Sunday, July 1, 2012
Keeping the Animals Cool
According to the groomer, Misty should not be shaved due to risk of skin cancer with her pink skin. (I did grab a scissors today and trim off some belly hair.) Instead she cools off by getting wet when she gets a drink. When she's in the pigs' pasture, she lies down in their kiddie pool.
During the day we keep her up by the house where she can lay on the back porch and get the breeze from the ceiling fans or burrow into her "cave" under the bushes in front of the house. A full water-bowl is a given, with periodic infusions of ice cubes to cool it down.
Since Herb and Kara have to be in Denver for his sister's memorial during the exact days of the heat wave (!), he moved the horses to the Back Pasture before he left. It hadn't been grazed recently, so there's plenty of grass although the sun is gradually burning it crunchy. Once we were done with Siobhan's AI on Friday, I moved the cattle back to join them. (While in the round pen for the AI, they had water, shade, and some grass with cool leaves to snack on from the woods around the pen.)
Before we ever thought of getting pigs, we planned for a shade grove while Herb was fencing the Home Pasture. By thinning out the underbrush, we made it more accessible to animals while allowing the existing trees to grow bigger without competition. The pigs love this grove and spend a good part of the day down at the bottom of it.
Herb built a support for this pool for our last pair of pigs and it has held up beautifully, even with 325 lb. pigs using it! We bought two pools and doubled them for durability. Ping also has a shade tarp attached to the coop and fence (background) which she and the pigs use. She spends most of her time under the coop, though, if she's not in the pool.
Hero, Zephyr and I spend most of the day in the house with the AC, unless I have to go out to the garden to change the water to a different bed. Herb watered all the beds in the two days before he left, and I'm continuing to water all day long. We have enough beds that it takes two days to get around them all, leaving the water for 2 or 3 hours on each one depending on its size. It seems to be working because I've harvested almost 7 lbs. of bush beans, 11 lbs. of carrots, and 6 lbs. of pole beans in two days, not to mention a few tomatoes and a little squash. Freezing them made a good excuse to stay inside where it's cool!
So that's how we keep cool and hydrated while we wait out this heat wave. We have spotty storms predicted for all of next week, and we're praying for some good rain out of them to help alleviate our 6.5" deficit for the year.