Our thermometer read 14 degrees at 9am today. And we awoke to no running water - a pipe had frozen somewhere. We of course have water stored for emergencies, but with 4 cows, 4 pigs, etc., I was getting a little worried about getting enough water to them long term should our pipes not thaw! Thankfully, my husband discovered a loose heating element around a pipe in our pump house, reconnected it around the pipe, and our water flowed again at 9:30am.
Elsie awaiting her milking. Her belly's looking pretty round, right? I'm hopinghopinghoping she is indeed pregnant. The family we bought her from gave us a huge window of time that she would be due- anywhere from Feb. through April. She's giving less milk. I wonder if it has anything to do with pregnancy.
The cows do just fine in the cold. We see them lying right in the snow, peacefully chewing their cud. It's very difficult sometimes trying to find information on small farming. You would think that with the world wide web and all, we could find endless helpful info about anything, but it's not so! So much knowledge seems to have been lost when it comes to small family farming. For example, when one needs to understand exactly what kind of cold piglets can withstand, and exactly what sort of shelter they need to protect them from it, the information takes digging and searching for, and we're still not entirely sure. What you will find is site after site explaining what temperatures to set your thermostats at for pigs in big, indoor, industrial operations. The fact is that the enormous majority of pigs are raised industrially these days. And most of the old timers that really know how to raise pigs in the yard, are elderly folks that don't do a whole lot of posting on the internet!
So, we read and reread Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living, the most helpful book in the universe for homesteaders that I've found, and muddle our way through, hoping our piggies and ducks and everybody else, don't freeze into pigletsicles and ducksicles. (However, even wonderful ol' Carla leaves the pigs in the cold thing too vague, saying something like "your pigs will need shelter if it gets real cold". How cold? What kind of shelter??)
I am enjoying the snow. So pretty! And it's nice to have the mud frozen, and the flies gone, are there are far fewer mice keeping me awake at night with all their gnawing and chewing and rearranging of our stuff. I am 12 weeks along! Whew. I've made it to the magical time when they say miscarriage is much less likely. And my nausea and exhaustion are letting up.
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