Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 14, 2010

Extreme Weather

Whoa! We’re having some extreme weather up here on the farm, as most people have been over the last couple of days. It was 5° Fahrenheit when I got up this morning before seven to sort out the chickens, barn kittens and house animals. But that’s not all, folks.

The wind has been roaring away, charging over the mountain as it comes down off the Laurel Highlands Plateau. With the wind chill factor–which only sounds like a whiny add-on if you’re not experiencing it, the temperature outside was more like -17° F. Our faithful dog didn’t get any farther than the backyard before she decided she could get her business done and go racing back indoors.

Most of the chickens took most of the morning to decide it might be almost warm enough for them to venture out of the coop. Now they’re huddled miserably against the east end of the extension. Which is a pity, since we’d hoped to shut them in their coop for the day with the space heater turned on that they usually only have on at night. But there’s no reasoning with a chicken–trust me on this one, there really isn’t. And they won’t go back into their coop, even when I make them promises of heat and thawed water.

We’ve put a kitty litter pan in the WWOOFing cabin, and bowls of water out by the wood stove. This was by way of getting the barn kittens out of the worst of the cold and wind. They’re definitely liking the residential upgrade. When I stopped by half an hour ago, they actually refused to go out, and headed back to the nest on the sofa futon they’d made for themselves with throw pillows and a lap blanket. The upside to their delight in the WWOOFing cabin is that there has been  a mouse issue in there, and I don’t think it will stay active as long as the kittens are installed!

We also have new WWOOFers. They’re California residents. But they wanted a WWOOFing position through the winter, and we’ve offered them a trial month to see how they (and we) will work out together. Talk about not used to the weather! They’re up in town cruising the thrift shops and flea markets for usable, layerable clothing. They’ll begin working on getting the cabin more clear and clean this afternoon in order to take up residence there–once the weather eases up a tad. We aren’t cruel or heartless. And we wouldn’t insist on them staying out there whilst the weather howls around the home acres like something from the Bronte girls’ imagination.

The pigs seem most comfortable with the least adjustment. Their straw bale homes are warm, dry and draft-free. Their self-feeders haven’t been frozen shut. And we’re ferrying water out to them regularly (along with corn on the cob and old apples).

If this is as bad as it gets, we’ll survive in good shape. Keep your fingers crossed for those of us on the farming front-lines!



  1. Bright side – the days start getting longer mid-week-next! (everybody taking their vitamin D supplements?)

    If you’ve got wool and wood and a means of making hot liquids, you’re good.

    Speaking of wool…Paul and I both asked for socks for Christmas this year. He’s decided it makes us both officially “geezers”.

    • Yup. There’s lot’s to fuss about, but even more in to enjoy in the form of a roaring fire in the wood stove and hot tea beside it.

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