Posted by: morrowsl | January 12, 2020

Give It A Day, Part Two

I knew as soon as I came awake that it had snowed. The light, when there’s snow down, is so much brighter. A quick glance out the bedroom back door confirmed that it had dusted at some point. A better look out the kitchen back door gave evidence that the snow was just getting started.

The outdoor thermostat read 31 degrees.

In the event this was just a fast moving weather band, I took a picture out the front window and set about feeding cats and making coffee. I sent the photo to my sister.

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Dusting, not even visible on the grassy spots.

I am very much my daddy’s daughter. He could never resist snow. He would don his boots and jacket and get out and drive around any time it snowed. Slipping and sliding his way down the road in his truck. An hour later, he’d come back with a jug of milk as if that justified his adventure.
I didn’t bother with a jacket, hat, or boots. I slipped out the back door to have a good look at the first real snowfall I’ve witnessed in several years. My first one since moving to Remote. The sound of snow coming down is unmistakeable. It is almost as soothing for me as water lapping on the shore. Or a building thunderstorm after a hot day.

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Coming down with a purpose now.

When I finally turned to come back inside, my slippers tried to stay outside. The wet soles had frozen to the mat!

Inside, I decided to forgo coffee until I’d checked on the chickens and greenhouse. I dressed realistically this time, a thin sweatshirt over my tee shirt, sweats over my jeans, full-length socks, the cowl Jen made for me under my hoodie, the toque Mo made for her dad that is too thin for his bald head but perfect for my thick-haired one, my good outdoor boots that Sister gave me for my birthday.
I decided, last minute, to put out seeds for the wild birds too, and had to spend some time dumping the 40-pound bag into my rolling container. My strained back prevented me from just picking it up and dumping it, which probably would have ended with a floor full of seeds.

Outside again, finally, I realized that the metal seed feeders were frozen closed, so I dragged the dish from a bird bath out and filled it with sunflower seeds. The little birds were landing on the limbs closest to me in their rush to eat!

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Goldfinch snacking down on sunflower seeds.

The run of the brooder coop had drained quite a lot, but the straw was still really soggy. The feeder had gotten drenched in yesterday’s downpour, so it had to be cleaned up before I could fill it. And the waterer was, of course, frozen solid. I made a mental note, not for the first time, to invest in heated dog waterers for the chickens. Breakfast prepared, I opened the door of the coop and the Crazy Eight were totally nonplussed by the cold.
I raked straw from the lower level of the coop, opening a spot on the floor for the feeder to sit. The girls would likely spend most of the day in the lower level out of the wind. They would appreciate having their food dry as well.

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The Crazy Eight are not dismayed by snow.

Out the gate and back to the apartment to fill a pitcher with water for the big girls.
Mike had a freeze-proof spigot installed outside the big run, but the hose still freezes. So, I haul their water from the apartment kitchen. It generally takes two trips. Thankfully, the water had a thin crust of ice, so all I had to do was dump it out and refill it.

The feeder in the big run hangs under the covered roof, so it stays mostly dry. But sometimes the feed will get damp enough that it can’t be eaten and has to be dumped. Thankfully, fat chickens don’t leave much behind.
I carried the feeder down to the barn to refill.

Along with their usual food, to which I add herbs and supplements, the big chickens get daily treats. Usually, I toss out sunflower seeds for added protein and vitamin E. But, when it is cold, they also get scratch. Chicken scratch contains cracked corn, which takes a lot of energy to digest, therefore keeping the girls warm as they process it. This morning, they got a good scattering of seeds and scratch.

Finally, with all my bases covered, I went round to open the coop door, calling good morning as is my habit. I was greeted by ten chickens, clucking a chorus of “Oh Hell NO!”, at the sight of the snow-covered dirt.

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Silly chickens too scared to come out and eat.

Back to the door to fetch my hay fork. I shooed the girls back inside and commenced tossing straw out onto the snow. Of all the older birds, the Sussex are by far the biggest. It took almost no time for Bernice to realize breakfast was served. I expected the others to follow, but she ended up dining alone.
I spread a good layer of straw around the coop door, the feeder, and along the pathway to the water container. I went back to the coop to check for eggs. There were none. Which was a surprise of sorts, considering I’ve been getting a daily egg for at least a week with the occasional second egg a few times. And lately, I’ve witnessed submissive squats!

Scolding the lot of them for being silly, I left the girls to figure things out on their own and made my way up the hill to have a look around.

 

The snow had just about stopped and I had been really careful to walk in the same tracks so I would have pristine areas for photos. I have wondered, since moving to Remote, what it would look like with snow. The possibility is much greater just an hour north of the city, not only because there’s far less concrete. I was not disappointed by what I saw.

Back at the house, my coffee cup was calling. Mike would be up and aware of the big event. I wanted to send pictures to the kids, wishing Justin’s winter break had ended a week later so he could have enjoyed this snowfall. Hopefully, it will not be so long until the next one.

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The little birds wasted no time finding the suet and seeds.


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