...but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life...(Prov. 13:12)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Surviving Winter on a Farm (Our First Frost)

Surviving Winter on a Farm (Our First Frost)...

BBBRRRRR it is cold...

So bare with me on this post there is ALOT of information but I promise at the end of this read you might have learned at least one thing about farming in the winter, more than likely you learned what NOT to do...

Pretty sure we haven't even had the first day of winter... however the 20 degree temps are fooling me a bit when it is only NOVEMBER! Winter usually doesn't really come til January and once in a blue moon we will get a "white" Christmas or maybe I am just noticing it more because I have to go and tend to the farm everyday no matter what temperature it is out there!Crops got covered and new fruit trees planted a day before this lovely frost came!

Due to it being our first cold front I am learning what things I do like about a farm in the winter and the things I don't like about a farm in the winter! I think I will put on my bucket list that I need to invent a self washing, poop cleaning up, waterproof, heated glove! My sweet hubby got me some "mechanix" gloves but how do I pick up pig and chicken poop with those??? I would have to wash them everyday and who wants that in their washing machine! It isnt like it would just be a smear either! I do, when I remember, put them on and then when I start to have to handle anything messy I will put my normal disposable gloves on (I have skin problems if I use any other type of gloves that could get my hands wet or burnt from chicken ammonia poop). 

Also, did you know that water freezes in your hoses in the winter cold snap? Yeah so that means I fill up a 5 gallon bucket of hot water and use my handy riding lawn mower and cart hot water down to the chickens and pigs to unfreeze their waterers. That brings me to one of my lovely adventures I got to partake in during this wonderful cold weather. See image below...

Yes, as I was tending to the water nipple on their waterers and pouring hot water over them my pigs decided to wake up and as quiet as mice walking through they exited the unlatched gate. It was closed but NOT latched. All six of them just walked right out onto five acres of property! I was BY MYSELF! These pigs aren't trained due to we aren't showing these pigs just raising for meat so we are working on the "show" stuff with this round. So this group could care less about me and decided to check out the rest of the property as I corralled them around and yep I was kind of freaking out! After about an hour of not knowing what on earth to do cause nothing I did got them back to the gate, I called lovely hubby who was hunting down the road to come help asap! Well, needless to say we got them back in within 5 minutes. (I just needed someone to be at the gate to not let the other three out that I got in there by myself. One I picked up and OMG the screaming of a pig is not a fun noise!)

So...another lesson I learned is that when it is suppose to freeze the following night you might want to remove all hoses from the water spigots and empty the water out from the hoses or well your hose will all freeze up and you can't use them to water well....your greenhouse garden. Sigh...so pretty sure I killed all those plants in my greenhouse but we will see if they decide to spring back to life. So learn from my mistake!!! You can't say I didn't tell you so!

So... my next lesson I learned in our week of frost was that the rabbit waterers need help in not freezing up. So hubby found this insulation tape and it does help! The ball in the waterer does freeze but I have noticed in 20 degree weather as long as I put lukewarm water into the bottles in the morning and evening they are good to go and the water doesn't freeze. Seems like it would fully freeze if the insulation tape wasn't around the bottle. With it there it just ends up slushy which works for me and the buns!

Well, I think I have learned enough lessons for one week! The freezing temps are over...for now... we are going to go ahead and add a heater to our pig waterers and use it during 20 degree weather and I am looking at other options for hoses or to have water more available at my greenhouse. 

Hope you learned something from this post and hopefully I made the mistakes before you did! 

Update: 12/2/14
My husband added these heater things to the pig waterers and it keeps the water from freezing. The nipples still freeze but that only takes me pouring some hot water on them or the pigs slurping on them for a bit with hot slobber.

Such a smart hubby! 

Happy Winter Farming!

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