Monday, February 15, 2021

Mind Numbing

We all tend to wear down under extreme conditions.  As a farmer, I tend to reflect on extreme weather conditions.  Long periods of heat, consistent high winds, flooding, drought, extremely long periods of cloud cover - all of these can eventually make you feel numb.

I distinctly remember a couple of times when Tammy and I just stood in the kitchen while the weather radio ran down the list of flood reports and the warnings for flash flooding and the warnings for excessive rain AND the warnings for severe thunderstorms.  We couldn't move and we couldn't do anything.  We were just numb because we had been standing in that same spot, day after day, hearing the same kind of reports and warnings.  And... the forecast kept saying the same thing.  Rain and flooding.  More rain and more flooding.

After a while, you just go about your business as best you can.  You don't even realize that you're not being very efficient in your work.  You are no longer certain how long this particular trend has gone on.  You just trudge forward as best you can.  

It isn't until things start to change that you realize exactly how numb you were, how lost you were and how little progress you made.

The current cold snap has a numbing effect on us as well.  Yes - if you're out in it too long, there can be some numbness - so cover up that skin, ok?  But, I am talking about how Tammy and I often put "progress on hold" during these cold stretches so we can concentrate on just dealing with the situation.

As we've mentioned before, we need to go out and deal with the poultry frequently each day.  If you want eggs, you have to collect often or you end up with broken/frozen eggs.  The chickens need unfrozen water, so you need to deal with that as well.

Our most recent cold weather episode found us dealing with waterers freezing because the base heaters were not keeping up with the cold.  

First, you need to understand that we do not have a water line that goes out to their building in the winter months, so we must haul water from the house to the building.  That's fine.  We can handle that.  But, now, if waterers are freezing, we have to start switching out the waterers as well as bring water from the house.  We are certainly not against exercise, but we're also not looking for extra time in -35 F wind chills.

Of course, when you do go outside, you are bundled up.  You just don't have the same range of vision you do most of the year.  Your eyes tear up (and freeze) in the cold, which makes it even harder to see.  So, it is not so easy to figure things out when something isn't quite right.  Add to that the fact that you really want to get back INSIDE...

and remember, our minds are numb.

To make a long story less long - electric cords become much less flexible in this kind of cold.  Water that drips out of waterers freeze fairly quickly on other surfaces too.  Poultry step on most anything they can step on - including frozen, inflexible electric cords.

Yeah.  Funny thing about electric cords that get pulled out of the insulation part way - they can tend short out, spark, and threaten to set things on fire.

No - that is not how we want to keep our water unfrozen.  And, no, I don't think the birds would have liked that kind of heat for very long.

Of course, all is well.  We did jolt our minds into action enough to investigate the heater problem.  After all, we knew they might have problems keeping up - but we also knew this one was failing to do its job in such a way that it was indicating another problem existed.

The backup heater is working now.  And the one that had a short in the cord?  Well, the base is still frozen to the ground in the hen room, but the cord is off of it so we will never be tempted to plug it in again.  Fair enough.

So, I was tempted to start a countdown until we saw a temperature around freezing again based on the forecast.  But, am finding I can't count that high.  Not only that, I can barely remember which day it is.  All I know is that my eyeballs shiver and the hairs on my head try to grow back into my skull to get warm each time I go outside.  That explains everything well enough.  I grew my hair out to make room for my brain and now my hair is trying to take up my brain space.

No wonder I'm numb.


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