Time for animal updates.
And so far, so good. All the animals are surviving. They are all locked into either the barn or the coop. We haul out hot water twice a day (sometimes 3 times) to make sure everyone is drinking and to help warm them up. I have 10 chickens that have decided they are "too good" or "too wise" to hang out in the coop. These are the 5 meat chickens that really need to go to "camp" and 1 rooster and my 4 oldest hens. The majority of the occupants of the chicken coop are the 30 "teenaged" pullets that can start laying-any-day-now-thanks! and the ducks. (I'm to the point of being ready to rehome the ducks too. They won't go to freezer camp because we don't like to eat them. I'll have to find someone that does.)
We lost 3 of our rabbits before the cold really started. It's sad because all of the rabbits currently are the ones with names that have been here for over a year and have given us litters. All the ones that generally remain nameless (because they will eventually feed us) went for their drive in November. We lost Waldo (AKA Killer) our big New Zealand White Buck. He was very friendly, and loved to be scratched. He was the daddy to most of our litters. We don't know how old he was when we got him, and he started stumbling and not keeping his balance and then we just lost him. Then there was our Florida White Buck, Lightning. He scratched his eye and it got infected. We treated the infection for almost 3 weeks. One night I brought him in for his nightly wash out and treatment and he was fine...I made a decision that I was going to keep him in the house until he was well (something we DON'T do-keep rabbits in the house) and as I was telling Boy to go get me a cage to keep in the laundry room, he (the rabbit--not the Boy!) thrashed his legs, screamed and died. It was very upsetting! He was very docile and sweet so it wasn't the stress of being held...I think the infection took over more than his eye...and at least he died being held and loved. Finally was the most upsetting, it was my "designer" rabbit that we got "free with purchase." We bought some cages and she came with the cage. She was a Trianta rabbit which is a fairly rare breed. She was gorgeous with bright auburn hair. She gave us a really nice litter this past summer. She passed right after Christmas. And even sadder is that her namesake is one of my Besties. :( We also don't know how old she was when she came to us, she wasn't actually sick, so we're going to call it old age also.
Weldon is getting BIG! He is doing just fine in the cold. He has his routines and doesn't like when they are messed with. The other night I watered him and then had to go get feed from the chicken feed for the "uppity" birds in the barn, and he ran to the door out to the pasture and didn't just MOO at me to get back there to feed him his nightly ration of sweet feed...but seriously BELLOWED the whole time I was walking away. And didn't stop until I turned around and was heading back to the barn. Silly Bull!
Our Yellow Cat (Timmy) has taken to disappearing for days at a time, but I have recently discovered that I am pretty sure he actually is living in the loft and usually can't be bothered to get out of the hay to come be social. Unless I call for him, which means I have some scraps for him and Iona.
When I went out to the barn this morning, I hadn't seen Yellow Cat for 3 days. I had prayed over all the animals in the barn as I listened to the 30+ mile-an-hour winds that howled all night causing -20 degree + windchills. I prayed an extra prayer that I would see the cat, so I would know he was not out on a prowl...I came into the barn this morning to find the cat cozily sleeping in the dog house, basically under the Pyrenees. That is one smart cat. That is the best place in the barn--under a big dog blanket!! Iona (the Pyrenees) loves Timmy. We are so blessed that all the animals get along!! And I was blessed to see that the cat (and everyone else) was doing just fine.
In the house....it's COLD! It's a very old, very drafty farmhouse, even with the new siding and putting plastic up on the window. We have suspected for the last few weeks that there is a blockage of some sort in the chimney as we get smoke every time we open the door to add wood. And really we don't seem to be getting much heat from it. So tonight we will have to forgo our woodburner....(softly crying) and go with the emergency back up heat pump (that seems to only work well if it's OVER 30 degrees) and crank up the electric blankets. The fireplace needs to be completely cool when they come to work on it. I think the predicted NEGATIVE 10 degrees will cool it down sufficiently, don't you??