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Used to run a stable and live on a farm, now I am back into banking for awhile. Still have horses and love animals.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mighty cold out there

I go to the barn late at night on the nights that it is close to zero or below out. I give our horses water and extra feed and hay. The fluctuation in temperatures can increase the chance of colic so my horses get soaked beet pulp twice a day and I give them some at night when it's really cold like last night. I keep the soaked beet pulp in a heated bucket so it doesn't freeze and it stays warm for them. Cody and Aubrey got beet pulp with a little grain on top and two flakes of hay and some fresh water in there buckets.

I know the water will freeze fast but they get a chance to drink some and there is water in the soaked beet pulp to keep them hydrated. We usually take them out of there stalls to move them around so they can increase their body temperature but last night we didn't because it was so cold. They were out earlier in the day, one thing about boarded horses is they need to move around some even if it's cold to keep their guts moving. Today will make sure they get a little exercise. They have coats on which I didn't want to put on at all this year but seeing as how this is the coldest winter I can remember I think it was a good idea, even Pony and Bit have coats on now.

Of course, the two little horses here at home are in good shape. I got them a big round bale of second cutting orchard grass from Mr. R's farm which was great, his price is very reasonable compared to what others are charging around here. Kylie was gone for the weekend and I wasn't sure I could get the bale out of the back of the truck by myself, after all it is 700 to 1000lb. I took the tail gate off and I backed the truck up next to their building so that when they went out to eat they would have protection from the wind, then I climbed my 48 year old body up into the bed of the truck.  I tried pushing it out the bale by facing it with my two arms first and it didn't budge, then I turned around and put my posterior against it and gave a shove, it moved, I did the bump side to side and it moved to the end of the bed and then it flipped right out of the bed of the truck. Victory was mine.

The ponies have a mineral block to keep them drinking, lots of hay and a heated bucket. Their little building is not drafty either so other than than being challenged right now to strip their stall they are in good shape. Everything is frozen in their stall and it is hard to clean and dump manure right now so I've been moving stuff to the back of their stall but I will be stripping it soon. I have plenty of sawdust that I brought in on my truck earlier this month so I will get them sorted out soon.

The poor dogs have to go out and potty, the sillies insist on sniffing around before they actually go and by then they start to feel the cold on their feet. This morning they managed to all go potty but not before I had to go out and carry a couple of them in. They drop to the ground when their paws freeze, the goldens last longer but the two herding dogs just can't tolerate the frozen ground.

I put a heat lamp in the garage for Tiger Lilly the cat, she is snug in her bed now with the lamp pointed in her direction. The garage has heat but I have to keep it very low so the propane lasts, it is usually warm enough for her but last night was just too cold. She is really having a good sleep with the extra warmth coming from the heat lamp. I do my best to care for everyone, the fireplace insert does keep the house warm enough but I even keep a little heater on next to the birds cages to make sure they are always extra warm because they are tropical birds.

As for me, I layer up and have a hat, a head band and a ski mask on, decent boots and gloves and several layers of shirts on. I tolerate the cold rather well but poor Kylie can't tolerate it well at all. I suppose it's because I've had to take care of the horses all of these years and am used to being out in the cold. I guess a few layers of extra fat doesn't hurt either.

It has been a very bad winter, probably the worst I can remember. One thing is for sure, with these cold below freezing temps there will be fewer problems in the summer with bugs, it kills everything off like fleas etc. or at least the eggs. That is one and probably the only positive about these really cold temps.

Of course, the old folks suffer, the heat bills are insane, the animals suffer and it's just really bad in an already bad economy. I know I am blessed because I have an old but reliable truck which allows me to go and see our horses, go to the store, bring the hay and wood to the house etc. in any kind of weather. I am able to keep us warm at a reasonable cost because of the fireplace and I have a home now that is well insulated and I have the experience with the horses to at least make them more comfortable through all of this. I can also lift a pretty good size dog and carry it to the house if necessary!

I pray for better days for everyone, that the seniors will survive and that God will be with the ones who don't have family members to care for them. I pray for the animals that are victims in this cold weather that don't have someone to look after them that God will provide for them. I pray for a new job and for all the people struggling in out country today just to survive each day. There are many struggling, families and seniors. It's hard times for many. 

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