Burrrr…… Baby it’s COLD outside! Extreme Cold is gripping the entire nation and it is the favorite topic of conversation- at least on the news. The good news is that this is expected to be a short-lived problem, but it is a problem none the less. Waterlines are the most vulnerable and remind us how much we take free-flowing water for granted. Here at our farm, water to the house if still flowing, but the (Frost-free) hydrants in our barn have frozen, making it necessary to carry water from the house to the barn. No tasks are fun in extreme cold.

Schools are closed so that kids don’t have to stand outside at the bus-stop. Dogs need to go out to potty, an activity that is not optional. The first day Mike went out to check the thermometer and it said -6 and it was WINDY. He came back in and looked at the computer and it said the wind-chill made it feel like -36. It seems that I have been letting dogs out, letting dogs in, letting dogs out, letting dogs in……. In addition to the biological need to go out, they also just want to play. The first day of this cold I only let the dogs out to potty, and as soon as I saw them go, I brought them right back in. I gave them every toy and chew toy I could find so they could play inside. They all seemed ok, but then last night it seemed that they just needed to RUN.

 It was not windy last night, so the wind-chill was not as big a factor as it had been. I decided that I would allow them to tell me when they had enough of the cold. I allowed them outside and let them stay out as long as they wanted. If they came back to the door, I let them in, but I didn’t call them in. They are all individuals and just like us, they have different tolerances for cold, and as long as they were out playing, they would be generating body heat anyway. I was surprised at how long many of them wanted to be out playing. Claire in particular didn’t seem ready to come back in. I have a high tolerance for cold too. I think it is my Swedish heritage. Today it got up to 20 degrees with no wind, and I thought it seemed downright comfortable. While I was carrying buckets of water out to the sheep, I was generating enough heat that I needed to take my coat off. I don’t mind winter, but the past 2 days have been a bit extreme, even for me.

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