In which we sing an old Ella Fitzgerald tune and try to stay warm

I really can't stay
But, baby, it's cold outside
I got to go 'way
But baby, it's cold outside
This evening has been
Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice
I'll hold your hands,
they're just like ice...

I love the song the way Ella and Louis sang it in 1949. That does NOT mean, however, that I enjoy cold weather.

Uh-huh. No way.

I live in the Swamplands for a reason: it doesn't get really cold or very hot here very often. It gets wet, oh yes. Soggy, you might say. But rarely does it get cold enough to sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for five days in a row.

Except this week, alas.

Why yes. That IS the manure fork covered in little frost crystals.
Frost on the pumpkin = sweetly poetic.
Frost on the manure fork = not so much.

The paddock pipe corral fencing is decorated with beautiful frost ferns as well:

Enough with the pretty, though. Cold weather means work on the farm.

Water is always the most pressing concern.

The chicken's water tank comes into the house at night, once they've been locked into the Winter Palace for the evening. Then it thaws out in the sink overnight so I can fill it back up and haul it back outdoors for them in the morning.

The mammal tank won't fit in the laundry room, so we have a different strategy for it:Jim likes the heavy engineer hammer for the task of breaking up ice.

I have decided, after nearly dropping the hammer into the tank twice this morning (because the handle is icy and ice is--duh--slippery) that I'll use the tall rock bar from now on. It's 5 feet long--long enough that I won't have to dip my hands into that water to fish it out if I drop it!

This is the pile of ice Jim pulled out of the tank yesterday: knee-high on a goat!

The goats and horses don't mind the cold too much. They get extra hay when it's cold, which always makes a gold-star day for them.

We also started feeding them beetpulp this week, since they are reluctant to drink cold water (even from the pasture tank that has the tank heater in it). Hydrated beetpulp = hydrated horses.

Fiddle loves her beetpulp!
The chickens are fine in this weather. They ARE wearing down jackets, after all.

I did find a frozen egg this morning, though. They aren't laying quite as many eggs right now, because the days are so short, but we'll install a light on a timer for them this week to keep them warmer and to fool their bodies into producing a few more eggs through the winter.

Does anybody know if the light should come on in the morning (so we don't have to let them outside into the cold quite so early) or at night (so they'll go into the lighted coop and not fall asleep in the doorway)? We're still debating this question, and would love an experienced opinion or two.

It's so cold is it?

It's so cold that we aren't allowed to use the woodstove right now to heat the house!

Clear skies, cold weather and very little wind in the Swamplands lead to a dangerous inversion layer of particle pollution in the air. There's a Stage Two Air-Quality Burn Ban set for us and for three adjacent counties until it rains or the wind kicks up...maybe next week!

The bright side to that: I can used the forced-air vents in the house to dry my gloves now.
Puzzle has found a satisfactory alternative to curling up beside the fire.


  1. forced air vents. the perfect hair dryer to give my hair the body it lacks. but just try explaining forced air heating to german people. they cannot fathom it. "so you have these holes in your floors?"

    yes, but they take up much less space than the radiators. air?

    germans heat with water, period. hot water through pipes that go into a radiator in each room.

    i find it cozy, cuz the heat radiates out slowly, but i cannot dry my hair on this thing.


  2. Lytha: it's been so long since I've needed ANYTHING to get my hair to dry, I never thought of this!

    'vantage #1 of Extremely Short Hair!

  3. It's been cold here too! Farley has been getting extra beet pulp. She's very happy. Been spending most of my evening at home, with a heating pad under my feet, knitting and watching movies.

    That's what's nice about not getting bad weather very often - I can take advantage of it and not feel guilty!

  4. I feel your pain!

    At least I don't have to break ice. One day I will - but not this winter.

  5. It has been unusually cold already here in San Antonio and the hill country where I keep Jackson too! REALLY not at ALL happy about it either... I hate the cold. REALLY, REALLY hate the cold. I was raised in Ohio on a farm and dealt with negative degree weather for years on our farm which has instilled a hate of the cold into me. I refuse to live up North anymore. No siree. Give me 100+ over freezing... :)

  6. COLD COLD COLD in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. One nice thing about teen degree weather for a week... frozen poop is easy to scoop. Everything else is cold and hard and I'm afraid I may have lost all my goldfish in the pond... we have THAT much ice.
    The horses are fine and fuzzy, and so are my chickens!


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