Tag Archives: ice

Bucket of Milk in My Face, Big Disgrace, Kickin My Cans All Over the Place

Have you ever had one of “those” mornings?  The ones that seem to start out ok, but early on there is an event where you think to yourself, “self, this might be a hard day”?  Today was one of those days for me.  Nothing like the beautiful title picture that makes me long for that morning last week.

Today started out great.  Got a good night’s sleep.  Felt rested when I got up to milk.  Everyone but my wife was still asleep when I left the house heading for milking chores.  Things were looking good.

My first four steps… still going in the right direction.  Now let me interject here and let you all know that we have been getting rain the last couple days, lots of rain.  And not the rain that brings May flowers.  The kind of rain that brings frozen roads, driveways, and front steps.  The front steps are where I started to have an inkling in might be one of those days.  I very nearly bit it on that top step, I caught myself, but just barely.  I honestly thought to myself, “ok, you caught yourself, you now know it’s icy, you’re good.”

So I shuffled to the barn and got my milking supplies.  On the way from the barn to the cow, even the yard was icy.  I shuffled my way down to the gate and opened the gate.  Prudence, who normally meets me AT the gate, peeked her head out the tarp wall as if to say, “I’m not coming out there.”  Nice.

Our water drains through the pasture down into a swale.  As we have been having melting, thawing, and freezing rain, the part between the gate and the animal shelter/milking parlor is more or less an ice skating rink.  I didn’t bring my skates.

After nearly biting it two or three more times, I made it to the relative safety of the milking parlor.  “Not too shabby,” I thought to myself, “balance like a cat.”

During milking Prudence was a little more fidgety than normal.  On a regular day Bullseye will vacate the milking parlor knowing that he doesn’t get any grain and I prefer he leave so as not to bother Prudence.  He wasn’t interested in going out in the rain so he stayed.

Throughout milking the rain seemed to continue to come down harder and harder.  When I was just about done, Prudence decided she was done as well, and decided to relieve herself.  Bombs away!  Right into the water which was now flowing at a steady pace through the shelter, and splashed poopy rainwater everywhere.

I was hoping that by the time I finished there would be a slight break.  Unfortunately, as I finished, the rain began to beat on the steel roof.  I hung out with the cows for a few minutes longer, and then finally, the break I was looking for.  Just as I was heading out the door, lightning and thunder, which unnerved the cows further.  After skating back to the gate with my catlike reflexes(wink wink) I thought I was home free.

It was on the way to give the pigs the milk that I was greeted with the reality that I neither have catlike reflexes nor was I home free.  I stepped on the slight slope that is between the gate and the pigs, and my foot lost grip.  As I plummeted to the ground the bucket of milk hit the earth first, right next to my head, and an explosion of milk erupted all over my face and upper torso.  It was sweet if you are wondering.

After picking myself up, injury free but knowing I need to work on those reflexes, I headed to the hydrant to rinse out the bucket.  Wet, milky, and defeated, I shuffled to the house.

While aiding my pregnant wife to her car we managed to only almost fall twice.  Fortunately she made it safely to work, the milky clothes made it to the washer, and I am now clean and conversing with you.  All before 7:30.

Now that I have had time to write down the morning’s events, I can see how they might be humorous to others.  So if you have a story like this, that you can now laugh about, share it in the comments below.  I’d love to laugh along with you.

If you are still reading this, if you haven’t already, please consider checking out my YouTube page by clicking on the previous link.  It’s a lot of the same types of things you read and see here, but you get to put a voice and face to the words.  Maybe that’s not such a good thing… well check it out anyways.  I’d really appreciate if you like what you see, if you’d consider subscribing or liking a video.

Have a wonderful rest of your day, I’m going to.  Until next time.

Storm Preparation

There is an ice storm forecasted to blow through here this afternoon through early tomorrow morning.  So I took the opportunity late Sunday night to go and fill up my gas and diesel cans.  It was an overdue chore anyways so this was as good an opportunity as any to get it done.  I also picked up a couple extra gallons of water.  I already have a decent supply of drinking water, but when you are on a well, not having power can make drinking water a pain.

I still need to organize some things in the barn so that I can more easily access the generator, but at least now I will have fuel for it.  I still want to have an electrician come set me up with a manual transfer switch so that I can run the well pump and most of the house with the generator when necessary.  So if you know a good, affordable, electrician let me know.

I figure that this will probably be more hype than actual bite, but it always pays to be prepared.  The good news is that our location in Michigan shouldn’t get the worst of the ice build up, and the temperatures on Tuesday should get high enough to melt most of the ice so, knock on wood, we won’t have widespread power outages.  Still, better safe than sorry.

What do you do to prepare for oncoming storms?

Weekend Preparing for the Cold, and a Loss at the Homestead

Much of this weekend was spent preparing the animals, and my work regarding them, for the cold that is to come. Later this week, highs are supposed to drop down into the mid thirties. I don’t mind those temperatures, but with the animals some preparation is required. This is particularly true regarding waterers.

When we got the rabbits all of their stuff came along with them, including heated waterers. So I switched over from regular waterers to the heated ones. One had a slow leak, so I switched it out with another.


The chicken waterer I made here had already frozen a little on one of the coldest mornings we have already had. I bought a stock tank heater that is safe to use with plastic and installed it. I drilled a hole in the top of the waterer lid and then cut a slot over to it so I could slide the cord in. For now I have some vinyl gloves blocking the rest of the whole so nothing gets in the waterer.


I will probably buy another heater for the sheeps’ water tank, but for now I will just break the ice when necessary.

The good thing about all these heaters is that they are thermostatically controlled. This means that they only come on when the temperature is cold enough to warrant it and that I am not heating the water when I don’t need to be.

I also moved some of their feed into seal-able barrels.  This will make more room in the barn, and make feeding them more streamlined.

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The quail will be staying in the barn a few more weeks at least. They mature faster than chickens, but they need their feathers before heading outside. The kids want to hold them, but they aren’t like chickens. They are much more flighty and skittish.

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While I was getting some of these thing done, the kids came running up and exclaimed that Hunter was dead.  Hunter was the kids favorite chicken.  When I came to investigate it was clear that Hunter was not dead, but it was not far off. She couldn’t stand and was very weak.  I told the kids to say their goodbyes.  Death with farm animals is part of homestead life.  Unfortunately this was not just another nameless chicken, this was the one that they all liked holding and pretty much taking her with them whenever they were outside.  There were tears, and questions, and I did my best to explain why letting an animal suffer isn’t the right thing to do.  I had tried to prepare them for this day, she was by far the smallest of the chickens, and just wasn’t growing.  I don’t think she would have even had enough body fat on her to keep her warm when it got colder.  It is taking some of the kids longer than others to get over her death, but we are doing our best to get them through it.  When one of the sheep we bought last fall died, it wasn’t as big a deal because the sheep was at my brother in law’s house so the kids didn’t get attached.  That wasn’t the case here.

Until next time.








Ice Fishing, Finally

If I haven’t mentioned it, our younger son has been begging to go ice fishing since last winter.  Unfortunately for him there wasn’t any ice last winter.  This winter found us extremely busy but luckily for him the ice has been thick and long lived.  We were able to get to my parents’ cottage a for a couple days several weeks ago and the kids got to go out on the ice and fish the hard water.  The fish weren’t biting at all, but the kids didn’t seem to care, they just thought it was cool being out on the ice.  There is also a nice hill at a park a few lots down from my parents that was perfect for sledding.  A good time was had by all.

Our primary rod
My dad checking one of about 9 holes we were fishing
The biggest fish we caught over the two days, a little largemouth bass