Ozark New Year Surprise

Winter weather usually shows up in the Ozarks between Christmas and New Year’s. But this was a new year surprise.

The forecast was for rain and a wintry mix. Winters have been warmer for several years now. Instead I woke up to the aftermath of an ice storm.

One of the librarians so wanted snow. Snow is lovely – in pictures. For those of us with livestock snow is a headache. Ice is even worse.

This new year surprise was a quarter inch coating of clear ice coating everything outside. There had been some wind, so the ice coated the sides of buildings normally protected from the weather.

frozen gate latch after an Ozark ice storm
The ice built up on the chicken yard fence and froze the gate latch to the fence. It didn’t matter much as the chickens had no intentions of going outside into the cold and ice.

Luckily I have the habit of using lead ropes to tie gates closed whenever wet weather is around in the winter. I hate climbing over gates frozen shut, especially with a bucket of milk.

Stones, broken branch pieces and hammers work well to break off a quarter inch of ice. A hand warms the rest and the hook opens. The barn door was broken loose and opened.

Next came feeding the chickens. The gate hook was frozen to the fence. A handy piece of branch knocked it loose.

The water fount took the hammer to knock the ice off. I always take it apart for the night in the winter. The pump handle was iced shut and had to be knocked free.

icy hand pump is new year surprise
Luckily the ice wasn’t too thick as it did try to freeze the pump handle shut. This pump in on an old dug well and I use it to get water for the chickens and goats.

The chicken house was a challenge. The ice had blown over onto the door and sealed it for the first time I can remember. The hammer freed the hinges and pried the door open.

The goats were not impressed with the new year surprise. Even with full hay troughs and normal feed rations, they are starving to death and mob the milk room door.

Last year was such an eventful year. I was hoping for a more laid back version this year. Maybe the new year surprise storm is a last gasp from last year, not a harbinger of the new one.

Goats can be challenging. Meet Capri and her herd in “Capri Capers”.