This has been a rough winter! Until yesterday, in spite of the snow we have been spared really cold weather, having dipped below zero maybe a couple of times. Not so two years ago. In January of 2009, I went out to milk at 2:00 pm and the temperature was -4º two days running. That was our high for both days. My digital weather station wouldn't even record the low - it stops at -21º. I thought it was broken, looked in the troubleshooting section of the book and found that at -22º, it says something like, "Rebuild the fire and go back to bed. You don't want to know!" My neighbor told me the bank thermometer said -26º. I'll take her word for it.
Yesterday morning, predicted low was -4º, something like that, but it was -12º when I first looked, at about 6 am. I had to go into market early. By then it was -13.6º, and being that it was already 7:30, I thought that was it. However, when I got back in the house later in the day, I flipped through the low and high temperatures for the day and found that at about 8:30, it recorded -15.2º. Okay, so that isn't -26º, but frankly, it's cold! I left market early, and it was a good thing. Everything was frozen up in the milk room. Kayla had made a valiant effort to get things working again, but when it finally let loose, it blew off a faucet on the hand sink that had been giving us trouble, and hot water was shooting everywhere in the milk room!
Kayla hauled buckets of water by hand so that calves and cows had at least a little water, and we dug out a set of faucets that came with our new sink. We never used them because we found out they were "low flow," which is not what the milkers want when they are cleaning up after milking, so we put the old faucets back on and put the new ones in the old barn. They came in very handy yesterday, and now the hand sink has a new set of "low flow" faucets - and with a sprayer no less!
The chickens, however, proved the point that the temperature has absolutely nothing to do with how many eggs they lay. I have a light turning on automatically at 6 am and turning off at 8 pm, so they are experiencing a 14 hour day now. After one week, their production had crept up from four or five eggs a day to 18 or so. Yesterday, they hit 28, a new record! And the high temp for the day was about 7º. Yup, all they care about is daylight. Cold is meaningless.
Well, I'm working on income tax. I have digressed from the task at hand long enough. Back to work!