Thursday, January 9, 2014

Deep Freeeeeeze!!

A big Grover Smile!
Everyone here has made it through the extremely cold weather we had for about 48 hours.  I think I heard it called an "Arctic Vortex"  All I know is it was very, very cold.  We were lucky and got very little snow, unlike Indiana and Michigan and NW Ohio, but the cold was the bad part.

They were predicting 2 days of below zero temperatures with wind chills in the -25 to -40 degree ranges.  I don't think it got quite that bad here.  But I started to prepare on Sunday since the weather was in the 40's.  I took empty feed sacks and used them to fill in the gaps between the end walls of the chicken coop and the roof.  I used paper grocery bags to fill smaller cracks.  I bought a red heat lamp and replaced the regular light bulb with that.  Monday dawned with a temperature of 24 degrees and it just dropped all day.  I did not let the chickens out of the coop at all and I placed a signboard (it was handy and the right size) in front of their little exit door to keep it tight to the building and put the feed storage barrel up against it.   They have a heated water bowl and a feeder in the coop.

I made sure I got hay and sawdust and straw over the main alpaca barn.  On Monday, I put out straw and closed 1 of the 3 doors entirely and closed the other 2 so that there was just enough space for the alpacas to go through one at a time.  I also put a coat on my old girl Chiquita, who tends to get cold.  She is 15.  When I went down to check on the males, my oldest male, Bodhi, who will be 15 in April, was already shivering.  So he got haltered and led down the road and put in a pen in the girls' barn.  The water was at that time still running into the trough in the boys' field, but I knew it would freeze as well so I plugged in the heated bucket and filled it.
Sunday night it had started to rain late and I was awakened around 12:30 am by torrential downpours.  It sounded as though a fire hose was aimed full blast at our house.  When I got up in the morning, there was about an inch and a half of fresh snow.  But all that rain was frozen under the snow.   I took this photo Wednesday when the water had receded in the creek and the ice had then fallen down in.  You can kind of see how high the water was when it froze.

Our kitchen water pipes were frozen on Tuesday morning, but were thawed out by Wednesday evening.  All in all we fared pretty well.  But we still have the coldest stretch of winter (usually) to endure.

 At least with the indoor weather I have had some time to work on knitting and spinning.  Remember the yarn I dyed last week with the leftover dye in my dyepot that I then splattered colors onto?  Here is some of it knit up into a quick chunky cabled hat.  I love this hat.  I am quite pleased with the colors.  I may make some matching mitts.

  And I finally finished this handspun yarn.  I purchased the prepared "top" from a fellow vendor at the Knitter's Fantasy last April and it has been languishing on my big Saxony wheel ever since.  It is a gradient and goes from light purple to dark purple and there are 6 ounces of it.  I was spinning it fairly thin, which can be quite tedious, so that I could make a 3-ply from it, and I am sure that is why it took me so long to spin.  I ended up with 760 yards of 3-ply and it is lovely.  It is a polworth (wool)/silk blend, probably 70/30 % if I recall correctly.  It's been so long.

I also spent some time working on my shawl I posted about last week and the Montana Tunic that I also started way back in April with yarn also purchased at the Knitter's Fantasy.  It is requiring what seems like miles of ribbing right now, but it is in the home stretch, so I will get it done.  This is a 100% merino wool yarn produced in the western US.

And I am planning my next rug project.  I think I will do a 6' runner and matching 2' X 3' throw rug with the dark brown as the main color and some stripes on the ends.  I have lots of dark chocolate-y brown.  Just need to do my warp calculations and start winding.

                                              A parting shot of more backyard ice.

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