Dealing with the cold?

Nao57

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You know earlier today I had one of those wow moments.

I'd been doing backyard farming for a year but today was the most biting cold this morning.

It was 12 degrees outside at 6:45 AM when I went to feed the animals. The buckets were frozen through. And I had to pour water into little cans for the rabbits and some for the ducks also.

In so doing my hands got wet in this.

Talk about pain. I thought my fingers were frost bit for a bit, even though the whole thing took about 20 minutes. (Turns out I was OK, but it got to be painful. Not to mention if you touch the bucket rails when its that cold they would try to get glued to your hands.)

It made me wonder....how the heck do people survive chores for this kind of stuff in the far north like Canada, the Dakotas, Montana etc?

I'm in Utah, and we do get some cold because we're in the mountains, but its still not that far north.

And some part of me also wonders how people live in other places. Its fascinating to wonder how people live and make it you know.

Can you lose your fingers feeding chores in the winter? How do you guys deal with this stuff?
 

Beekissed

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Heated buckets and waterers for all animals I can. For those I can't, black rubber tubs or pans that can be flipped and ice knocked out of them easily. Water is hauled in a tank or 5 gal. buckets with lids on them to prevent slosh.

Insulated gloves for the hands and a change out in case they get wet. I actually prefer the colder temps as they lack the chill of extra humidity...it's that damp chill that goes clean to my bones, but when it's teens, single digits or subzero out it seems like I can stay out longer.
 

Pinecones

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Speaking from Montana with no electricity, the animals just eat snow. They're fine. If it gets into the negative teens or below we light a wood stove in the barn to take the edge off. The barn isn't insulated, but has enough bodies in it and no drafts that it stays at least 10º warmer than everywhere else.

Now and again we bring down buckets of hot water and let everyone have a deep drink of fresh water. The milk goats get this more than anyone else. But there's nowhere to 'put it', it'll just freeze. So it's just a winter treat, sometimes spiked with tea or vinegar.

I think people underestimate animals' ability to acclimate and adapt. Fresh, deep bedding and some buddies to snuggle up to keep the critters happy and warm all winter long. All 6 months of snow on the ground :p Even the guinea pigs do okay in the negative temps in outdoor colonies.

As for the humans, you layer and bundle up well. Your hands get used to the cold (freeze em enough times and I think the nerves die, lol). Keep your body moving and your blood pumping and you'll start sweating real quick and shedding layers. In the really bitter chill of January, you bring down hot water every day and get chores done as fast as you can so you can bugger back home double-time. We have to walk a few acres to our barn on steep ground, so it suffices for a short workout each day to keep from getting too stagnant in the winter. I like to run a trap line between us and the barn in the hopes of a few wild hares (gotta get em before the coyotes do!). Keeps things interesting along the way.

I prefer the snow seasons. Less hauling water and trying to figure out how to keep the waterers full and clean. We don't have any city services, so it's whatever's available in the ecosystem. The hottest, driest month of summer can be the most stressful, but luckily the streams don't dry up completely. There's less predators in winter, too, and if they do come through we can track them in the snow. It's nice not worrying about bears when the snow's flying.
 
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Nao57

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Heated buckets and waterers for all animals I can. For those I can't, black rubber tubs or pans that can be flipped and ice knocked out of them easily. Water is hauled in a tank or 5 gal. buckets with lids on them to prevent slosh.

Insulated gloves for the hands and a change out in case they get wet. I actually prefer the colder temps as they lack the chill of extra humidity...it's that damp chill that goes clean to my bones, but when it's teens, single digits or subzero out it seems like I can stay out longer.

So are the black ones more resistant to freezing?
 

Nao57

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Heated buckets and waterers for all animals I can. For those I can't, black rubber tubs or pans that can be flipped and ice knocked out of them easily. Water is hauled in a tank or 5 gal. buckets with lids on them to prevent slosh.

Insulated gloves for the hands and a change out in case they get wet. I actually prefer the colder temps as they lack the chill of extra humidity...it's that damp chill that goes clean to my bones, but when it's teens, single digits or subzero out it seems like I can stay out longer.

Wow. I hadn't thought of needing a change out. That's a good idea.

I kind of feel sorry for people that don't know where their food comes from. If they ever had to wake up and do it themselves there's so many small things like this that stack against them.
 

Nao57

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Speaking from Montana with no electricity, the animals just eat snow. They're fine. If it gets into the negative teens or below we light a wood stove in the barn to take the edge off. The barn isn't insulated, but has enough bodies in it and no drafts that it stays at least 10º warmer than everywhere else.

Now and again we bring down buckets of hot water and let everyone have a deep drink of fresh water. The milk goats get this more than anyone else. But there's nowhere to 'put it', it'll just freeze. So it's just a winter treat, sometimes spiked with tea or vinegar.

I think people underestimate animals' ability to acclimate and adapt. Fresh, deep bedding and some buddies to snuggle up to keep the critters happy and warm all winter long. All 6 months of snow on the ground :p Even the guinea pigs do okay in the negative temps in outdoor colonies.

As for the humans, you layer and bundle up well. Your hands get used to the cold (freeze em enough times and I think the nerves die, lol). Keep your body moving and your blood pumping and you'll start sweating real quick and shedding layers. In the really bitter chill of January, you bring down hot water every day and get chores done as fast as you can so you can bugger back home double-time. We have to walk a few acres to our barn on steep ground, so it suffices for a short workout each day to keep from getting too stagnant in the winter. I like to run a trap line between us and the barn in the hopes of a few wild hares (gotta get em before the coyotes do!). Keeps things interesting along the way.

I prefer the snow seasons. Less hauling water and trying to figure out how to keep the waterers full and clean. We don't have any city services, so it's whatever's available in the ecosystem. The hottest, driest month of summer can be the most stressful, but luckily the streams don't dry up completely. There's less predators in winter, too, and if they do come through we can track them in the snow. It's nice not worrying about bears when the snow's flying.

Thanks so much for giving your experience. There's a lot to learn from.

Do smaller birds like poultry handle hot water OK when you put it out? (I hope that's an OK.)

And for the humans, how often do you have to go inside and warm up and then come back out to finish whatever you couldn't finish? I wonder about this part too and how people deal with it.

6 months of winter is a long time!

I like your idea of not selling into the city services. There's something really wonderful about self sufficiency and being free. People underestimate this and its becoming a big issue now in society with people feeling like they are in captivity.

Captivity seems scary. So it sounds almost like feeling a bit wistful that many of us wish we had more setups like yourself.

Thanks again.
 

Beekissed

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So are the black ones more resistant to freezing?

They seem to be, especially if you locate them in the sunshine. The reason most use them is don't crack when you bust the ice out of them, so you can use that rubber pan for pretty much your lifetime without it becoming damaged in any way.
 

Nao57

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They seem to be, especially if you locate them in the sunshine. The reason most use them is don't crack when you bust the ice out of them, so you can use that rubber pan for pretty much your lifetime without it becoming damaged in any way.

Wow. Nice.
 

Nao57

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Ironically a garden hoe short handled is working pretty well so far in getting ice out of buckets, as long as its not frozen too solidly. But I'm lucky its got an older solid metal blade on the end, and not flimsy China crap.
 

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