So this happened to our little farm as soon as we left. We did not appreciate how cold it would get (9 degrees Fahrenheit) or how deep the snow would get (~18 inches) before we left. If we had known we could have prepared better. But our farm sitter and Tom’s son did an admirable job limiting the damage and keeping most of the animals alive.
The water pump froze. So they brought in extra heat to thaw it. The pipe to the barn also froze, and this gradually thawed after the pump starting functioning again. In the meantime for several days our farm sitter had to bucket water from our rain catchment containers in the afternoons after the sun thawed them enough. Bucketing that much water to cows is a big deal. Of course the pipe to the barn finally unthawed after she had finished bucketing that day. Plus there is just simply difficult trying to walk through that much snow.
Thomas put down our dying old sheep Logan which I am so thankful for. With so much snow he could not bury him. Thankfully Tom dealt with that grim task when we got home.
Thomas also knocked the heavy snow off of our flatter roofs so they would not collapse. It had started to rain on the snow before it could melt so it was getting quite heavy.
We did lose power one day but thankfully not long enough for our pump or pipe to refreeze. When we got home there were no burst pipes and our pump is working. The only issue is that the pressure gauge is not working well. My aquarium pumps stopped too, and three fish died.
I tossed some squash to the chickens, geese and sheep as a treat after their ordeal when we got home. It is still quite icy.
It was interesting that the sheep’s field is pristine. Usually they do not mind the snow and even sleep in it. Something about this snow has made them hang out by the barn and not go into the field at all. Maybe because it was so cold. I was told the snow was initially quite powdery and maybe they did not like it. Maybe it was just too deep. Or maybe they were just sick of it and wanted nothing to do with it.
The cows equally did not walk in their field. These are almost all Highland cross cows so snow is usually not an issue for them. They had a couple of paths in their field but otherwise spent likely 1.5 weeks in a small patch of trampled snow. We moved them to a different area with a shelter after we returned, and they do seem happier now (although the snow is also slowly melting).
We had left our drinking water on the back porch, having no idea it was going to get that cold. So all but two of them froze solid and broke. Two we are thawing out and hoping did not split. Two of the split ones we are trying to thaw into other intact containers.
So this was a big mess we left for our farm sitter and ultimately son too. Again, I am thinking we cannot take vacations in the winter again as it is just too unpredictable, and we have too many vulnerable animals depending on us.
Those results would certainly put ME off of winter vacations, but then again I’d just as soon stay home anyway, and we really do not take vacations that aren’t associated with continuing education or visiting family. You were blessed to have such good help while you were away!
Thanks Michelle! We did have great help but I hate the anxiety of being away and having everything fall apart.
Oh, Donna, I’m so sorry you came home to find such problems. It must almost spoil the fun of the trip. I didn’t realize it could get that cold in your area. I’ve had enough of extreme cold during winter, during our nine years in Canada, and then later, 19 years in southern Idaho. I’m enjoying the milder climate here in Oakridge, and so did Ron.
Do you buy all of your drinking water?
Our lowest since we have been here was 0 degrees. It can get hold here. The anxiety of what was happening at home did affect our trip.
And yes we buy all of our drinking water. Our well water does not taste good.
Yeah, I don’t think we realized what a mess it was going to be either. Thought it would pass in a couple of days. Our sheep didn’t really walk in the snow much either. I’m thinking maybe because of the depth. Was pretty deep here in places. Sure hope the thaw continues.
We do too! It is curious that the cows did not want to walk in it.
Heart to you folks, think it took many of us by surprise. My oldest llama laid down day of first snow and never got up. All too frozen to bury. 🙁 sorry about Logan.
So sorry Eliz. Winter is so hard on older animals.