Today it's cold, very cold! Our outside temp is -20 F. With the 17 mph wind we have that converts to a wind chill of -46. I'm sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop because it is warmer here than at my desk, but I may relocate. The wind is out of the west, which means this room's getting cooler — Bob's office is on the east side of the house and is the most comfortable room we have, except for the bathroom.
Bob said that days like this make him happy we no longer have cows and all the extra work that comes with freezing weather. Now our livestock consists of 17 chickens. Even though Bob isn't fond of chickens, he is sweet enough to take care of them during the winter. He says it gets him out of the house. I don't fight with him over this job. I just thank him and make him a cup of cocoa when he comes back in.
Today it was so cold that Bob wore a face mask to do his outside chores. The mask helped, but added an extra problem. Bob was wearing his glasses and when he stepped into the barn his glasses iced-over. Usually he only has to worry about his glasses fogging, but today that fog instantly turned to ice and blinded him. He had to pry the glasses off from under the mask so he could see again.
Sunny, our dog, usually loves winter. Earlier, when we had normal weather, I couldn't get him to come inside. These days, I can hardly get him to go out. He waits as long as possible and then asks to go out for a quick potty run in his yard.
This morning after leaving him outside I went to a window to watch so I could let him right back in as soon as he was finished.
Sunny was walking very oddly as he sniffed for a spot to go. He kept picking up his paws, trying to keep them off the extremely cold snow. His dance made going potty a bit difficult, but he managed. Currently he is sleeping nearby — maybe I should encourage him to move closer so I could warm my feet on him.
Age hasn't helped Bob or me cope with cold weather. Bob's hands go cold way too fast. For me, it's my feet.
I wrote to a Facebook friend in Alaska and asked her for suggestions for staying warm. Diane wrote and said, "Use a non-cotton liner socks and then wool sock over that and use good insulated boots even when outside even for short times. I make sure my winter use shoes (boots or shoes) are a half size larger to accommodate liner and thick wool socks. That makes sure that there's wiggle room for toes and nothing impinging on foot/ankle circulation. You can also slip in one of the little 'hand warmer packets' that generate heat. Going further you could wear rain pants over your jeans as an additional insulating layer for your legs and that will help your feet."
I told her my first layer was cotton socks and then wool socks. She responded saying, "Cotton socks will just about guarantee cold feet! And cotton long johns will be chilly too. Try liner socks that are not cotton, same with long johns. If you have a hiking store near you or online you could get a pair of polypro long johns or thin silk — just not cotton. You will notice a difference!"
I have my order placed, but right now I'm using the long underwear and socks that I have. It takes me forever to get dressed and undressed. Everything overlaps, which is good for drafts, but tricky when changing clothes. I get all tangled up getting ready for bed. It's best not to be in a hurry.
Bob says he's like a little kid. He gets all bundled up to go outside. When he's outside for a few minutes he has to come back inside to go to the bathroom.
I'm not wishing winter away, but I sure wouldn't mind having closer to normal temperatures. For us that would be 24 F for a high and 9 for a low. Today that would feel balmy.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net; http://www. facebook.com/susan. manzke.