Zero degrees

This is a new low for me here.  I have never seen 0 degrees in Western Washington- Tom has though in Whatcom.  (I know I have seen lower in Alaska though).  The problem here is that we are not designed for this much cold.  Our water pump went out this morning, causing much concern.  It turned out to be a frozen pressure hose to the switch so once we added a second electric heater to the pump-house we were able to unfreeze it and now have water again.  We also still have heat and electricity for the house so are thankful for that.  Last night we covered up windows and doors for the barn and feed shed (doubling as a skinny sheep and chick shelter now).  This is in hopes it will keep a little of the chill out.  Every critter has shelter and another of their species to bed down with so hopefully will make it through this bitter cold.  

Now we are just waiting for the next storm to strike this afternoon with more snow, wind and possible freezing rain.  We are trying to prevent catastrophe here by brushing the heavy snow off the structures.  But with the frozen tree limbs we are really expecting some fallen trees and limbs with any wind we get- definitely could lose our power.  We do have fuel and a generator. One of my bigger worries is that I have to get to work somehow tomorrow early morning during the storm- should be interesting.
When we went out to check on critters after fixing the water pump we found all the water was frozen solid- not too surprising at 0 degrees but a real pain.  We knew we would have to bucket water to the animals in the fields 5 gallons at a time.  The tractor and quad would not start.  We had a family Christmas party to go to at 2:00.  So we were able to start up a 26 year old snowmobile and tie the garden cart behind it.  We filled up 5 gallon plastic carboys with water from the faucet near the pump-house that still works and used the snowmobile to haul the water out- 75 gallons total.  Tom’s father came out to help us to try to get us to the party.  This worked out well and we made it to the party only 45 minutes late.

There was, however, another loss because of the bitter cold.  My favorite goose Honky died during the night.  He was one of my first geese- a white Pilgrim gander- 11 years old.  He was a character, not friendly but not aggressive either.  In the last couple of years he had become an outcast in the gaggle- he had lost the eyesight in one eye in a goose fight and never seemed to be in the pecking order after that.  I was trying to make sure he was getting food and water (along with the other geese) and all of them seemed to have trouble walking the in cold snow.  I put him in the chicken pen to try to get extra water, food and warmth but despite this in the morning he was gone.  

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