What a Week!

It has been an interesting and exciting time here at the ranch this past week or so.  Our first snow of the season blanketed us with beauty late Saturday evening and we drove to church on Sunday in the snow.  My SUV performed very well on its initial snow voyage.

Grizzly seemed a little puzzled about all the white stuff falling from the heavens.

Then the wind came up and blew in a storm like we have never experienced here.  Winds consistently at 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 and 60 in places.  The power went out on Monday morning and stayed out until Wednesday evening.  Thank goodness we have a wood stove and oil lamps!

We also have a back-up generator which is kind of a pain to get fired up, but we are very grateful to have it to take nice warm showers. The wind blew away most all of the snow and a few trees too.  The power came back on in due time – all told we lost power four times with the longest outage being 46 hours – and when we ventured down our road to tend to the cattle we could see why it had been out.

A huge windstorm had hit all of western Washington.  You may have seen I-5 through downtown Seattle on the news.  In a seven mile stretch of road over 200 cars were abandoned.  People commuting home had delays of up to 8 hours as they were caught in the traffic jams created by all the weather related accidents and road closures.  Kind of made our little road mess look like not such a big deal.

We knew the cattle’s water troughs would be iced over in the freeze, but didn’t really expect one huge solid block of ice.

 Both the water troughs – 100 gallons each – were frozen solid; the temperature was around 15 degrees with a windchill that felt like well below zero to me.  We had brought along our propane blow torch and thought we would melt the ice.

Not.  After having the flame directly on the ice for 15 -20 minutes there was only a small puddle of water – and the cattle were letting us know they were getting impatient and thirsty.  So, Plan B was to haul water to them.  Luckily our outside hosebib was not frozen, so we gathered every container we could find with a lid and started filling them up with water.

We poured the water on top of the blocks of ice in the water trough, and almost as soon as it hit the ice it froze too.  After we got a couple of inches of water in the trough the cattle could slurp it up before it froze.  They had been pawing at the ground and eating the frozen grass, but they seemed to appreciate the hay we brought them.

Thankfully the extreme cold has tapered off.  We are still hauling water to the cattle, but the troughs are slushy now and slowly thawing out as the temperature is now a balmy 36 degrees.

4 comments on “What a Week!

  1. tj says:

    Oh my goodness, I am glad I don’t live there. We have had cold weather and some snow flurries, but mostly just rain. I hope it warms up where you are soon.

  2. Tj says:

    Cows need salt, and salt keeps water from freezing… is this a partial solution? Do I get patent rights? Royalties? A hawaiian retirement plan? mark

    • Brenda says:

      Hmmm, that is an interesting idea. I’m wondering how much salt you would need to keep the water from freezing and if that amount of salt would be bad for the cattle? I vote you try it on yours first 🙂
      My idea is to have a small solar panel attached to the kind of heater you use in a fish tank stuck into the trough. Of course, I have no idea how to accomplish this connection exactly, but other than that minor detail, I see no problem.

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