The past few days and the days to come are in the freezing range here in the south. Yes, I was raised in the Midwest and yes, I’m sure I chuckled a time or two about the “soft” south that virtually shuts down when the temps dip into the 20’s. But here’s the deal, until I moved here twelve years ago, I had no idea how ridiculous the mocking really is.
Extreme heat? Bring it on; the south knows how to deal with that, but the south does not plan for sub freezing weather because it is infrequent, so there are no tools to combat it. Even the slightest freeze disrupts life. Roads become skating rinks, bridges become death traps and trees not meant to be in cold weather collapse and snap power lines. There are no salt trucks, or snow removal machines and none of the infrastructure was designed to handle colder temps.
On a micro level it is no better. I can only relate what has happened here on the farm. We are not set up for a prolonged freeze, as we would be if we lived in a colder climate.
Our greenhouse relies on the sun and warm daytime temps to keep it going. Even our diesel heater can only do so much. After a several day battle, a lot of money in fuel, but too many overnight temps in the teens, everything has died. My only choice is to wait this weather out, reseed and then wait the two months before everything is ready for harvest again.
Our livestock needs a constant source of water. Typically we have to bring water to the chickens and turkeys twice a day. We do this by filling 5 gallon buckets loaded into the RTV and driving to each pen. In this cold, the RTV won’t start so everything must be done on foot. In addition, the water needs to be refilled several times a day because it freezes, making it undrinkable. The cows water trough is self-filling…….that is, when temps are above freezing. So instead of just letting that go, we have to go out to break the ice, and hand fill their water at regular intervals.
And mind you, I have to do this all while listening to Steve’s constant bitching about him being too cold and his hands getting frostbite because we don’t have proper winter jackets, boots or gloves ;-)
Now I’m not writing this so y’all can tell me how sorry you are for our lost crops or Steve’s precious frozen digits as he shovels ice chunks out of the cow’s trough. I’m just keeping it real so you understand why several days of freezing temperatures impact us southerners so profoundly, even though it doesn’t last as long as it does up north.
We ain’t delicate, just not accustomed to seeing our breath.