Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When the High is Only 29 Degrees

I've lived in Florida for 13 years, and I can'tremember a day in which the weather never rose above freezing!  Each winter we generally have temperatures drop into the teens for a night or two, but never an all day freeze.Yesterday was the exception to the rule, and this morning, as I write this, it is only 16 degrees outside. BBBRR. I don't look forward to going out to milk shortly.
  Due to the unusual cold we took extra precautions to prepare our farm for the weather. Here are some of the things that needed to be done before and during the hard freeze here on the Homestead:
  I'm sure you're familiar with the freeze warning slogan -  Pets, Pipes and Plants...

We picked the garden knowing that we would probably lose it all if we had several nights of temperatures in the teens - and we did.

I'll be starting seeds again as soon as this cold front passes - there's still time to grow winter vegetables such as lettuces and spinach from seed, and fortunately I still have broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage transplants in the greenhouse.  It's also time to begin sowing pepper seeds for spring transplants. I'll begin heirloom tomatoes in another week or so.

We picked the tangerine tree

and covered our citrus trees with tarps, placing lamps underneath for warmth.

We left the outside water hoses spraying all night to keep the well pump cycling and the hoses from freezing.

We built a mini man cave for the young billies to protect them from the wind and to help retain heat. 

We brought the ducklings and the milking machine inside for the night.

Plenty of wood was brought in for the woodstove since we don't run heat and periodically, throughout the night I'll throw another log on the fire so it doesn't go out.  The water troughs are filled with a minimal amount of warm water so they can be easily dumped and refilled in the morning with warm water once again. For proper digestion, especially with horses, it's important that they drink plenty of water and I don't want them to avoid drinking because the water is too cold.

For Florida, this is some seriously thick ice to have formed overnight!

The Homestead is prepped and ready for a hard freeze. 
I just hope that Sasha will wait a day or two and not kid on the coldest night of the year!