Baby it’s cold outside! The last couple of days have been an absolute blur and I’m running on exhaustion right now. I might have my days wrong but here’s what I’ve been so wrapped up in over the past couple of days.
Tuesday night I threw a blanket on Rabbit in preparation for the snowstorm. We hadn’t had any precipitation yet but it sure felt like there was a storm coming. The air was calm and crisp. The temps weren’t too bad and there wasn’t any snow on the ground so I was able to wrap up a few projects before heading in for the night.
Wednesday morning rolled around and I went out to do chores and was greeted with six inches of snow. I was a little surprised at the amount of snow. We were predicted to get 3-6 inches but hadn’t thought we’d be on the high side of that amount. Trudging back to the mare pen had me wore out! I was relieved that I’d put a blanket on Rabbit but had wished I’d blanketed some of the others.
By the time I’d gotten done with chores and headed back in to the house, my tracks were already being quickly covered up. I’d scooped snow away from the house door and there was already a solid third of an inch of snow on the ground. I figured that it was snowing about a half an inch an hour or so. And of course the weatherman predicted fierce winds to come in the afternoon, bringing the arctic air and making visibility hazardous.
I decided right then and there that I wasn’t going in to the paying job. If I couldn’t get home, what would happen to the horses? So instead I played hookie from work and puttered around watching the snow fall and the wind blow. I couldn’t go outside because our son was home too (supposed to be Grandma Day but we cancelled that because of the weather).
Luckily Mike kept an eye on the weather and when the wind picked up, he headed home. By that time, the roads were drifting over pretty bad (although the roads were worse in the morning than the afternoon so Mike said). When Mike got home, the snow was already drifting and blowing so it was impossible to know how much snow we accumulated. I’m guessing 6+ inches and then the drifting snow made the snow drifts even higher.
We pulled the carseat out and put it in the plow truck so Mike and Garrett could push snow while I headed out to do chores. I was so happy to go out and start chores at 4pm instead 5 or 6pm like it has been. I debated on putting the horses in the barn but figured that the temps were going to be in the double digits below zero on Thursday and Friday so I’d better hold off and get the barn ready instead.
I spent the first hour getting the barn ready and doing half of my normal chores. I filled water tanks and put straw and hay down in the stalls so that I would just have to open the doors and let the horses in on Thursday night. I spent the second hour putting blankets on horses and making sure that everyone was snug. I did a quick repair job on a couple of blankets and called it good. It’s not perfect and some blankets aren’t the right size but at least they have something to help fight off this cold. I spent the third hour getting the mares and ponies’ stalls ready in the hay shed. I hadn’t put up the temporary stall yet so had to make sure that I had that taken care of and ready to go. I was a little worried that the ponies would mangle something but so far so good.
By the time I was finished with chores Wednesday night in preparation for the deep freeze that was predicted, I had been outside for almost three hours working non-stop to get ready. I also broke into the hay in the hay barn instead. After pushing and pulling the two wheel wheelbarrow and the hay cart through the 1.5 foot snow drifts, I decided it wasn’t worth it.
But I’m sure glad I spent the extra time Wednesday night. The wind might have been chilly but if you got out of the wind, it was pretty nice. But come Thursday night, no matter what, it was COLD.
I got out to do chores immediately after getting home last night. I was out doing chores at 4:30pm. I was glad of it too. Once the sun set, the cold really set in. By 5:15, it was even COLDER! I ended up putting Jim, Dude, Rain, Ivan, Brego, Bo, and Zeke into the barn. Maverick, Chaos, and King stayed out but they had two leantos to go into and got extra hay. I also pulled Mayhem, Rabbit, and the ponies into the hayshed stalls. That was a bit of an effort. Rabbit has a hard time seeing in the dark. I think that eye is giving her problems. She couldn’t see the grain that I had for her so I had to shine my flashlight so she could see. Mayhem was a little bit of a bugger and wouldn’t step over the little railing to get into the stall. It’s a sign that I have NOT worked with her enough and come trailer loading lessons, she’s going to be a pill. I’ll take the blame for not getting her around to loading and unloading like she should. The ponies were happy to get in out of the wind. (So was Rabbit and Mayhem for that matter although they were a bit confused).
By 5:30pm, everyone was tucked in for the night and I headed in. I was so relieved to be done just before it got super dark and the cold temps started to really plummet.
But with putting the horses in at night, it means morning chores take that much longer. Unfortunately, the temps are supposed to be even colder tonight so I wanted to do some additional prep work to make evening chores tonight go just as quickly.
I threw out extra hay to the big herd and then let them all out of their stalls. I think they were all itching to stretch their legs and get out of the barn. I threw out extra hay and emptied the water buckets so all I have to do tonight is put fresh water in the buckets, put their grain dishes in the correct stalls, and then lead each horse in to his rightful stall.
I still need to put hay out in the hay shed stalls but I was starting to run late and figured I’d take care of the mares and ponies right away instead of working on the big herd instead. I’m hoping the extra light will make putting those guys in the hayshed stalls a little easier.
I’m hoping to make tonight’s chores go as fast as last night. We are supposed to be even colder tonight. I am NOT looking forward to tonight’s chores. BUT, I’d rather get them over with in the daylight. I’m going to be in a bit of a pickle next week.
Mike is leaving Monday for training out of town so Garrett and I will be home alone. Trying to do chores with a toddler is impossible in the winter and then throw in the sub zero temps, I’m not sure what I am going to do. In fact, Tuesday’s low is supposed to be 20 below zero. I have NO idea how I am going to cope with getting everyone stalled AND take care of my son alone. It’s going to be a juggling act for sure!
And tonight after I get done rushing through chores, we have to jump back in the car and drive to Colton, SD. Colton is having a Festival of Trees this weekend. Last year the Sanctuary donated a tree to the silent tree auction and we are once again donating an arrangement. This time I got even more creative. Last year I took the top of a tree branch, painted it white, and hung red balls with the horses’ names from the branches. I thought it looked pretty neat. This year, I took some old barb wire that we had lying around and Mike turned it into a wreath. I added a sprig of somethingorother and some ribbon and wrote the horses’ names on the ribbon. It looked better in my head but at 10pm, working on a Christmas project that has to be done before the next day, well, anything that gets done is better than nothing!
So if you happen to be in the neighborhood and want to brave the cold, the Colton Festival of Trees is going on this weekend. I don’t know the hours but if you want to know more, I’ll get you the info.
I’ve been in “go” mode ever since I heard that we were going to be in an arctic freeze and with all the other activities and additional cold snaps coming along, I’m going to be in a frantic mode until at least next weekend. I’m sure hoping to catch a break and enjoy a little of the holidays.
I’m running out of stuff to say right now (hard to believe I know) but I’m sure to write more later today.