The Weather Outside is Frightful!

“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful,
 and since we’ve no place to go,
 let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

A whole lot of the country might just as well be singing this old song, since it seems to be happening, anyway. Yes, it IS winter, but my goodness! The COLD dipping down from the North Pole is ferocious! Here in northern West Virginia it’s not so bad, but it IS snowing, and we WILL be going below zero Fahrenheit tonight, which is a rarity. I’ve lived here for 14 years now, and I don’t recall it going below +10, though it may have once or twice.

When we move to Maine, I know that it’ll be more like the climate I grew up with in Minnesota. When I was a child, winter really was a wonderland playground. Making snow men and snow angels, walking on top of the crusted snow, sledding, ice skating, tunnelling through the deep drifts and never really noticing the cold was amazing! School closed for 3 days during the typical winter, due to blizzards causing such drifts that plows couldn’t keep up and the school bus couldn’t get through. As a young adult, I remember the winter of 1977-1978, when the temperature didn’t rise above zero for a full month in a row. I was working the night shift at a nursing home at the time, and I’d go out to start my car and let it warm up a bit twice during the night, to be sure it would start when my shift was over. I definitely felt the cold that winter! And people wonder why I moved away from Minnesota … and why I’m now looking at moving to Maine!

Eric and I are wondering just what we’ll need to do to keep our critters safe in the colder temperatures of Maine winters. I understand that cows can handle it pretty well, so long as they have shelter from the wind and plenty of good hay to stoke the rumen/furnace that they carry around with them. Chickens are so much smaller, and without a rumen, that they’ll definitely need more shelter than that, but they will always have more shelter at night, anyway. Deep bedding that’s doing its composting thing, in a chicken house, should be good enough for them. It was in Kansas, and we had some pretty good winters while I was there. Most important is making sure that everyone has liquid water available. Thank God for electric heaters!

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