Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Storm

The weathermen had been predicting a winter storm for our area. It was to start on Saturday afternoon and span into Monday morning. The start of the storm was rain, then freezing rain and snow mix, then snow. The nasty kind of storm that not only has snow accumulating, but frozen rain layers in there to make everything very slippery. While I'm leary to believe weatherman, I didn't want to dismiss this one too quickly. Better to be prepared than not. In preparation for the storm, on Saturday morning I cleaned all the pastures. I made sure all the poop was cleared up because I know it's a pain to clean it once there is snow on the ground (not to mention the fact it often freezes to the ground). I also cleaned up the barns, so that if the alpacas choose to be in there during the storm it is nice and clean and cozy.

Since we live in the country, in the woods, any storm brings with it the potential for us to lose electricity. I know from experience, it's much better to be without electricity when you have a clean house. It seems every time we lose electricity, it's when I skipped doing the dishes after the last meal and we are dealing with that mess on top of no electricity. When I am prepared with a clean house and stocked pantry, then we don't lose electricity.

By Saturday evening I was beat! I cleaned pastures and barns and the house. But I was ready for this storm.

Here is what it looked like outside my back door on Saturday evening, as the storm began:



I wasn't sure what to expect when I woke up Sunday morning. I was relieved to see we had electricity (cleaning the house did pay off). When I looked outside, it didn't look like we got that much snow. Upon further glance, I could see that we did get quite a bit of snow, it was just so heavy and wet that it wasn't deep. It's the kind of snow you think you could shovel up real quick and instead end up with a heart attack. Thick, heavy, wet snow. It was hovering around 34* at that point, early Sunday morning. The snow fell on and off all day, and the temperature dropped. By around noon it was 29* and now at dinner time it's 21*. The weatherman are saying the temp will drop all night and the wind chill will end up below 0*.

Here is what it looks like out our back door this evening, Sunday evening:



Like I said, it doesn't look like we got that much snow. But it is a thick wet heavy mess. And with the temps falling as they have, everything is icing over. I had a hard time opening the hay tent, it felt like the zipper doorway was frozen shut.

Here is the dam & cria pasture area:



Due to the snow and ice, I traded using the hay wagon for a sled instead. It slides much better out there:



Alpacas do fine in the cold winter weather. We have some who even sleep in the snow, choosing that over being in the barn. Their fiber (fur) keeps them quite warm. They also generate heat when digesting. For this reason they do eat more hay in the colder months. I find as fall changes to winter we go through close to twice as much hay as we do during the summer months. On a night like tonight when they are predicting below 0* temps, we'll put out additional hay just before bedtime. I find if I put extra out at their regular feed time, they tend to dump a lot of it out of the bins onto the ground. If I wait and put extra out later, they waste less of it.

Here is Tehya, Challenger and Twilight, eating up hay, keeping plenty warm outside:



The little girls, Pocahontas, Rosco and Rose munch on hay while they are inside their shelter:



Not only is the temperature supposed to drop throughout the night, but we are also supposed to get more snow. We'll see tomorrow morning how much it amounts to.

1 comment:

Louellen Lawson said...

Stay safe. I understand completely about cleaning your house in case of a storm. It DOES seem that the dishes are dirty when the power goes out! Ha. Good reminder, thanks!.

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