Friday, December 13, 2013

And, Just Like That.... was over.  Last night the mercury climbed to a sweltering 40 degrees at 11pm, and that, coupled with the .12" of rain we'd gotten during the day, was the end of the Big Chill 2013.  I was kind of sorry to see the snow go, but go it must.  The upside was not having to fling myself out of bed, throw on a ton of clothes, grab the Whaleback gloves and the sledgehammer, and go out and break ice first thing.  This morning, I took a leisurely shower, put on a T shirt and my sweat pants, went on the packwalk with Dale and the dogs, came home, hooked the tank hoses back up, turned them on, and watched them fill the tanks.  No dragging the hose out of the greenhouse after breaking the ice and filling each tank - several times a day.
The ground was still so cold that even though we were well above freezing from about 4 pm yesterday on, there was still a lot of ice on the ground.  Dale found that out on the packwalk with a slip and spill halfway thru, and Gem found her sliding stops were still way more sliding than stopping while stalking Cricket.  It was still a dicey walk to the barn, and the ground in front of the barn, which never gets any sun this time of year. will most likely stay frozen for several days.
The cows are enjoying the sunshine, the horse took his minions and disappeared down over the hill in the south pasture for the first time in 10 days, Cricket found out that the ice on the dog tank is still way too thick for her to break in her usual manner, and we turned the water rock back on for the first time since the 7th.  This spring we'll be able to assess what plants survived and which didn't.  I uncovered the 'Meyer Improved' lemon tree this morning; some of it looks kinda sad, and you can definitely tell which lemons got frosted and which didn't.  I had picked 99% of the lemons before the freeze, but there were still some small ones left on the tree.  Now I just wait to see if it buds out again. 
We don't live where this kind of weather is anything like normal, as it is in most of the Midwest and east coast.  Thus, we don't prepare so much for it.  Most of what we do to prepare is temporary things, like the tank deicer for the stock tanks, and the spare hose stashed in the greenhouse, overfeeding the livestock to keep them warm, and two blankets thrown over the lemon tree.  If it were normal for here, we'd do things differently.  And, I wouldn't spend 10 days writing about it on the blog, as it wouldn't be any big deal, it'd be business as normal this time of year.  But it's not business as normal for us, and going thru it once every several years is more than enough taste of it for us!

 Don't let the looks fool ya - that is a solid sheet of ice
 This was kind of cool - a perfect ice mould of the tank filler from the maternity pasture water tank
 The shallow stuff is still solidly frozen.  The deeper 'seasonal ponds' are mostly water.  By early afternoon, all of it was gone except some of the water in the 'ponds'

 By noon, this was all the snow that was left, out in the south pasture

 Just before turning it back on
Holy cow, 54 degrees?!?!?!?

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