Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Am the Queen of Layers!

Yes, that's correct.  It has once again been cold enough for the record books and it takes me 10 minutes to suit up to go outside.  

 This was the thermometer reading in my kitchen yesterday morning.  Today it actually dropped to -22  and still showed -13 when I left the house for the office. 

I have another indoor outdoor thermometer in my bathroom upstairs and that helps me determine how many layers to put on.  So I start with long underwear, top and bottom, a pair of wool socks, a pair of alpaca socks, jeans and a sweat shirt.  Once I head outside, I add a fleece neck gaiter I bought years ago for skiing, coveralls, 2 quilted flannels, my fleece lined alpaca ear-flap hat (I tuck the neck gaiter up under this in the back to keep my neck covered), my headband over that and my neoprene boots.  Oh and of course mittens.  This has kept me pretty warm the last few really cold mornings as I do chores.  I actually get a bit too warm except for fingers and toes as I rake and shovel and carry in wood.

My poor chickens have been shut in their coop for over a week now.  It is just too cold for them to go out.  On these below zero mornings, I am getting out too late to get eggs before they freeze and some are already cracked in the nest box while others make that popping sound and crack when I pick them up.  Yesterday and today I took the frozen eggs inside, let them thaw and then scrambled them in the microwave and took them out and fed them to the chickens.  I think their protein has been severely limited since they are shut in with nothing but commercial feed and table scraps.  But they are still all alive, so I count that as good.
Saturday it snowed all day.  ALL day.  

   We got about 6" of fresh powdery snow and then on Sunday morning, it snowed again and we got another 2 to 3" on top of that.   Unfortunately, I have run out of hay at the alpaca barn and the four wheel drive is out on the little truck and Sam says it is too cold for the diesel tractor, so I have been hauling hay on an old plastic sled, which works pretty well.  

I tried to get Grover to pose on top of the bale this morning, but nope, he is not one for sitting nicely for a picture.  And Rowdy just refused to come outside (as did the photographer:  Sam).

The alpacas are handling the cold fairly well.
I have had to fill up and plug in 2 heated buckets for the boys since their spring fed trough has frozen solid and this morning the automatic waterer in the girls barn was frozen as well, so I have the tub and floating tank heater going in there again.  My frost free hydrants are working as they are supposed to, which always surprises me.  Especially considering that some of our pipes in the house are frozen.  The big dogs, Buck and Star seem rather unaffected by the cold.  They are a bit on the fat side and have very heavy coats.  The cats in the barn seem to be doing well.  I am mostly worried about my bees.  But what will happen will happen.

I've done some spinning and finished up some of the alpaca/silk batts I prepared last summer to sell.  I was supposed to have some of this finished before the Wool Gathering last September and I did not.  Here it is.   

Finally I can post photos of the gifts I sent my son, except for the hat, which I forgot to photograph.

I knit him 2 growler cozies, 1 in Buffalo Sabres colors

  and 1 in Portland Timbers colors.

Hopefully he will send me a photo of himself in the hat sometime soon.  He says he loves it.

And that's about it for this week.  Tomorrow I leave to drive with my mother to Florida.  This is the third year she and my aunt have rented a house there and I will drive down with her and fly back next Tuesday the 4th of February.  We will be in a new month and hopefully we will have some normal February weather.  It's almost maple syrup season!

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