We're having one of those challenging winters where it doesn't snow enough, and yet doesn't warm up enough to melt everything. The result is a thick layer of ice everywhere ... on the drive and in the pastures, as you can see in the photo above, in the dog yards, on the walkways and ramps ... in other words, everywhere there is a flat surface. The entire farm is just coated in ice that is an inch to two inches thick.
Needless to say, getting around to do all the daily chores is downright treacherous in these conditions. We don't step outside without wearing cleats. We used to have long stretches of icy conditions in Montana, too, and over the years we tried every kind of ice-cleat on the market. We found that all of the rubberized slip-on kinds routinely slipped off while doing farm and ranch chores. They might be okay while shoveling your suburban sidewalk or walking out to the curb to get the mail, but for real outdoor work -- feeding hay, climbing off and on tractors, carrying buckets of grain or lugging water jugs, fixing fences -- those slip-on kinds would slip off far too often. And most didn't have enough real gripping power anyway.
We finally found the ultimate stay-on ice cleat -- Stabilicers. This is a shot of my cleated boots this morning that I took while I was out getting the photo of the icy drive:
For heavily trafficked areas like the ramps, doorways and gates, we also spread wood ashes -- an old-time "ice remedy" that provides instant traction and is a lot cheaper than commercial deicer products. (Yes, we could use sand but then we'd have to pay for the material and pay someone to haul it in.)
Of course, in these conditions the dogs are outside for the bare minimum, and the horses stay in their corrals.
At this point we are longing for either two feet of snow or a very early spring!
Wilbur had his dental surgery yesterday and is doing fine -- I will be picking him up from the clinic later today.
The new Shelter Challenge started Monday, January 9 and ends at midnight on March 18. Grand prize in this round is $5,000, plus $1,000 for weekly winners and $1,000 for state winners. There are also other categories ... please see the Shelter Challenge website for details.
*** Okay, this is important, folks: We are now LISTED UNDER OUR NEW NAME, ROLLING DOG FARM. State is still NH for New Hampshire. ***
Please remember, you can vote every day ... consider bookmarking the voting page to make it easy.
We won $1,000 as a weekly winner in the last contest, and thousands more in the previous contests. The Shelter Challenge really does bring in a lot of money for the animals here!
You can vote in the Shelter Challenge here.