Arctic Chill and Cabin Fever

100_5114We’re going to remember this winter for a long time.  The last time I remember temps being this low was when I was in jr. high, around 1980.  I remember 5′ drifts at our back door, missed school days, and my best friend’s mom picking us up early from the skating rink because wind chills were down to -35 degrees.  January 2014 has brought us the “Polar Vortex”, as the weather people have called it, plus several other slightly less severe bouts of below zero temps, along with -20 to -30 degree wind chills, for 2-3 days at a time.  And snow.  We actually get snow when “they” say we will, though for our little place, since the great Polar Vortex storm, we haven’t gotten as much as the maximum possible.  This basket laying on the bathroom floor has become a very common occurence – though at least this time the contents weren’t strewn all over the floor.100_5098

The last time it was this cold this often, I was a suburban girl, and didn’t have to go outside except to go to school.  Now we have a tiny farm.  Yet another time I’m SO glad it’s tiny!  It’s only about 100 yards, give or take, to the barn and garage.  I’m also thankful that I have 5 children at home to help with the chores, so we all just get a little numb-ish, rather than me being frozen solid.  I’m including a pic of our barn, as taken from the back door of the house.  Not much to see, because I decided last night to shut the last door remaining open because of the wind and snow.  At 9 pm I found out that the main door wasn’t closed completely.  That door faces west – the very direction the 40 mph wind was coming from.  While it was snowing.  There was snow all over the inside of the entry/milking/hay storage area, and down the hallway between stalls.  My original intent was to leave the south door open for better ventilation, but then I saw that the whole area inside of that door was filling with snow and it was blowing into the stall where the ducks are, and the goats were in the opposite side as far from the door as possible.  Thankfully I only needed to move a little hay to get the door to close, so I was able to make the barn a little more user-friendly.  Earlier in the day Keith had set up a little warming station for the goat kids to get under heat lamps, if they choose.  So far the only creatures I’ve seen take advantage of that warm space is a cat or two, but I’m not in there all day.  All that battening of the hatches allowed the barn to remain at about 10 degrees this morning when it was 0 outside.  Not bad – and not windy, so it was actually somewhat pleasant.

My mama goats have been locked up in their stall for several weeks now.  The wind just keeps coming from the north, where their door is, and with Lily having had her little kids just 2 weeks ago, I don’t want them to have a draft.  For the most part, keeping the south door and main/west door open, has allowed there to be enough air circulation that it doesn’t stink bad in there.  But, for the next two days, it’s going to have to stay closed up again.  I’m sure all the animals will be quite happy when they can stretch their legs a little more!100_5099

In the meantime, the inhabitants of the house are doing ok.  All except for Andrew.  Wow, does he need to get outside more!  He’s taken to doing laps around the first floor, which is made possible by the walk-through bathroom.  He is not content to just sit and read all day or color like the other kids usually are.  He needs action.  This morning no one would play with him, so he brought Candy Land downstairs to the bathroom where I’d just gotten out of the shower, and asked if I’d play with him.  Poor guy – how could I say, “no”?  So in between getting dressed, putting on makeup and drying my hair, we managed to get in a game.  (I won.)  A little while later when I went upstairs I noticed the attic stairs were covered in stuffed animals.  Apparently the boys’ new game is to bombard anyone coming up to their room with stuffed animals.  But at least they aren’t fighting.  At the moment.  But now that lunch is over, it’s time to get down to math, history and literature.100_5113