Sub-Zero Thoughts



There’s some things I know for sure.  I would not have been a good pioneer. It was -11 degrees when I got up today.  I am a certified wuss when it comes to this kind of adversity.

And by this kind of adversity, I mostly mean worrying about the animals.  The animals who have heated water containers, heat sources in both the coop and the shed, and masses of fresh straw and clean blankets for bedding. But still, I worry.

I’ve been out many times, checking on the barnyard crew.  They’re unhappy. Who wouldn’t be?  At morning feeding time Brandy was unfriendly, Jessie begged me not to leave and Doink…well, he barely moved.  Pigs are very finicky about keeping their sleeping area clean, so he grudgingly designated a corner of the shed as the outhouse and only comes out to eat and drink twice a day.  I haven’t seen him otherwise.  His back was poking out of the hay when I was heading into the house today so I covered him with his purple blanky.  His deep throated, “I’m miserable!” vocalizations calmed down a bit.

A nice purple blanky makes everything a little better.

A nice purple blanky makes everything a little better.

Even the chickens, who wander out and scratch around through most weather, are quiet in the coop or shed, feathers all puffy and eyes closed.  I put Vaseline on their combs last night to prevent frostbite. Rapunzel, who usually doesn’t like to be held, was calm and seemingly happy tucked inside my coat while I rubbed the stuff on.

Lucy and Ethel, with Vaseline on their combs, all tucked in for the night.

Lucy and Ethel, combs protected from the cold, all tucked in for the night.

Little does Hermione know, but she's standing directly on top of Doink's head.  And still, he does not move!

Little does Hermione know, but she’s standing directly on top of Doink’s head. And still, he does not move!

Now, a few hours later, the sky is a beautiful blue and the snow is sparkly.  We’ve warmed up to a balmy 3 degrees. Brandy and Jessie have ventured out to take in the beauty.

I'm thinking she's the warmest of the bunch, what with all that extra tonnage around her middle.

I’m guessing she’s the warmest of the bunch, what with all that extra tonnage around her middle.

I think the cold makes him more gorgeous.

The cold makes him more gorgeous, don’t you think?

Like I said, I’m not cut out for this weather.  I started thinking about pioneer women when we were watching Lonesome Dove (definitely a top ten favorite for me) over Thanksgiving.  They did so much hard work.  They had so much sorrow and heartache.  They had so few options – getting married and following their husband’s dreams was all many women had to look forward to in life.

What if I lived in those days and my pioneer husband said, “Honey, pack up the essentials in the wagon.  We’re leaving this warm city and heading to Montana to homestead!” I think I would have replied, “Well, sweetie, I’ll miss you.”  With my limited skills, I probably would have ended up living in a house of ill repute like Lorena in Lonesome Dove. Hopefully, though, I would have been the bartender 🙂

Stay warm, y’all!

Hey, it's cold out here!  Can I come back in?

Hey, it’s cold out here! Can I come back in?

 (Shared at Homesteaders HopClever Chicks HopHomestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming ConnectionTuesdays With A TwistDown Home Hop, HomeAcre HopSimple Lives Thursday, From The Farm HopFarmGirl Friday and Maple Hill Hop!)


  1. Brrr! I would be no good in that kind of weather, either. Here in Missouri we sometimes get down into the single digits, but only for a short time. It’s so funny that Doink stays under the straw even when Hermione is standing on his head!
    Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods recently posted…Homemade Living: Hand-Me-Down Christmas Decorating

  2. And an awesome bartender you would be (well, are.)
    nancy recently posted…Julia Child’s Deconstructed Turkey is Just The Right Thing!

  3. OMgosh Joan, sounds down right awful! You’re such a good farm mama I know everyone will be fine. Be careful and stay warm, here’s hoping this cold front blows on soon… It’s freezing here too but at least we warm up to the 40’s during the daytime hours.
    Jen recently posted…Our Weekend

    • Perspective is so funny. It’s 9pm and 20 degrees and I feel like running around in shorts and a t-shirt to celebrate the heat wave. Tomorrow – we’re above freezing! Woohoo!

  4. Brrrr – that is definitely cold! I thought it was cold here in Italy but we’re up at a very warm (for you!) -2C or 28F. I haven’t heard of the film you mention but about to go and have a look for it – thanks for the recommendation.

  5. We are super cold as well….Thanks for the tip about Vaseline….This is my 2nd winter with ‘my girls’ but was not near this cold last year.
    Katey recently posted…Perspective

  6. Love it! We’ve been dealing with those frigid temps here too, it does make you think about all those tough folks before us. I feel bad for all our animals except the geese, because they’re out there rolling around in the snow, apparently loving it! Those animals are very lucky to have you! Hope you are enjoying toasty temps above freezing by now!
    jody recently posted…Our First Snow On The Farm!

    • Maybe I need some geese? And yes, one of the reasons we live in Colorado…it’s supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny tomorrow – with snow on Friday!

  7. Oh, I hear ya on the cold- I hate the cold and yet I’ve chosen to live in NE Minnesota most of my life! Ugh- we saw -22 the other morning; windchill yesterday was nearly -50. Downright COLD. Amazingly, our animals are much MUCH tougher than we think. We love our babies- but they are most definitely hardier than we are when it comes to the cold :). But it’s natural to worry…

    From one homesteader to the next- happy to have visited today 🙂

    Erin Blegen recently posted…Roosters: A Complete Guide

    • You are one brave woman! Yeah, the animals are tough, I know, but I’m not 🙂 I remember walking the kids in strollers with a friend years ago. She kept on telling her son to put his hat on because his ears were cold. He finally whipped around and said in a frustrated, three-year old voice, “No Mom, YOUR ears are cold. Mine are fine.”

      Thanks for stopping by – headed to visit you right now!

  8. Is everything ok with you? Hope you’re not frozen solid!!!

  9. It is very cold for December! I hope this means an early Spring 🙂
    Sandra recently posted…Some Days are Just Hard

  10. Found your site through the HomeAcre Hop! I hope your animals get through this cold winter! Love the pics. 🙂

  11. That was a most enjoyable post and farm tour. We’ve had sustained cold temps and lots of snow in our neck of the woods, too. I get cold looking at my sheep when they are covered with snow and standing outside their shelter.
    Diane Barnard recently posted…Finding Alternatives to Genetically Modified Food: What about Non GMO Soy & Corn?


  1. […] all my sub-zero cold weather drama…today, here in Colorado…well, it was 65 degrees in the barnyard. (Snow is […]