On January 5th our governor declared the state of Tennessee to be in a statewide state of emergency due to the severe cold weather. To be honest Jason and I had no idea that we were living in a state of emergency until the next day, Monday, January 6th. Jason happened to be watching the local news while I was making dinner and they announced that the state of emergency was no longer, and that TEMA (Tennessee Emergency Management Association) was "standing down to level IV - Elevated." Thus we learned of our state of emergency after it had actually expired. I guess ignorance is bliss, right?
Unknown to Jason and I we had for the last 24 hours been living in Level III which is State of Emergency. All of the school systems in middle Tennessee were closed on Monday and Tuesday as well due to cold. An hour north of us in Nashville there was apparently a little bit of snow on the ground but our county had no winter precipitation. They simply felt it was too cold for kids to go to school. Although we are no longer living in Level III, State of Emergency, TEMA's official stance on our daily lives right now is as follows (bold emphasis mine):
"The precipitation associated with a strong arctic cold front has moved out of Tennessee and left record cold air. The bitterly cold temperatures are expected to remain in the state until Wednesday. It is extremely dangerous for people or pets to be outdoors for even a short period or amount of time."
Well darn, I totally missed my chance to close up shop and sit in the house eating bon-bons. We need to watch the news more often! Because today Jason and I were outside from 6:30am until dark, only coming inside for a short while to eat lunch. By the time we went inside to eat lunch the temperature had risen from an overnight low of 1.7F (seriously we almost ran out of degrees!!) all the way to a balmy 18F degrees. By this afternoon it had reached a positively tropical 24F. First we were feeding horses and then one of our farriers was here for a few hours this morning. Apparently he also missed the memo that it was dangerous to be outdoors for even a short period of time.
Good lord people. No one complains about the cold more than I do. In case this is your first time reading this blog I am quite vocal about how much I LOATHE cold weather. But seriously no one is going to die from being outside at these temperatures as long as they are properly clothed and healthy. My version of proper clothing yesterday and today was three pairs of long underwear (it was a freaking miracle I was able to button my jeans), a turtleneck, a sweatshirt, a coat, an ear warmer, a fleece hat, the hood pulled up on my coat, two pairs of socks, and toe warmers in my boots and in my gloves. Before anyone mentions it I have a pair of carhartt overalls but I hate them and refuse to wear them. They are way too stiff and I feel like I can't bend or move.
Now I'm not saying that Jason and I didn't do things to prepare for this weather. As we have heard over and over in the last 48 hours Tennessee hasn't seen temperatures this low since 1994. We have, praise the lord, made it twenty years since we last had to deal with this nonsense. If I had to deal with temperatures like this all winter every winter I would have to move. Oh wait, I already did that. Jason and I lived in Vermont the first year we were married and after one winter - which all the native Vermonters pronounced as mild - I looked at Jason and informed him I was never voluntarily living through another winter like that again. I learned that the temperature gauge on my car had a minus sign and this was knowledge I did not care to have. Someone else can have the joy of driving across frozen lakes in the winter, I gladly passed that baton.
Anyway, back to our preparations. We put out tons and tons (I literally mean tons) of extra hay for the horses. All of the horses were blanketed. When this front moved through our area Sunday evening we went from 50 degrees and raining to super cold and windy in about five minutes. The last thing we wanted was to have wet horses who suddenly were very cold. It was freakish how fast things changed. We double blanketed some of the horses, and one horse I actually triple blanketed. I have never in my life put three blankets on a horse but it seemed to be what made this particular horse comfortable and happy. We aim to please so on went the third blanket.
Jason sewed up his coveralls to get them ready to wear. He brought them with him when he moved to the U.S.from Canada and has kept them all this time. They had a big rip in one of the legs from when he last wore them in Canada. Since he moved here from Canada he has never worn his coveralls and hence the rip had never been repaired. As I watched Jason sitting in the rocking chair in our mud room manning a needle and thread for what was clearly the first time in his life my comment to him was "desperate times call for desperate measures."
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Jason sitting in the rocking chair in our mudroom sewing up a tear in his coveralls. It was kind of painful to watch.
Jason was also quite worried about getting the Ford tractor to start should we need it during our two days of arctic blast. The ancient Kubota tractor has never let us down and always starts but it is not as big as the Ford and it also does not have 4WD. So we needed to baby our stupid tractor through this as well. Thus if you happen to be in my house and open the door to the pantry you will see, along with the normal food items, the battery to the Ford tractor. We wouldn't want it to get cold now would we? Apparently *I* can survive single digit temperatures better than the damn tractor. Who would have thunk it?
We debated whether or not we should put the World's Cutest Fainting Goats in the barn and shut them in a stall but in the end we decided to bed their goat house extra heavily and let them stay outside. I made sure that I had a case of toe warmers and that every pair of long underwear I have ever owned in my life was clean and ready to wear. We made a big pot of beef stew on Sunday so we could eat it for lunch to warm up yesterday and today. We complained a lot and then we complained some more. And that was pretty much the extent of our preparations.
I am happy to report that so far all people and animals at Paradigm Farms have survived the state of emergency. I hate living through big fluctuations in the weather with horses because you never know what you are going to get. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be almost forty degrees. After the last two days it will probably feel like it is time to break out the shorts and flip flops. By the weekend it is supposed to be 60 degrees and that will feel like living on the surface of the sun. I can't wait.
Lucky and Lightening say it is kind of hard to groom each other with blankets on
O'Reilly napping in the sun
Calimba and Maisie grooming
Thomas saying to his best buddy Jason "I've never seen you dressed like this before. Is this a new look?"
Murphy and Johnny were having a grand time while Sebastian was more sensible and grazed
Donovan napping in the hay with Clayton and Oskar
even Johnny consented to wearing a blanket
the World's Cutest Fainting Goats have been busy stuffing themselves with hay
Romeo and Faune were being playful