My preparations for winter are very involved. Over the years, I have worked to make my life easier during the winter, but it is a long and complicated process, nonetheless. I have come to rely heavily on timers. And extension cords. As a matter of fact, once winter gets a full head of steam, my house resembles an octopus - with extension cord tentacles curling out from both sides.
On one side of the house are the chickens/ducks. I provide them with heated water all winter. This ensures they always have water to drink and it means I don't have to go out every morning and chop through ice. When it gets really, really cold, I add a light for a little bit of heat.
On the other side of the house are the sheep, llama and goats. I also provide a heated water source for the sheep, and now have the goats with their own needs in the barn.
And then there is the problem of light. Or lack thereof. Now, by the time I get home, it is almost dark. My front door is a distance from the driveway and it can get pretty dicey navigating the rough terrain. I have on my wish list a spotlight that will hit the drive and the chicken yard that is set off by a motion detector. But anything involving electrical work is mucho expensive, so on the wish list it will stay for a while. My cheap and colorful answer to lighting my way involves a timer and orange twinkle lights. It works fine, I use LED lights so they are more economical, and I can regulate it with a timer.
I also have a timer in the living room so that the house is illuminated when I get home and the dogs are not left in the dark. I also have a timer for a light in the barn so the goats are not left in the dark and I can see to feed them and get the hay for the sheep when I get home. Two years ago I invested in an outdoor spotlight that I can flip on from the house that illuminates most of the sheep paddock. It also makes a good coyote deterrent. But it was expensive to have installed, and expensive to run. It's only on for about an hour and a half every night. Just long enough for the eating machines to munch their way through their hay.
Goodness! I've rambled on forever without getting to the point of my title! How odd! (not). Yesterday, we had a weather front come through and with it, high winds and rain. This resulted in - not surprisingly - a power outage. Of course, I was snug in my office during all this drama, and didn't have a clue that the lights had gone out at home. By the time I got home, it was still blowing rain sideways and it was dark. I mean, dark EVERYwhere. The house was dark, the barn was dark. I can't tell you how much fun it is to go out with your headlamp on (but without my glasses, of course) to try to fathom how to reset the timer in the barn. The goats were sticking closely to my legs during the whole process. I don't think they cared for the dark, either. I finally got the light on and the timer reset. Then I had to go inside and reset those timers. And the nine million digital clocks. I don't reset the microwave because I don't use it. As a matter of fact, it's on the heave-ho list.
In my Perfect World, I would have power run to all the outbuildings, have it powered by alternative energy sources, and have someone home to take care of it while I commute back from work. Since my Perfect World is a place far, far, far away, I will juggle my timers and enjoy my twinkle lights!