The massive snow storm that blasted the midatlantic hit us about 9am on the 22nd. It started for me earlier than that, I woke up about 5am and started thinking about all the things I should do before the snow got too heavy. I checked the generator in case of a power outage, that thankfully never happened. I put whatever wood I could put my hands on around the bottom of the rabbit hutch and an extra tarp for the top. Then we sat back and waited for it to arrive.
The ducks don’t seem to mind the snow, as opposed to the chickens who look outside the coop and say “oh heck no, I’ll stay right here.”
The duck house provided on of my favorite scenes from the snow.
As did the path lights.
We did have to deal with one small downed tree blocking the driveway.
We worked hard and shoveled ourselves out.
And the state and county have done a great job on the road we live on.
And now, after a hards day work, we are cleaning out some of the left over meats in the fridge to make a big pot of chili.
We are back home after a week away from the old homestead. We were in Atlanta for a week. Thankfully we have a great friend who loves the country and is willing to take care of all the animals. That is an aspect of homesteading that we really are lucky with at this point. If ever we need to go out of town, you can’t just drop 15 chickens, 13 ducks, 2 rabbits, 2 parakeets and a cat off at a friends house to watch.
We have also been really lucky with the winter temperatures so far this year, but they are falling this week. Last night got down to 12 degrees, and the same is expected for the next couple. There is also a forecast for 8-12 inches of snow starting Friday, and while we dealt with snow last winter, we didn’t have quite as many mouths to keep track of.
The ducks I know are suppose to be very cold hardy, but I still can’t help but worry about keeping them safe. They are the farthest from the house, so I don’t have power where they are. I have a freeze-free water set up for the chickens but not for the ducks as of yet, so we will be making many trips down to them to make sure they have unfrozen water to drink. As of yesterday they still had an unfrozen spot on the pond, which this morning is gone. We will prepare and do the best we can. Until later world. For now here is a video of the ducks coming across the frozen pond last night to be put into their house.
Yesterday morning we went to our first chicken swap. We didn’t actually bring any chickens to swap, but we did have some cash in hand in case something caught our eye. It was a rainy cold morning so there was just a couple people there. One guy had a bunch of bantams, which were pretty birds but my wife had a goal in mind. The next couple selling had a bunch of turkeys, some barred rocks, a bunch of meat rabbits and the chickens my wife had her eye out for.
We love our chickens and the eggs they give us are plentiful and delicious, but they are all brown eggs. My wife had been on the look out for some Ameraucanas (or Americanas, I’ve see it both ways) is, and this couple had them. They not only had some 4 week old birds, but some laying hens. We decided on the older hens and into a box they went for the trip home. So let me introduce you to our new chickens.
Now we cross our fingers and pray for some blue or green eggs.
As we start off the new year it is a time of change. Oh sure the spring is still a ways off, but that doesn’t mean change doesn’t happen. Let us take for example the water that we give the ducks. While the ducks arrived last winter, they didn’t make the change to living outdoors until spring. This meant that we didn’t have to worry about their water supply freezing until now. I knew the pond could freeze over, as it did last year, so I needed to be prepared to have water available to them. Since the time the ducks moved down to the pond, I had two 3-gallon plastic containers filled with water near their food along with a water fount. Well these obviously froze when temperatures dropped into the teens for two nights in a row. I thought “no problem, just knock the ice out of the plastic containers and refill them with fresh wate.” Of course if I had thought about it, plasti becomes brittle when frozen and the containers shattered as I tried to dislodge the ice. Lesson learned.
So it was off to Tractor Supply for new options. I now have two fiber reinforced molded rubber containers to fill with water for the duckies to dip their heads in.
The other change I was thinking about recently, has to do with an earlier blog post I did, in which I talked about how dark the nights are in the country. I commented how in the city you don’t know how dark the night is until you move to a location where the only light around may come from the moon and stars. To be honest the darkness was a little disconcerting when we first moved out to the country, but now it seems different. The nights are obviously just as dark but my comfort level in moving around in it has gone way up. My senses are still on alert when I walk through the darkness with only the flashlight to lead me, but they are not to the mind absorbing phase they had been. The darkness is now an accepted part of the day, not a time to hide.
And a great big happy birthday today to my beautiful bride today. You are the greatest.
Until next time my friends. D.
A very happy new year to everybody out there. As we get started in 2016, I want this to be a year of looking forward. A year of getting stuff done. Of course I do have to remember that 2015 was a year that began with a dinning room table full of Snuggly ducklings.
But now onto 2016 and the beautiful Sunday before me today.
Since our move out to the homestead, “Sunday grocery day” has taken on a new meaning, a shopping list that is more fit for the truck bed.
And preparing for the week ahead starts with making sure that the wood stack is ready for dropping temperatures.
Some of the biggest plans for 2016 will be getting ready for a Christmas present that we received. My in-laws let us know that they were going to buy us goats, we just needed to pick them out. I have been talking about wanting a goat since we made the move out here, and my wife had wanted to get dairy goats to help us be more self-sufficient. As of now we seem to have decided on getting a pair of Nubian female dairy goats, but would love to hear other people’s opinions and experiences.
Here’s to a great new year. And away we go.