We are preparing for a cold snap. A very cold cold snap. I don't know if this qualifies as a polar vortex but it's going to get cold. Our high yesterday was in the 40s - not so bad except it was overcast, windy and raining off and on. Between yesterday and next week the temps are predicted to slip lower and lower until Monday and Tuesday when it may not get above freezing for two days. That's really cold for us down here. The last time the temperatures stayed below freezing for more than two days was over Christmas 1989. That was just a couple of years after we arrived in Texas. It was very unfortunate for all the people who traveled that Christmas - many of them came back to broken water pipes and flooded homes.
I have seen several predictions of 17 degrees as the lowest temperature here in beautiful Cat Spring for next week. We have had temps lower than that since we've lived in this house but not consistently below freezing for days at a time. I remember one Roc Day in January where we woke up to three broken pipes from the low of 13 degrees overnight. One of them was in the middle of our front garden. We could turn off the water to the barn and the guest house but had to keep the water running to the house turned on. We had 20 people coming for Roc Day and we needed to have toilets functional and coffee available. So we had a beautiful fountain washing out a huge hole in our front garden all that afternoon.
The coldest of the cold will not be here for 4 or 5 days but we got started with our preparations yesterday. I put out a bale of hay in each shelter and two in Steele's shelter so all the animals have access to fresh hay and can be protected from the wind and rain. And possibly wintery mix. I hate that term. It's some random mix of snow, sleet, ice and rain. It's ugly.
Today's task was topping off all the water troughs. At the expected temps, I will be breaking up the ice a couple of times each day so all the animals can get water but adding a bit more water may help it stay unfrozen a bit longer. OK. Probably not at these temperatures but it can't hurt.
I have the option of moving all the animals into the barn against the weather. With only three stalls, there is always some juggling to get all the animals inside but we usually work it out. Mostly pulling the animals into the barn is so I can sleep at night. They are happier out in the pastures as long as there is fresh hay in the shelters. And there is. I even raked out the center of each shelter to get most of the llama berries out so they are all clean and freshly bedded.
I will also make some beds for the cats out in the dye shed and in the barn. They would not be happy coming into the house with crazy Gus so we make sure they have safe warm places to curl up. It's one of the nice things about having several buildings.
And I'll keep checking the hay situation. I will probably be putting more out as we go along. Stay warm!