Prepper Diary November 5: Snow Signals the Start of Winter

A light snow fell yesterday.
A light snow fell yesterday.

Woke up yesterday to snow. Somewhat more than a dusting, but not enough to worry about. We’ve had frost and a hard frost, but this was our first snow and the coldest night yet. Proof that it is November, which around here signals the start of winter.

The bedroom was 60 degrees when I woke up, the bathroom was 54. It felt warmer after a shower (the hot water heater is electric). The fire in the basement had burned down to coals, but a few fresh logs caught and the temperature gradually climbed back to 74. For much of the day, two logs generate sufficient heat. When we get into the teens or lower, we’ll need four or more logs at a time to keep warm. We’ve been using the stove in the basement on and off for a week or 10 days. Today was the first time we lit a fire in the fireplace insert upstairs. By the time my wife went to bed, the bedroom was up to 68.

By noon, most of the snow had melted, so I carried another 45 logs into the basement. I have two piles near the stove: One is the logs I just carried in and the other is the logs I carried in the time before. We burn the older pile first, which helps dry out the newest logs. (While the outdoor wood piles are under shelter, they still can get damp on a humid day.) After we use up one indoor pile, we replace it and switch piles.

I am burning mixed hardwoods, which appear to be mostly oak and locust. I bought in May, so they have been seasoning in my woodpile for six months. They were supposedly seasoned already, which I have learned means the big logs were old when they cut and split them. Since they are burning well, that must have indeed been the case.

Feeding the Chickens

Knowing that these frosts were coming ad would kill our remaining garden plants, we fed the chickens the last of them a couple days ago. This was mostly mums and marigolds. My wife moved one very large mum indoors to enjoy for a while longer, but I know the chickens will get it eventually. She is continuing to keep our pumpkins on display for seasonal reasons. She no doubt looks at them and has warm autumn thoughts. I look at them and wonder, when can I give those to the chickens? I expect it will be after Thanksgiving, unless they rot before that.

The snow didn’t seem to bother the chickens at all.

Chickens enjoying marigolds
Earlier this week, the chickens enjoyed the marigolds. It was time to pull them up before a killing frost struck. Chickens are omnivores and what they will consume may surprise you.

Our Dog is Sick

The dog has been under the weather, and it’s one of those hard-to-diagnose things where she is lethargic and sleeps all day, but the vet can’t pinpoint anything specific. She isn’t eating as much as normal. She doesn’t want to go on walks. I think she is in pain and discomfort, but we don’t know why. She seems to have lost her enthusiasm for life. Makes me wonder if it is some kind of early or rapid-onset arthritis.

The vet X-rayed her to look for things like a twisted stomach, punctured diaphragm, blockage in her intestines, etc. All looks fine. It’s not a tick-related disease, nor worms. Her blood test doesn’t show an elevated white blood cell count or make them think it’s cancer. They run their hands over her but can’t find an obvious sore spot or pain point.

Interestingly, for a few hours every two or three days, she reverts to her old self and prances around, plays with her toys and eats heartily, but it doesn’t last. When she is not feeling well, she won’t even eat her treats. I’ve actually seen the moment when she goes from excited to shut down. It was like flipping a switch.

She’s on an antibiotic in case she has giardia or cryptosporidium (which I didn’t know dogs got) and prednisone. We’ll see if either helps.

I guess this is the downside of getting a rescue. We don’t know what their history is and we are quickly spending as much on vet bills as it would have cost to buy a pure-bred puppy.

I can’t help but wonder if getting shocked by the electric fence brought on some PTSD, possibly from how she was treated before we got her. We’re being supporting, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping whatever it is passes as quickly as it came on.

Prepper Diary November 5: Snow Signals the Start of Winter