This is getting a bit monotonous each week: reporting on the very cold temperatures and their effects. At the farm the temperature bottomed out at -28°C that one night and we had a freeze up of the supply pipe to the toilet in our house. Aerron thawed the pipe quickly by holding it briefly with his hand. The water supply to the barn has frozen but this has happened somewhere along the buried line coming to the barn, likely as it passes beneath the barn wall. The tap in the barn, the downpipe and the horizontal pipe going under the wall from the inside were not frozen. We can’t really do much about this now, without spending a bundle so we’ll just leave it until the temperature warms enough that it will thaw on it’s own. So long as we have temperatures regularly around -15, -20 and similar, then we are going to be without piped water to the barn. Until then we water the cows at the large stock water tank up at the garden, that is the pasture that they are overwintering in. The water is drawn to there from our house by partially filling two large containers on the sled and pulling the sled the short distance, all essentially on the level, to the tank. The cows use about 6 to 8 of the 16 litre buckets each day. We water just once a day as any attempts to do more will just result in the second lot just freezing solid. Same thing with the horses which are watered from the hose at the house. The hose is then laid out on the hill to drain, still connected to the outside tap. This only freezes if I don’t take care to ensure that there are no dips in the hose where water can collect. In addition Aerron carries two or three more buckets of water to the barn for the sheep and the donkey, on the sled again and I take a couple of buckets to the chickens and ducks over the course of the day. So the whole procedure takes a lot of time and makes for quite a bit more work. But spring is coming soon.
There is a nice amount of snow but this has not caused too much trouble for us getting in and out of our laneway. A couple of times a car has gotten stuck and needed some work to get it extricated, but usually we just charge through what little drifting occurs and after several cars have passed over that area the snow is nicely packed and easily traveled over. It is sometimes a little difficult walking around and especially snow if we are walking offthe beaten path.
The chickens are laying well and the ducks have settled at around a dozen eggs per day. This is quite good considering the cold weather. We have kept the chickens inside almost every day. The door is only opened on a sunny, still air day with temperatures right around freezing, otherwise the hens all huddle at the end of the coop opposite the open door. We are getting about 2 minutes of extra daylight each day now and that is also keeping the egg production at a high level and in of course longer days are going to eventually get it warmer.
My humble prediction, my long term weather forecast, is for the rest of February to be cold but just a little less so than the past two weeks with the temperatures gradually trending upwards so that by the first of March we will be having temperatures fluctuating around the freezing mark. The last two weeks of March should see temperatures regularly around +5 to +10 or maybe a bit more and by April we should be regularly around + 20. We will also start to get more snow and then quite a lot of rain through March. Remember: March showers bring April Flowers and it dries out in May.