The last couple of mornings have been pretty chilly here on the farm, even though we live in the Southwestern part of the province. We certainly haven’t had any snow yet, like my friend up in North Bay reported a couple of days ago, but you can feel the change from fall to winter in the air. This morning the Weather network app on my tablet stated the “Realfeel” outside was minus 4 Celsius. Brrr.
With that in mind, I have been preparing for the onslaught of cold weather by preparing, little by little. Last Saturday Bryan and I drove out to see our Dutch hay guy, and stocked up on square bales of straw. We quickly stacked them inside the door of the big barn, and after that I used 8 bales to completely bed down the pig barn.
The pigs LOVE fresh straw! They love it almost as much as bananas. Bryan would heave a bale through the barn door, and the pigs would all come running as soon as they saw me open it. As soon as I grabbed several straw flakes and started shaking them out, the pigs would help me scatter it with their plow-like noses. Princess the sow would pick the straw up in her mouth and then shake it like a dog shakes a toy. This was very fun to watch. The weaner pigs loved nothing better than galloping stiff-legged through the fresh straw piles, making their excited woofing sounds while chasing each other from one end of the barn to the other.
Of course we had to put straw out for our hens and cats, too. The hens live in the big barn and seem to get just as excited when we bring fresh straw over to them.
The cats live in a lovely insulated dog house, and the only way to get more straw in there is for Bryan to squeeze his body in through the hallway of the house while clutching a flake of straw and shaking it out in their living space while cats climb on top of him and try to sniff his hair and lick his ears.
So for now everybody is warm and cozy, and that should last about a month. Then we will have to clean the one corner of the pig barn (pigs only go to the bathroom in one corner of their living space) and add more straw to keep them all toasty.
Every evening after work while we still have a bit of daylight, the guys are cutting firewood and stacking it up against the fence by the shop. Yes, we do have a natural gas furnace, but there was a huge load of chopped down logs on the property when we first moved here, and quite a bit of it will make beautiful firewood. Our furnace can actually be switched to run on gas or on wood, so even though we have left it to run on gas on a very low setting (I hate paying the gas company any more than I need to) we also keep a small fire going in the woodstove downstairs, which keeps the floors deliciously warm. The house also smells wonderful.
The last thing to do for this week is to find all of our hats and mittens, as well as my winter coat. For next week we have a whole other list of winter prep things that need doing.