Jan 13, 2010

"Baby, It's Cold Outside!"

In the winter of 1984-1985 the record cold spot in the continental U.S. was Cache Valley, Utah at -67 degrees Fahrenheit.  The winter before had also been record-setting at -66 degrees Fahrenheit, one degree warmer.  We were there for both of those winters and it didn't feel ANYWHERE NEAR AS COLD as it did here a few days into January in northern Sweden at -36 degrees Celsius which our math whiz tells us is equivalent to -42 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the normal milking time, when we got to the large animal barn where all the cows are, this was the INSIDE of the door.  Normally the body heat of the animals would keep it much warmer than that, but this time we had to make sure that they had plenty of grain and fresh hay to eat and plenty of warm straw to curl up in during the day and again at night.

In the small animal barn that houses the younger heifers and also the older bull, the temperature gauge had a flashing red light and the words 'Låg Temperatur'!
     The boys went immediately and got the heaters and we positioned them so that the air would be heated and circulated as efficiently as possible since the young ones do not give off as much heat and need the protection of a warmer environment. 

 The sheep, with their wooley coats are usually in good shape, in fact they prefer to be outside, but this winter they have a roommate, a young bull that is to be used next Spring with our young heifers.  We went out to check them all and discovered that the power line to their water supply had been disconnected in the storm.  The post was covered with snow and the pipes were frozen solid.  Once we got that fixed and the line thawed the water ran freely again and they were fine.  Again, it was fortunate that they had a generous amount of grain and hay in their feeders and a bed of warm straw.
With the animals all secured, it was time to do what we had come for...the milking.  This is the window inside the milk room in the main barn.  We were relieved that none of the pipes there were frozen and that all the equipment was working fine.  We were able to do all the milking and cleaning up without a problem.  But it was MIGHTY CHILLY IN THERE!!
In a discussion with  friends recently, the subject came up of what elements exist in our lives that give us comfort and the ability to deal with the challenges we face.  One woman said with deep feeling, "the beauties of nature". 
                                                 She was right.
      Even when the days are difficult and the problems seem unending, there is such an abundant beauty in nature.  To that end, we took some pictures of other areas of the farm.  We love the serenity they display and are reminded again of the peaceful beauty of the place where we live. 

As the thermometer below shows,  today we are at a "balmy"  -22 degrees Celsius.  It's amazing how much warmer it feels!  Instead of two pairs of long-johns, we have on one.  The cat's milk in the enclosed entryway to the main barn is still frozen between feedings, and we are watching the temperature in the root cellar and the cheese storage rooms in the dairy very closely. But, surprisingly,  IT ISN'T TOO BAD...

We have a warm fire, strong, healthy animals, the strength to do our work every day, and the beauties of nature as well as other comforts to sustain us.
And like the song says:

We think we'll stay. 


Lauralee said...

Ohmygosh, book me a trip to Cabo San Lucas! It is beyond my ability to handle that kind of cold anymore. No way - make that a double NO NO!

I hope the cows and heifers know how to snuggle!

This is the first time I have heard about a cat on the farm. I actually wondered if there were dogs or cats, but kept forgetting to ask.

Amy S said...

That is beyond my comprehension for so many reasons! The cows, sheep, root cellar, frozen pipes and freezing cold... It is gorgeous and I have really enjoyed reading through your posts since I just recently discovered your blog. It's just amazing to see all that you do!

MStevenson said...

Mark and I were talking about your snowy pictures you've been posting lately. We both agreed it looked fun and perfect for us. The snow and cold part not so much the animals and farming part (I don't think we'd make good farmers) but Mark and I both LOVE that kind of weather. You're talking to the couple who choose to get married in the middle of winter and who choose to go on vacation to Montreal during the middle of winter.
I love all your pictures they're so fun.

Becky said...

Since I grew up in the Rocky Mountains all this sounds very familiar. Lovely photos of the snow. I love reading your blog and getting a glimpse of country life in another country.