In the Barn

The end of last week and this weekend have been busy with preparations for the big winter storm headed our way.  Hay out in all the shelters, water troughs topped off, hoses removed from the hose bibs, spigots and exposed pipes covered, heat lamp in the well house, pots filled with water, water bottles and canned foods and snacks from the store, phones and iPads charged, vehicles filled with gas.  Yup.  I think we're ready. This is remarkably similar to being hurricane ready.

For most storms, regardless of season, we leave the animals out in the pastures.  We have three stalls in the barn but the animals do fine out in the pastures and always have shelters stocked with hay for the worst weather.  Except with this storm, the temperatures are predicted to plummet to the single digits with a strong wind.  Even the shelters don't seem up to that challenge.  So I moved all the animals into the barn.

I've set up the paddocks next to the barn so the animals can have an outside day with access to their stall.  I'll probably rotate them through daily. I know they will appreciate the option of getting outside even if they choose not to spend much time there.

I've never put the pony, Steele, in the barn for a storm before.  He has spent time in a stall for various injuries over the years and at all the horse shows he attended. Walking him across the property Sunday morning was unusual but not his first time.  He snorted at the garden bins behind the studio and didn't like the look of the shallow water trough that Sadie uses as her swimming pool. Interestingly, he didn't have any issue with walking into the barn when the other stalls were full of goats and llamas.

As I write this, the outside temperature is about 28 degrees so below freezing but not that unusual for us here in winter. The barn is sitting at 40 degrees which is very comfortable for all the animals.  I'll be interested in how cold it gets in there when the outside temperature is 4 or 5 or 6 degrees. I've already worked out how to handle the water buckets when they freeze and can haul water from the house as needed.

We woke up this morning to ice covered handrails, gates and fences and the sleet and freezing rain have continued off and on all day.  This storm is supposed to hit us this afternoon with more ice build up before the snow starts. I'll let you know now it goes.