Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter Came in Like a Loin

We heard the weather reports, made a feed store run, picked up a couple of items at the grocery store and came home.  It was time to prepare for the storm, all the time we were hoping it would miss our little farm but Mother Nature had other ideas.  There was a fuel run on Thursday morning, all of the vehicles were backed into their parking areas, the truck was plugged into the electric timer to warm it, so starting would be easier.  The goats hay holder was filled, along with the chicken feeder, those ducks what can I do help them.  They spend all of their time eating from the earth and this is just not going to happen.

The snow came in, Friday morning about 10:20. Mr. Bootsie began breaking a tract in the afternoon.  I was raised on farm which broke the track and we continued to run the roads every few hours as the snow fell.  He, also, removed the snow from the tunnel, as we have no heat in the tunnel the weigh from the snow could collapse the tunnel.  The first snow stopped around 7:30 Friday evening and a sleety mix began to fall, this did not last long and we did not have to clear the tunnel during the night.  I got up early Saturday morning to work the fire and check on things.  It was snowing again.  This time the flakes were small so I was once again hoping the 8 to 9 inches on the ground would be all we would be blessed with.

I put my snow plan to work on Friday, the hens were left in the coop, the run was opened up so the ducks could get under the chicken house, where I was able to feed and water them.  There were 3 trips made to the coop and barn each day to replenish the water, which consisted of dumping the ice from the water bowls and filling them with warm water.  You really do not realize how much the chickens eat outside on a daily basis until they are cooped up and only have the food which you give them.  I was feeding squash seeds as a treat to the chickens and the goats.  The duck pond froze and all they had was a water bowl, which was also a bath tub for them.

It snowed all day Saturday and there was several more runs to keep the road open, trips to the tunnel to remove the snow.  There was enough wood at the house with the outside rack right out the door.  The snow was getting deep, and the ducks have very short legs, they were now pushing their way through the snow, and could hardly get about.  I packed a path to their house from the chicken house and they were able to waddle into their house for the night.  We stopped running the road to the pasture lot after the sleet fell and the snow returned, as I was concerned about an ice crust which would have been unsafe for two old farmers to walk on.  This was a good decision.  The snow stopped around 7:30 Saturday evening.  The drifting started and with a cover of 18 inches on the ground there were places the snow was 25 to 30 inches high.

With all the snow, this storm was not as bad as it could have been.  The main road was clean on Sunday and of course, the drive was blocked with the push off the road snow.  This was moved out of the way and we were able to come and go if needed.  With planning and a reserve of food from the garden we did not need to get off the farm.  So  our days were spent visiting with our farm animals and keeping the home fires going.
Monday morning, I cleaned the coop ramp and opened the ramp door, one chicken came to the door and looked out, this being her first snow, I guess she thought someone had taken her run away and she would just go back into the coop until it was returned.  Each morning the ducks make their trip to the chicken run and spent the day there.  The goats are happy being in their parlor, standing on the milking stands, checking to see if their pasture is back to normal and realizing nothing is happening.

The night temperatures were below freezing so for week everything which melted during the day became ice at night time. We could see the snow cap going down so I knew the soil was absorbing the moisture.  This was going to be so good for the summer having this extra moisture in the land.  There are places with run off which each morning was ice puddles.  The temperature started to return to normal on Friday.  I opened the coop to see the girls come and stand on the run look about and return to the coop.  One week and none of the hens have been outside.  The goats were coming out for a bit as a couple of them decided this was the time for them to come into season.  They did find they liked staying in their protected area much better than outside on the snow cap.

Sunday came and the temperature went into the 50's everything is melting and there is land, leaves, grass and lots of mud.  The chickens, well, 4 of them are outside.  By Monday all the chickens were outside and with their working on the snow in the run, it began to disappear.  On Monday, our temperature was in the high 60's, almost a day for summer wear once again.  Monday evening the run was looking good and with over night temperature in the high 40's the melt continued, all night, with us awaking to little to no snow.

The baby chicks had no idea what was going on outside, they just put all of their energy into growing and that they did.  They now have tiny wing feathers. Their combs and tail feathers are showing. They were moved into a larger brooder with plenty of room for a few weeks.  They are eating oatmeal, egg and plenty of chick starter.  They were the bright spot for us during the snow as they were always ready to show how active they could be.

This is always a learning experience and, of course, I record it here in the blog so we can look back next year to see what we need to do when winter weather is coming.  We must always have a good stock of feed for everyone, as there is nothing for anyone to eat outside the barn and coops.  Oh, and by the way, the farmer loaded up Reggie to come over and visit with my ladies, in fact, he came over twice last week.  Maybe, just maybe, there will be an almost white baby goat who may be named Flake.   Many Thanks to our farmer friend who just keeps things so interesting on Triple Creek Farm.