The weather has been seesawing crazily. Saturday it was -10°F and we got three inches of snow. Sunday morning Mike plowed the farm driveway. Sunday afternoon it was almost 50° and pouring rain.
Yesterday at 4 AM it was 23° but it was clear that another weather front was moving in. The wind was blowing like a train whistle and the trees were thrashing. There were mini-whitecaps on the paddock water trough, forming long icicles on the leeward side. When I started to put out the morning hay, the flakes immediately skittered away like tumbleweeds.
Cold alone is manageable, but cold combined with wind is dangerous. I decided to keep the animals inside for the day.
By barn chores at 4 PM the temperature had dropped to 5°. The wind was still blasting and it felt much, much colder. While the little calves nursed in the stanchion, I mucked out the cow stalls.
To muck the steer stalls, I turned the steers outdoors. They are big and shaggy and unaccustomed to being confined during the day. As the boys jostled their way outside, they humped their backs and corkscrewed, bucking happily. Then the wind hit them. They pivoted, immediately wanting to come back in.
The wind was so fierce I almost could not pull the door closed against the pressure — twice it tore from my hands and banged against the barn. Meanwhile the steers definitely wanted to be back inside. They bellowed indignantly in the freezing wind while I mucked their stalls quickly into the aisle, spread fresh dry shavings, and filled water buckets. I slid the latch, the door banged open with a crash, and the chastened steers hurried in to their dinner hay.
It is below zero now and due to fall to -25° F tomorrow night.
“As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens.”