Sunday, 3 February 2008

High Winds, snow and no electricity

It's been very windy this week, something we are used to, but driving to and from the station have been "entertaining" as my car got buffeted by the high winds on some of the more exposed parts of the A171. Walking the dogs, Tim was convinced at some point he would be holding onto two "dog kites"!!! On Thursday morning it got worse as the high winds were accompanied by hailstones, Holly decided she'd had enough and after 10 minutes of the morning walk she turned round to go home, closely followed by Deefa. Tim had no option but to follow, not that he minded, he too didn't rate being pebble dashed by the hailstones.
So apart from making sure that the sheep and alpacas have sufficient hay, water and feed, the wood box is full, he's been scraping off the flaking paint on the wood panelling on the stairs. Some has come off easily, but some won't shift, so it looks like we will have to do a lot of sanding to get it smooth. Better buy some shares in hand cream companies, as I'll be using lots!!!!!
On Friday it was forecast to snow, but as I went off to Darlington station, at 06.15 to catch a train to London, there was no sign of snow. At 12.00 Tim sent me a text to say, it was snowing, followed an hour later by a photo of our back field covered in snow. Needless to say I caught the next train home. But this was only the start of the "fun". An hour into my journey home, I received a message from Tim to say that we had no electricity, not to worry we have the means to have power, but just as he was leaving home to pick me up from the station, that failed!!! By now the snow was 4" deep and forming drifts. I then received a call to say, that a lorry had skidded across the road and Tim was stuck waiting for the snow plough to free the lorry. 1/2 hour later the lorry was moved and Tim was finally on his way. It was a slow drive back from Saltburn and despite being in a 4x4 when the wind caught the car, we ended up skidding across the road a few times. We finally arrived home to total darkness, still no power.
On Saturday Tim managed to fix it so we had some power, but it wasn't until 19.30 that we had full power. It turned out that 2 electricity poles had come down between our village and the next. But despite no power, it was a mild day, the snow had frozen so it was a pleasure to be out. We filled the wood boxes, lit the wood burning stoves and thanks to the Aga were able to have warm meals and hot cups of tea.
We woke up this morning to find that it had thawed over night and most of the snow had gone, so now the land is wet and sticky again!!!! We've given the ewes access to a different paddock, the one they were grazing in, the entrance is turning into a mud bath. Damage limitation again to protect the grass!!
Whilst Tim cut up some more wood I put some fresh straw down in Ghilli and Grommet's field shelter as well as the one used by the Hector and Charlie and their respective minders. Ghilli and Grommet just watched me do it, the sheep decided to help, it gets a little bit crowded in an 8' x 12' pig arc with 6 sheep, 2 with horns, when you're bent double trying to spread straw!!! The ewe's feed troughs also needed cleaning out as after 2 weeks of wet weather, there is a lot of mud and hay stuck in the bottom of them. A child's old metal spade does the trick and it's a quick job if you are left alone, but today Cassie sheep decided to help by standing in the trough watching what I was doing and right where I wanted to be!!!! The joys of owning sheep!!!
Finally the only damage we sustained in the high winds, is a pine tree has got blown over, thankfully causing no damage.
Life is never quiet owning a smallholding

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