Monday, January 5, 2015

Winter weather

We were expecting winter weather this weekend.

For the past week, the weather has been sunny and brutally cold. This photo showed some of the winter sun highlighting the tree trunks. What looks like snow flakes in front of the trees was falling bits of hoarfrost that, honestly, looked like falling diamonds. It was indescribably beautiful and the photo doesn't even begin to do it justice.

This red-shafted flicker has been hanging around. Doubtless he's having a hard time finding food.

When the weather was at its coldest, we kept the Jerseys (Polly and Matilda) and their calves in the corral where they could go into the barn at night for maximum protection. After the close call with Polly in mid-November, I'm not taking chances with the more delicate Jerseys. (Dexters are tougher.)

But the temperature (thankfully) rose and snow was anticipated. Here was the forecast for January 3:

So on Saturday we split some firewood before the snow arrived.

Front porch, before:

Front porch, after:

I cleaned the barn stalls and made sure the floors were padded with straw.

It pleases me to see animals at the feed boxes at any time during the day. Don built the boxes last fall under the barn awning, and they've proven remarkably successful in keeping food clean and available at any time without getting trampled or soiled.

After a day of battening down hatches, a dinner of fried rice warmed us all.

On Sunday, it snowed. Man did it snow! It was a day to stay huddled at home, but Younger Daughter had an obligation in a nearby town, so I drove her.

Once we get off our dirt road onto the paved road, here's the view across the fields. Rather monotone, no?

Driving back home, Younger Daughter snapped these birds on the frozen lake. I think they're coots, but since I was driving I couldn't be sure.

Even in mid-day, everything looked ghostly with the snow falling so heavily.

This is the paved road, heading back to our house.

Nearly home.

Matilda and Polly were anxious to get into the barn, so I cleaned their stalls, gave them food, and put them to bed early.

Every time Lydia came in from the yard, she had jingle balls of snow on her toes...

...which she would chew off.

Major looked like a reverse Dalmatian.

Here's that red-shafted flicker again, tucking himself under the roof awning to get out of the snow. I took the photo through a glass window which reflects the lights from the Christmas tree (which, um, we still haven't taken down).

I experimented with photographing the dusk with the tree lights reflected in the window.

It snowed the blessed day long and into the night.

Then the temperature rose, and as of this morning it's raining and windy (go figure). The snow is melting fast. It's predicted to get to 40F today, with up to half an inch of rain. This means the snow will turn to slush, possibly the worst driving conditions. Schools in the area have been canceled. It's a good day to hole up with the wood stove glowing.

What's the old saying? If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes....


  1. We had weather changes yesterday as well here in SE Washington State. We woke up to a bit of snow, a little later - freezing rain, later in the afternoon - rain, then last night the wind came and is still blowing. All has been melted and the wind is drying things up. Our high today is supposed to be 49º and my online weather says it's 50º. The week is supposed to be warm but the daily forecast can change from time to time as I check it. As you said, wait five minutes ... ☺

  2. Wow! Beautiful photos!! Your farm looks so peaceful. Aren't you so thankful for that wood stove? I know we love ours!!!

  3. Count your blessings....! We have "warmed up" today. It is 0F with a -13 wind chill. Better than the -20 to - 40 wind chill that we have been experiencing with -15 to -20F actual temperature. Hay = calories and calories = warmth for furry creatures. We watch for shivering and feed accordingly. The advantage we have over you is not having the freezing rain. It lays their coats flat and removes the insulating ability. I am always amazed at the critters that walk around with1" of snow on their backs for 4 or 5 days if they don't roll. It just doesn't melt!

    We have the real troubles at -25 to -40 F air temp (not wind chill). That is when we have frozen waterers.....the real problem. I do miss the wood burner, though. DH isn't that motivated and I don't have the time. Natokadn

  4. hang some suet for the flicker and other birds..they will appreciate the extra energy. you can also spread peanut butter into rough tree bark for downey woodpeckers, flickers, and a few other climbing birds i don't remember ATM...
    if you have a variety of birds, your local habitate is healthy...might as well make them as welcome as you can

  5. We just got done with insanely cold weather and over 6 inches of snow in AZ. Slowly warming up but the snow is still hanging on. Stay warm!

  6. So, Major is still around. Good for the old boy. He reminds me of me.


  7. There's a product called Musher's Secret that you can put on a dog's paws to help prevent snowballs between their toes. I find a good coating lasts a couple days to a week depending on various conditions. They don't list the ingredients (but do say its all food grade waxes), but I'd imagine that with a little experimentation you could duplicated it to make at home if you really wanted! We just buy it, though I've only had to buy one of the medium sized jars of it and thats lasted us for 3yrs now and we still have half of it left.

  8. Coldest I've ever felt. I was 21 years old in the missile field in Faith SD on Christmas eve 1983. I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB, SD. Temp was -25 degrees with winds 50 to 70mph, complete white out, so much static electricity form the cold dry wind that anything we touched would shock us through our heavy leather military mittens. Was ordered by the Wing Commander to go out to try and start a generator at a missile site that lost power and was going down. We had to shovel to get the gates open and closed while being shocked repeatedly, my partner and I took turns walking in front of the CJ7 Jeep to know where the road was. The Controller kept tabs every 1/8 of a mile on a map in case we didn't come back. We did this twice that day. So cold and windy that car batteries froze and burst while the vehicle was running, tires went flat and vehicles where lost in the snow for days...

  9. You should never apologize for having Christmas decorations up at this point. Christmas is a 'season' for Christians, not a 'day'. The season starts on Christmas morning and lasts until the Baptism of the Lord, which this year we celebrate on January 11th.