As I look out of the window, I see snow flakes falling. Mr. Bootsie just came in from the pasture lot, 2 eggs in his hand and another empty water bucket. Gave me his report of another one of the girls in one of the nesting boxes so maybe there will be another egg shortly. There are baby plants growing under the lights and more seeds waiting to be planted. It sounds like a springlike day but I know different.
Momma duck decided to take a break, there was no duck eggs laid Wednesday thru Friday. I was a bit concerned thinking she may have given up on my allowing her to have a nest. The freezing nighttime temperatures are continuing and I would rather wait a little longer. My girl has never set, I have been told ducks are difficult to set and I really do not want her leaving the nest after a couple of days. I do not have a hen which would take over for her right now. So we shall wait until spring. Saturday morning there was another duck egg in the coop, meaning she is continuing to lay eggs.
Maybe the bucket of chickweed I took to the runs yesterday reminded her I was still taking care of them in the cold. I harvested the chickweed from the cold tunnel and there is more. The moles do not eat the chickweed, but; they have been eating the mustard and Holland greens. My experiment putting the chard and spinach in pots and sinking them in the garden soil seems to be working. The chard is large enough to gather for salad greens. If you plant only one green and have never grown chard, plant some this year. This green is so good for you and may be used like spinach.
Soggy, the land is like a sponge at this point and there is more moisture coming. I usually do quite a bit of work in the garden in later part of February but I think this year we shall be drying. I can work in the tunnel to get the early garden going. I have enough covers to make another row tunnel and I may be doing this next week. I am thankful for the rain and snow we have had. I am looking forward to a lush spring.
Earlier this week, I was asked about how we have kept the animal's waterers during this cold spell. So, this is what we did. I have my schedule which the animals must adapt to. I feed and water every morning around 8:30, everyone is given warm water. During this bitter cold there was warm water for the flocks around 11:00, I usually do not check on them before 1 in the afternoon but these conditions controlled how they were cared for. One o'clock the eggs are gathered (because of the cold temperatures the eggs have been gathered each time someone comes to the coop) and there is warm water again. In the afternoon we may not need to watch the water as we did find some spots to place the waterers so they did not freeze. One of us found ourself making a 2 to 3 o'clock walk to the pasture lot on the coldest afternoons, just to be safe. We were bedding down for the night starting around 4 in the afternoon, so, again, there was warm water for everyone. All of the outside waters were emptied and turned over so there was nothing to freeze in them. The chickens were given a second batch of warmed oatmeal on some of the coldest days. Yes, some days there were 4 or more trips to check on them. The goats were given raspberry tea with honey and it was warm. These babies are our farm animals, I was raised to care for them because they take care of us. Our crew made it through this bitter cold winter and we did also. Momma taught me how to take care of my animals, also, taught me to take care of myself. I was never allowed to stay in the house because it was too cold to go outside. Everyday you must go outside for a few minutes, yes, we did. We went out to take care of our flock and ourselves, things have not changed for me, running our farm is no different than helping my parents with their farm.
I have no love for the clip on heat lamps. I have seen too many coops and barns burned from using them. We have no electric in any of our coops or the barn. This will save me from forgetting and have a terrible loss. One of the worst barn fires, I have ever seen, was caused by lightening. My family was there to ache with the property owner because as it burned to the ground there was nothing that could be done to save the barn or the animals.
As I check outside, the flurry has stopped, I am sure the goats are back outside! The chickens will come from under their coop and find treasures in the leaves and ground to eat. The ducks may never have realized it was snowing, they just seem to stay busy finding nourishment in the leaves.
Thanks for sharing this lazy Saturday afternoon on our farm. The farmer is thinking of spring and I know it will come once again. If you are out and about stop by, I made a coconut pie Friday afternoon and I would love to share with you. Well, my rocking chair is calling me, so until next time...Stay safe, happy and healty!!!!