Saturday, January 8, 2011

A polite request and storing water

It started to snow this afternoon, just about the time I was walking up to the barn:

At least two residents of Critter Farm were not happy about it:

"Let us in...," Chester and Beau asked ever so nicely:


The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for our area, forecasting dropping temperatures and snowfall over multiple days. It sounds like it's going to be an interesting coming week.

Then I got "the look". You see "the look", right?:

Kai llama refused to make eye contact with me at all, concentrating her efforts instead on making her most disgusted expression:

This was the clincher, because I finally got the message and let them all into the barn.

Beginning tonight, northwest Oregon will start dipping below freezing again, which means I need to start "collecting" water up at the barn. I've learned that when the temperatures dip below 30, the water pipes in my barn freeze and I have to haul buckets of water up from the house. Until we investigate the possibility of a frost-proof hydrant up at the barn (thanks for the knowledgeable advice, Dana Kee at Moose Manor Farm!!), there is at least one thing I can do (when I have warning) that keeps me from having to manually carry very heavy containers of water up a really long hill...

I start filling buckets while the water is still flowing from the barn spigot:

...lots of buckets:

Fortunately, the middle storage room behind the barn is a perfect place to store these buckets of water, as this room has consistently stayed above freezing. At least so far:

So this time, in addition to my buckets, I added a few more containers:

And then, a few more buckets:

We should be good for a while, now, once the barn water freezes and all.

As I filled buckets, my son and his buddy did a straw run for me, so now I have plenty of straw to get us through the cold spell (thanks Aidan and Chris!!):

Then, being boys, they tried to tease the llama. She didn't fall for it, though. She is much too smart to fall for the old "carrot in the mouth" trick. Clever girl!:

When I finally left the barn, the snow flurry had subsided and the big animals were happily snacking on some of the fresh straw I'd put down in the paddock:

The donkey boys have even taught Kai to eat straw, too. This isn't something that she did before she started hanging with these guys:

It looks so peaceful here, doesn't it?
Let's hope this isn't the proverbial "calm before the storm". I'll keep you posted on that.


  1. Hey Dani- roughly whereabout and at what elevation are you? Just generally- don't give anything away. I'm just curious because of your snow...the forecast calls for the snow to hit the Portland area to around 500 feet, which means the hills above us in West Linn will get it, but we won't. Which is a darn, for me, because I don't need to go anywhere tomorrow.

    Good luck with your frosty week!

  2. You know I think I might just stick to my 38C day, at least I can turn on the air-conditioner :D Great photos, love the one of Chester and Beau saying 'Puhleeeeeze'
    LiBBiE in Oz

  3. hi dani....they all look so content! did you see the look teddy gave me on yesterday's post. these guys sure are 'eye talkers" aren't they?

  4. I love it. Animals can do such clear communicating with no words at all!

    Good idea about the water buckets. I don't have water out in our "barn" yet anyway, but do have an inner room between the chickens and goats, so this idea would help me too.

  5. We are all hunkering down for a predicted big storm this Tuesday. I'm ready for the cold to be gone, gone, gone! Bring back the warm, sunny days!!!

  6. You make me want to:

    a. get donkeys and a llama

    b. move to Oregon if you just now are starting winter preparations and don't expect the cold snap to last long

    I don't know what I would do without our frost free hydrant. Cry a lot probably.

  7. Did somebody make a New Year's resolution to blog every day? I'm loving the regular updates. Stay warm!

  8. The fun doesn't start until you are hauling frozen water buckets...wait, I have lost my mind.

  9. Crossing my fingers for you. Hope the storm passes quickly.

  10. Yer getting snow? I had no idea, I don't think we have any such forecast. Thanks for the head's up. Can't wait til you solve the water problem. That's gotta suck. :(

  11. I'm so sorry for the chilling weather, but love your stories. What a great idea to get the water stored in preparation for the deep freeze. I drool over your gorgeous barn facilities!

  12. That is really interesting that they eat straw - I don't think I've ever heard of that. Hay yes, but straw? Hmmm. All we use it for is bedding, but then we don't have any big animals yet. Sounds like your weather might be what is supposed to head this way this coming weekend. Well, except for the cold temps - we already have that - down to single digits. Love your blog!

  13. Did you stock up on the necessities for the humans? Chocolate, coffee, milk and DVDs. It seems like longer than six months ago that it was warm outside and the tomatoes were thriving.

  14. Great idea saving water in buckets. The frost free hydrant is an excellent idea. We put one in the barn, we still have to run heat tape on the pipe but we always have water. You might want to try the heat tape along the pipe. Especially if it doesn't freeze that often. The hydrant is cheap but installing it is not.

  15. you've been busy busy busy!! Hopefully all these preparations will allow you to enjoy the beauty that will surely come with the snow and ice!!!

    Your critters are lucky to have a momma who thinks things through so well!!

  16. I admire your advanced planning! My water pipes don't freeze here, but the electricity goes out when we have winter storms, which results in not having any water from the well. So I store water ahead of time too, when I get weather warnings. Stay cozy and dry if you can.

  17. I hope your pipes don't freeze, but if so, those buckets sure are going to save your arms! Good planning!
    Enjoy the snow!

  18. Hey Paula - we're only at about 462 feet but we are in what is considered the base of the coast range foothills. With fair certainty we've learned that if snow is falling in the foothills, we're getting it, too. We're getting accustomed to "surprise" snowfall that the forecasters don't alert us to.

    Hi jaz - Yes, I did see your post! Your Teddy is beautiful and oh-so-cute. I want to give her a great big squeeze. She can come for a visit to Critter Farm any time! :-)

    Hmmm.... Christine, I may have to contact you about your FFH. Did you install it yourselves?

    Hi Linda (7MSN) - Why yes, how kind of you to notice. :-) Every day in January. At least I'll try.

    Chai Chai - you make me laugh so often with your comments. And I love to laugh. (so, thank you)

    Heads up, Meadowlark - I just checked and it looks like you all are in for the same crazy "Wintry Mix" that we are on Tuesday/Wednesday.

    Hi Teri - it's funny about the straw-eating around here. It's supposed to be quite healthy for the donkeys - it provides great roughage, keeps their tummies working well, and doesn't add massive calories (donkeys *LOVE* to eat) while also giving them something to do. The interesting thing, though, is that Chester did not eat straw until Beau arrived at Critter Farm and taught him to do it. And Kai llama didn't eat straw until she watched Beau and Chester doing it for quite some time. Monkey-see, monkey-do, I guess. lol

    Hiiii Martina (georgie)!!! So nice to hear from you. We have indeed stocked up on all the necessities (books, wine and bananas seem to be our top 3, lol). And I hate to remind you, but your tomatoes were the only ones thriving last year. Mine didn't do well at all. Too wet and not enough sun. sigh. What are you going to grow this year?

    Hi Kelly - yes, I've heard about heat tape, too, and we're going to look into this as well. I have electricity fears up at the barn, though - I worry so much about fire, I don't like to use it in a place where I am not, unless I absolutely have to.

    Hi Joanna - we do have electricity up at the barn, but it's older and the wiring makes me nervous. I only use it when I have to. My husband is less worried about it than I am and he's an electrical engineer, so I suppose I should be less concerned than I am.

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  20. We live in area where the temps dip below zero in many cases and snow comes in feet.

    For our water supply, we have a 50 gallon metal water container with a plug heater in it. Water runs off the roof & is caught in a gutter and runs into the tank. The heater keeps the water at 40*F or somewhere near there. When the animals buckets need to be filled we dip into the big 50 gallon tank.

    Stay warm,

  21. I second what Carson said... lovin' the regular posts, all of the pictures and the updates!

    I hope you're staying warm!

  22. Oh boy, your "kids" are about as unhappy as my girls (chickens) are in the cold weather. Those looks are similar to the chicken looks I get!

  23. lovely pictures :) I hope I remember your blog so that I can visit you. Roxy is soo cute, I wish I were there with my dog, and watch them have fun. Sending my love all the way from.. Poland :)

  24. The burro boys are a couple of clowns. Seriously, they should take their act on the road. I do love how Kai maintains her dignity. She must be from royal bloodlines. You can tell her I said that. The boys are lucky she didn't spit on them. Now THAT would have been funny...

    (My word verification: dinte - as in the line from the well-known children's verse "wasn't it a dinte dish to set before the queen."

    Sorry...I'm leaving now....


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