This morning was by far the coldest this winter. I was wearing thick pants under insulated coveralls, a flannel shirt, sweat shirt, my heavy carhart and thick wool socks. It was still the kind of cold that makes your eyes tear up when the wind hits. The tips of my rubber coated gloves (which I strongly recommend, cheap, pretty durable and keep the water off your hands) were frozen stiff after starting work on the chicken waterers.
The chores change in this weather as one might expect. I was up in the middle of the night loading the sole source of heat on the farm, our trusty wood stove. She's a good stove, but now that we're trying to heat the upstairs too, it's time to try and find a second stove to help keep the temperature up. I'll keep my eyes out on craigslist for a good deal, there is already a working second chimney on the farm, so it's just a matter of purchasing some connector pipes. It'll happen, and in the meantime you put on your slippers and wear a sweatshirt. And bake a lot of bread.
The rabbit water bottles usually don't freeze in the barn, with all of the heat lamps in there and doors shut, it generally stays above freezing. But on mornings like this one, I load them all up in a five gallon bucket and bring them indoors. I set the bucket by the wood stove while I'm getting everyone some grain, to thaw enough to get the caps off without busting the bottles. I usually fill them with hot water and spend several minutes thawing out the nipples which freeze up so that no water comes out. It's slow. It's a similar process with the chicken waterers. A good kick and a short 2X4 break the ice off the top of the sheep water bucket. I check it a couple times a day to make sure that it stays open for them. We need a heated water bucket, probably sooner rather than later. I want to look into something that we could use for both the horses and sheep. It's not getting any warmer any time soon.
2013 has brought a few unpleasant moments so far. We discovered yesterday that someone had hacked into our farm bank account, and stole several hundred dollars. By now you know that the farm budget runs tight, and this is an unwelcome surprise. We have seeds to order, a grain bill to pay, and horse supplies to purchase. This is the time of the year when I buy most of the things we will need, and though we are still working to get deposits in for next year's CSA to cover some of those costs, every penny really counts. Kim is headed to the bank this morning to try and straighten it out. The purchases that set of our alarms were out in Texas, and unfortunately clearly for Christmas (gamestop, walmart). I try not to imagine what drives a person to use a card that's not their own. I hope things get better for them. But it still sucks for us.
Overnight the heater in the greenhouse kind of failed. I found a bunch of frozen lettuce this morning. I'm hopefully that when the sun comes up, the plants will defrost and pull through. Won't know until later if this is the case, and it would be a real shame if they fail. A bit catastrophic actually.
This type of thing seems to happen all together, you hit a little patch of bad luck or mishaps and things get messy. We try not to get to worked up, things level out eventually. But it often takes time and some resourcefulness. 2013 tossed us an early curve ball, but I'm going to reserve my hope for the year for the moment. Yesterday though the bank news was rough, we ordered a pizza and wings (rare treat) and sat down with a beer an the seed catalog. I'm feeling much better about our seed order this year versus last year. Just having a year's experience with the field here had made a huge difference in picking varieties and planning for a season. We'll see if it pays off, but at the very least I'm looking forward to receiving the greenhouse specific seeds for a bunch of new greens and early tomatoes. Just the word 'tomatoes' makes my mouth water and we're a long way off.
For today, I'll wait to hear from Kim on the bank situation and be cutting a good amount of wood. With these temperatures, we're going to need it.