Martok
January 18, 2010

Some farm animals are more prepared for the cold weather
Photo by Sue Weaver

Baasha has a warm, woolen coat. Dad doesn’t.

Yesterday it was 52 degrees F. Yippee!

Uzzi and I are glad we aren’t so cold. Mom is happy ‘cause it’s warmer too. Now she’s back to feeding us wearing jeans and two sweatshirts instead of layers and layers of bulky clothes.

She hates to wear a lot of winter outerwear. But she does it, you see, because humans stay warm in different ways than us goats (they don’t have cashmere undercoats, poor things).

When it’s super-cold and windy, Mom wears a fuzzy red thing called a balaclava over her head that hides her face and makes her look as though she plans to rob a bank. Dad wears a hat with ear flaps that tie under his chin so he looks like Elmer Fudd with a beard.

Mom tops her sweatshirts with a puffy goose down jacket; Dad prefers a canvas jumpsuit topped with a coat. They learned to dress warm when they lived in that cold, cold place called Minnesota that Hank the Beagle tells us about.

Here are some things Hank says humans do up North to stay warm while they’re out doing chores.

They dress in layers. Layers wick moisture away from human bodies while trapping warm air (and that keeps humans warm). Also, if they get too warm, they can shed a layer or two to avoid sweating because damp under-layers make them chill.

Other animals preferred the warm indoors to the cold
Photo by Sue Weaver

Jadzia stayed indoors when it was cold outside.

Mom loves natural fibers like cotton but when it’s super-cold she wears synthetics next to her skin. Synthetics don’t absorb sweat (like cotton does), they wick it away, and if they do get wet, they’re quick to dry.

They chose outwear wisely. It isn’t important to make a fashion statement doing chores; warm is better than pretty. A wind- and water-resistant outer layer is essential. Don’t skimp!

They wear warm socks made of wool or synthetic fiber that wick away moisture and stay warm even when wet (cold feet make humans feel cold all over).

They wear two layers of warm gloves or mittens to keep their hands warm while they do chores. When they take them off, they take the liners out so both layers get dry before using them again.

They wear warm hats (with scarves) or balaclavas, even if it gives them a bad hair day. Earmuffs, headbands and baseball caps aren’t enough; up to 30 percent of humans’ heat loss occurs through their heads and necks.

They make sure these things are warm and dry before using them again. They don’t leave boots and outerwear hanging in a cold mud room. That’s important!

There are lots of other things I could say about staying warm but I’m running out of room. For more ideas check out Mr. McAuliff’s Guide to Staying Warm When the Weather is Not; it’s written for Boy Scouts and it’s good!  

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