OH BABY-- it's cold out!!
The thermometer on the house under the patio read -8* last night when I went to bed at 1am (I was going to take a picture of if but the batteries in the camera were dead). John said when he got up this morning it read -11*. I'm sure it was much colder away from the house. At noon today with the sun shinning, it still was only 2*.
Because money is tight, we are trying to not turn on the electric heat that we have in the house and keep the woodburner good and stoked at all times. Anything that generates heat by using electric uses more energy than most other things. I was quite surprised as to how warm the house stayed with it being this cold. We usually have the electric going more when it's this cold to keep the chill off but the woodburner isn't going as good either as we have it going now. One good thing, firewood sales have picked up since the cold snap.
When it's this cold, it can be a challenage to keep everyone warm and happy here on the farm. The cattle tend to like it a bit colder than our comfort zone of 70-80* but I don't think they like it this cold. Thankfully the sun is shining today as the cattle can go out into the snow covered pasture to walk around and eat the hay the guys give to them. With the black 'fur' that they have, they warm up nicely. Giving them more hay is important as the energy produced by the digestion process will produce heat and helps to keep them from using their fat layer for energy. Keeping the water from freezing is another issue but there is plenty of snow out there and they do like munching on that.
The laying hens are up in the barn by Gandma's house for the winter and today the outside door will not be open to help keep the heat that is in there in. There is a greenhouse that is connected to the barn so the hens can get some sun even though they are inside today. Nathan set up a heat lamp for those who would like to sit and bake for a while to warm up. It is important to keep the layers warm as if all their energies go into keeping warm, then they are not putting that energy into laying eggs. Because it has been so cold, we have had to collect eggs 2-3 times a day. An egg in an unattended egg box (meaning no hen sitting on it laying their egg) can freeze quickly in these temps.
One of the outside cats did make his way into the garage last night while the door was open (this seems to be a great pastime of their's--bolting into the garage when no one is looking). I decided to let him stay as it would be warmer than the adopted treehouse that they now stay in.
All in all, everyone seemed to fair OK through the night. We have one more night of cold temps (not quite as cold but still below 0) and then we warm up.....to the 20's.