Earlier today, I went out to fill the horses’ water trough. It was a task I did not relish – the wind was blowing, the thermometer read 35 degrees – and the wind chill was a number I chose not to dwell on!!
It could be worse – I could be living in Minnesota, instead of the mountains of Virginia. I can’t imagine poor horses in the winter in the midwest- with wind chills to 21 below!!!
My husband built the horse barn – it’s beautiful, but in his infinite wisdom, angled it so the summer breezes would blow right thru the barn doors and keep it cool. Well, in the winter, those same winds are a blowin’- and they are NOT very warm!!! The barrier of leaf-less trees is pretty ineffectual at slowing down the wind! It probably doesn’t bother the horses at all – but when I am in there doing chores – BBBRRRR!!!
The best thing I purchased last year was a submersible heater for the water trough – it keeps the ice away, and the horses are not sucking down totally icey cold water!
After having the pump and hose in the barn freeze up last year, the husband rigged a system that drains the water out of the hose when we’re done using it. A vast improvement on last year!!!
The buckets in the stalls, however, freeze up all the time, so today was the day to empty them out, and forget about them for the winter. I’ve developed muscles since I began doing this on my own- and carrying water buckets is no big deal. For some reason, when they are frozen – they seem a whole lot heavier!!!
The little field mice are burrowing under the hay, and I’m sure other places that I really don’t want them! We have no barn cats. There were a couple of big toms that we saw from time to time near the barn, when we first moved here. I guess their main residence is someone else’s barn.
The dogs love to ‘hunt’ mice when they come to the barn – they never catch anything, but it keeps them occupied and keeps the mice on their toes!!!
The horses haven’t yet started to eat the hay we’ve bailed for them. I keep some in their stall, just in case. I guess there are still enough blades of green grass in their paddock. We still let them roam, under a watchful eye, outside the paddock for a little bit every day to eat out of the still green hay fields. Today, was not one of those days!! It was just too cold!!!
I pulled a few leftover corncobs off the stalks, and put them out back for the deer. Our land is considered a deer sanctuary- at least by me!!! I feed them a little bit of corn every night. They are safe here – but once they left our property, it’s open season. The deer show up, under cover of darkness, now that hunting season has begun, to eat our still green fields, and snack on the corn I leave out.
The fire is sizzling in the woodstove behind me, and I hate the fact I have to make one more trip outside tonite into the bitter cold!!!
But, when I am done – I am hunkering down in front of the stove with husband and dogs, and not leaving the house til tomorrow!!!!
All is well at Mountain Meadows tonite……………………………………….