Wednesday, November 18, 2009

First cold snap

The kids are sitting on the couch side by side, watching Sesame Street. I should be using the opportunity to start a fire and bring some wood in, but I'd rather sit here, drinking coffee and looking out the window. This is the third consecutive day our outdoor thermometer has stayed between ten and twelve below zero. We keep the house in the mid to high seventies during the day, but I can tell it is cold out when I pass by a door or window and feel the cold coming through the cracks. Ice is building up on the insides of the windows and doors. Outside is an icy blue dawn. Snow covers the ground and tall frosty trees. Usually the bird feeders would be a flurry of action but even those are still. I filled the feeders last week for the first time this winter and thought the chickadees would discover the food within hours. The feeders remain full and still.

The goats are all keeping warm in their stalls. I haven't turned any heat lamps on yet but I will if the temperature drops. I've been spending time in all the shelters observing the animals and they are all doing fine. The biggest indicator I look for is movement and interaction within the flock or herd. If everyone was huddled up in a corner or moving around in a daze I might worry. The goats shiver outside at their feeders, but if I notice them shivering inside their stall, that is when I turn on the heat lamp. The bucks have a nice build up up hay insulating their floor and there are three of them to heat up their space. They come out during the day for grain, water and hay. At night I toss a couple flakes of hay in their stall but they still come out and eat the hay at the feeders as well. When it gets really cold the goats will hardly venture out of their stall for anything other than a quick sip of water and a short snack.

The chickens in the top coop have been closed in for three days now and haven't had much desire to leave. There are two lights with regular bulbs on timers and a heated waterer. Each day I toss down fresh hay, scatter grains on the floor and give them veggie scraps from the kitchen. We are getting about five eggs a day, if we don't collect them within a few hours they freeze solid. The chickens and ducks in the bottom coop have shown interest in going outside so I've been opening their door for them a few hours each afternoon. The ducks are the hardiest. Unlike the chickens, they actually enjoy playing in the snow.

Today I have no ambitious plans. Keep the wood fire going (once I get it started here soon), make some pumpkin bread and keep the kids content. Noah and I might get outside when Avery naps. If the kids get restless this afternoon I'll give them a bath and bust out some new toys (kitchen utensils) to play with. This time of year is easy for me, (but then I'm not the one snow blowing the driveway clear, or pumping water from the truck into the house daily, ahem.) The cold and dark bring new challenges. I find the extremes exciting. After a busy summer I'm ready for some down time. There is nothing I'd rather be doing than planning yummy meals and eating them. Wherever you are I hope you are staying warm and getting some down time on these short winter days.

No comments: