Surviving the Winter

First, let me say that I’m eternally grateful that my husband and I settled in Tennessee, where winters are mild!  If I were trying to do this in the winter in New England, I wouldn’t survive.  I would sell off everything and walk to Florida if I had to!
That being said…  Winter on a farm sucks.  It sucks even more when your farm is under construction!  We started winter with a to-do list.  We started with optimism that this list would get done.  Then, winter started.  NOTHING has gotten done on that list.

The first day of winter fun started with waking up at 5 am to no heat.  The temp had gotten down in the 20s, and we hadn’t realized how low we were on propane.  We woke up to all the dogs in our bed and a cold house–a term I use loosely since we’re sleeping in the travel trailer!  Tractor Supply doesn’t open until 8, so we fired up the electric heater to get warm.
I was headed off to the office in Franklin that day, so I was very grateful that the measures we had taken to keep the water from freezing had worked, so I could brush my teeth.  🙂  Unfortunately, around noon, my husband called.  Not only had the water frozen, but Buttons was loose.  Needless to say, I cut my work day short and headed home.
By the time I got home, Ken had caught Buttons and put her in her stall.  He’d also retrieved poor Comanche from the pasture and put him in his stall.  While he worked on getting the water running, I went out to assess the fences.   I discovered that the round bales were surrounded by ice, so the horses weren’t remotely interested in going near them.  The front pasture, which isn’t currently fenced (on the to-do list), still has grass, so Buttons thought she would break through a week spot in the fence and go munch over there.
After getting the water turned on, we got creative with the tractor and managed to roll the round bales to higher ground where the horses had better access.  We don’t have a hay fork yet, so that was a rather hilarious exercise in redneck ingenuity!  We started fixing the fencing, but lost our daylight, so Ken finished in the morning, keeping an eye on our escape artist mare.  She was much happier with the new hay locations.
Since then, we’ve had roof leak in the barn, drainage problems at the house, drainage problems at the barn, and lots and lots of mud to contend with.  The latest round of fun, was of course on a morning I had to commute an hour to the office in Franklin.  After several days of rain, all of the solar spots on the property were dead.  Ken had parked my truck in a driveway I wasn’t used to using, and I couldn’t see where the gravel ended.  So…  I ended up leaving late for work after getting my truck stuck and having to wait for daylight to get the tractor and pull it out.
As I write this, it’s raining…  AGAIN.   The forecasters predicted a mild and dry winter.  I’ll buy the mild but not the dry!  Our property slopes back to a dry creek, so the water doesn’t stay, but the drainage is terrible.  The to-do list will have to wait until we re-direct all the water!  We’re already looking forward to spring, when we can get busy with renovations and new construction again.  Sometimes we feel like Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in The Money Pit.  I remind myself that in the end, the renovations were beautiful!

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