When we look at today's weather map, we all see the same thing: the Polar Vortex that covers both Canada and most of the USA. Our sub 0 temperatures began late last week. Inside we stay cozy and warm, but we have to worry about the outside critters--rather the Head Gardener who tends to them has to problem solve the effects of such extreme cold, like the -15 degrees that held through most of the night. Even at -6 and a heat wave of 0 cause certain problems for horses. Take POP for example. At 34 while he looks robust and even acts robust, but the cold is hard him. The HG dug out his winter blanket late last week and covered him up. Sundance suffering from arthritis is stiff and presumably, like we humans, probably has cold aggravated pain.
Experts will say that horses are build to endure the cold, that blanketing isn't all that necessary, often overheating them, even in this extreme cold. The most important way to keep a horse warm is feed, which as the Vet told us fires up the horse's internal furnace. So Sundance can graze, but POP can't because he doesn't have good enough teeth to grind up forage, so he gets pellets that become a warm mash with hot water added. Only, yesterday his mash was freezing before he get it eaten, so late in the evening when the HG became frustrated that he couldn't keep the mash soft, I suggested using the dog's heated dog food bowl and it worked. We felt much better knowing that POP would get his full ration of food, hoping to help keep him warm.
The Barn Cat Callie is quite spoiled with a heated lamp above her dog crate home, still her water freezes, as does the pigeons' water. The hens stay toasty in their house with another heat lamp. The ponds are frozen, so we try to keep the bird bath filled and the feeders full.
I've been keeping myself busy making greeting cards for my DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) chapter to ship to Cards for Soldiers in Michigan, an organization that takes handmade cards and ships them all over the US, but mostly to soldiers deployed overseas. I host card parties here in my basement where several DAR members will join me every few weeks to make cards. Our last party created valentines for the residents at the Cheyenne VA nursing home.
This group of cards are all occasion cards that soldiers will be able to send home to loved ones. As an avid scrapbooker, over the years I have acquired quite a stash of embellishments and papers, so I dug it out and began to create. Mostly we have done Thank You for Your Service themed cards in red, white, and blue, but this program gives us the opportunity to be more creative. It's relaxing and gives us a great sense of contribution to the men and women who serve in the military.