but for the most part, the geese seem to ignore it and wander about the yard looking for anything that is still edible (not freeze-dried  ;) ).  Well, I suppose they do have a layer of fat and all that down to keep them warm.

P1068404-2“What!  You gave the chickens a heater? Where’s our heater?”

Ever wonder where the wild things go to find food and water?  Well, apparently here in N. Alabama,  they are getting it from my chickens and geese!

On keeping a sense of humor…

Now it must be said that even in all this cold, there is still some fun to be had!  Remember the property across the way with the derelict house on it?  Well, now that it is cleared, and a proper berm tractored into place, we have a smallish catch basin.   (It is kind of a swamp really, but the frogs will think its grand in the summer.)  For now, it is frozen over and the neighbor kids have begun using it as an ad hoc skating rink!

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Did you ever wonder:  “How do the little squirrels stay warm?”

They move FAST!

This squirrel has a scratch feed addiction!  ;)

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No matter where we are in this cold season, and whatever the circumstances we face, we have to be aware, be safe, help others in need, try to stay warm, and if possible, to keep our sense of humor intact.

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Sending blessings out to all who are suffering in this weird weather!  

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Life goes on…

Where do I start?

If you live in the east or the deep south, then you know what COLD is.  Me?  I never experienced anything colder than 30 degrees till we moved here, and now we are getting lows in the single digits.  The lowest so far was 4 degrees, and with a little wind chill added it was well below zero.

Now I know it is far worse for many and I wouldn’t bring it up, but our part of the country is known for its heat, humidity, and sultry atmosphere… practically Jurassic in summer and maybe a frost or two in winter.

To make it worse, the weatherman either lies or doesn’t know what he’s up against, you know I jest here, but on the serious side, he predicted an overnight low of about 17 degrees and when we woke up I had over two inches of ice on the goose’s water buckets!  It had actually dropped to 6 deg. overnight.  Perhaps that beautiful crystal clear night sky had a lot to do with it?  Well, actually, I am certain of it.

Our plumbing in the south is not made for this weather.  We are keeping the pipes from bursting here by letting the water drizzle out overnight.  No pressure expansion from freezing water this way.  However, up at the Mountain Farmlet we did not have that option.  Can’t let it run 24/7 now can we?

We did cut the water to the house, left the spigot open, and this worked until our first 5 degree night.  Last weekend we found that the main had burst at ground level, and under the house of course!  The water will remain off for the duration of this weird cold, and the rent-a-potty will be back till further notice.  Sadly,  it is simply too cold to safely do much of any work up there at the moment, so we are going up to check doors and windows, fill the kitty feeder, make sure their water is still full and unfrozen in the heated water dish, and that the kitties are OK.  In case you’re wondering, we have made friends with another neighbor who has agreed to look in on them in our coldest of weather, and to make sure the raccoons haven’t raided their food again!  :shock:

So how does the lady of the Farmlet stay warm when out feeding and watering her charges?

Fleece long johns, two fleece robes, an old London Fog rain coat, fleece gloves, a thick velvet neck scarf, and the infamous Crazy Chicken Lady hood.  ;)

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How I’m surviving the cold, or, how old ladies do selfies.  ;)

NOTE:  If the cold *water  er, weather is forcing you to leave a sink running, and the sound of it drives you crazy, as it does me, then you might try this trick:

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Take an old pair of panty hose, cut off one leg and tie it to the spigot.  Voilà!  No nagging dripping sounds to keep you up all night.  ;)  Hint:  adjust the end to find the most quiet position at the drain. 

Hey, whatever works, right?

*(Thank you, Sweetie!  ;) )

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Oh, the knee?  Still racked up, and I don’t go back the Dr. till next Tuesday.  :|  However, I have purchased a cane to assist me in getting around.  It is much more comfortable than the staff, and affords me courtesies in public I never knew existed!  :D

Injured, and trying to mend.

Wondering where I’ve been?

Well, I am out of commission.  Somehow I have (re)injured my knee and I can’t stand for very long to do much of anything (cooking/cleaning) because it swells up so bad inside that I can feel it out the back of my knee and up my thigh.  I also can’t sit for too long to rest it because then it freezes up and I am positively crippled upon standing again!

I am currently living on 100mg Celebrex and hobbling about on Bob’s walking stick.  The tree is still up, the chores are piling up, and I am fed up!   :(   I am calling the Dr as soon as I press the publish button.

On a humorous note:  We went to see the newest Peter Jackson Hobbit extravaganza and I was worried they wouldn’t let me in with my rather large walking stick.  Bob laughed and quipped:

They will just think you are in character.  What you need is a wizards cap and cape!

He was right, no one really noticed me and my “weapon”.  ;)

On other topics, so far 2014 is coming in on frigid winds and ice-cold temperatures. It is 10:30 in the morning and our current temperature is 21 degrees.  Over the next few days we will continue to get below freezing temperatures and the temperatures will stay well below freezing even for the highs.

The worst of it will be Monday with a high of 20 degrees and a low of 5 deg, and Tuesday is not much better with 23 H and a 12 L.  You know this California expat is still not used to this kind of winter weather!

I have express ordered a heated water bowl for the Mountain Farmlet.  I would have just picked one up at the local pet store or the Co-op… but this is the Deep South and they don’t really stock them here.

How are you surviving the cold where you are?

Photo Friday: mother nature decorates

Wednesday I awoke to very cold air inside and out.  In the dark I hadn’t  a clue as to what had happened while I slept.  A bit later I braced myself for the cold,  and properly geared up,

I stepped outside…

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In twenty-five degree air

my nose stung from the cold,

my fingers went numb,

but it mattered not. 

The Farmlet had become enchanted!

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Have a blessed weekend!