I am struggling to stay warm. The entire Midwest is under a cold snap that has buried some parts in snow and caused temperatures to plummet.
In my state of Indiana, we seemed to have shut down for the day. This image has been circulating my Facebook feed. I can’t tell where it originated, but it seems appropriate as hundreds of schools are closed, counties are under travel warnings, businesses are closed and even my off-farm job shut down for the day!
My cornfield received over 17 inches of snow. Current temps are horrible and the wind chills are even worse.
The storm started out a bit deceptive. On Sunday morning, we couldn’t get my car out to go to church, The Farmer had taken his truck to go plow the church parking lot and we were stuck at home. Since there was a nice, quiet snow falling, I bundled up the kids and sent them outside. The snow was the perfect snowman, fort, angel, snowball kind of snow. And it was eerily quiet. No traffic, no wind, no noise. I made doughnuts. The perfect treat after all their snow work.
The first thing we did when the wind started to pick up was to bring the 4H bunnies in the house. While our 4H animal barn is sheltered from the wind and cold, I wasn’t going to take a chance of a heat issue or frozen water bottles. So they are living in my laundry room right now!
Then it was time to worry about bigger issues. -45 degree wind chills surely meant our power would go out in the hog barns at some point overnight. I asked my social media friends to not only pray for the emergency workers, lineman, and others who had to brave the cold. But to pray for farmers who have to deal with livestock and can’t just hunker down in their houses to ride out the storm.
When we woke up, this is what we saw. 17+ inches of snow and no possible way for our hired help to get to our farm to work. So The Farmer is doing it all today. These barns house gestation units. Sows that are going to have baby pigs and sows that just had pigs. So we have to watch the temperatures very closely to make sure the barn stay warm to keep those baby pigs warm.
The barns are roughly 73-80 degrees, depending on what size of pigs are in them. This control panel keeps track of the temperatures. If we would have a power outage or the temperatures would drop, an alarm is activated and we receive a phone call to alert us of the problem. Then The Farmer would have to plow his way to the barns to fix the problem!
The barn is warmer than my house right now. The barn is at least 74 degrees. My house, set at 74, keeps falling. When I took this picture we were at 67. It has fallen to 66. Can someone send balmy weather my way? Or another pair of fuzzy socks?
There is plenty of talk from animal rights groups that hogs should be raised outside and not in barns. I would challenge every one of those people to stand outside in our weather for any length of time. They don’t want to live in this, why should I raise hogs outside when it’s colder than sin outside??
My hogs are in climate-controlled buildings. It’s warm. Warmer than my own house right now. They have access to feed and fresh water. Their water lines aren’t frozen, like many of my friends lines whose own water pipes are frozen solid. Our hogs have My Farmer to make sure they are warm and fed and who is putting their best interests over his own as he braves these cold temps and plows his own way to our barns, both here and many miles away, to check on their well-being. So people say farmers don’t care about their livestock? Come walk a mile in our shoes today. You’ll change your mind.