Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Quick Thaw

It got up to 51 degrees today!  Bye bye snow, hello lots of mud.  All morning long I could hear sheets of ice sliding off the steep pitch of my metal roof.  It sounds like a car crash every time, but you get used to it after a while. 

It was really nice to see the sunshine come out.  After nearly a month of snow on the ground for the month of December, my cooped up chickens were finally able to get outside and play.

We took a nice stroll around the yard in our rain boots, soaking up some sunshine and checking things out.

Ava scattering scratch for the girls.
The Pied Piper of Chicken Town.

The best part about having no rooster is that the hens readily submit to you. 
They hit the ground with a thump, crouching as you pass by.
It's not as easy as it used to be, but Ava still loves to pick up the chickens.

With so many chickens swarming about, it's hard to step lightly!

I went down to take a look at my bees and was sad to see so many bees lying dead on the ground in front of the entrance.  There were still a few coming and going from the box.  I suspect they got too cold; some died and were tossed out by other workers.  There were a few lying dead out front last year, but not nearly so many.  The instructions that came with my IPM bottom board said to leave out the corrugated sheet year-round, even in the winter (it is primarily used to chart mite counts), but another place online I saw a beek recommend putting it in for winter to help keep things warmer.  We've had a lot of chilling winds already this winter and I think I will be putting the sheet back in afterall to prevent drafts.  I'll be very disappointed if I lose these bees now after having such a good first year.  I am still learning and up until now they've survived my mistakes.  It is supposed to be even warmer tomorrow so I think I'll open the top quickly and give them a new baggie feeder.

I checked on the salad greens I have growing under low tunnels and all is well there.  I will leave this spinach to grow for now.

The radish tops were wilted, but the round roots beneath the surface were perfectly fine.  We've had several nights in the teens, but the tunnels do a great job protecting my winter salad veggies.

We pulled a couple dozen to enjoy in salads this week.

The lettuce is looking good too.  I just bought a bag of lettuce at the store, so I'll let this go a while longer too. 

The snow was hard on my PVC hoops.  A few needed straightened back out.  I think next year I will invest in some electrical metal conduit as mentioned in my Low Tunnel post.

Our enjoyment of this rare and beautiful sunny day was cut short when Ava somehow fell into the bucket of water I had brought down for the chickens.  I was busy collecting eggs when I heard a crash, a splash and a cry.  I think she came into the chicken barn not looking where she was going and simply walked right into the 5 gallon bucket.

Soaked and not happy.

I had to say something silly to get her to look at me!

(Ok Mom, I'm cold and wet.  Stop snapping pictures and let me go inside!)

As we walked back to the house, she bemoaned, "I should have stayed inside!"  No silly, be glad you got to go outside and enjoy the sunshine while you can!

I stripped her down, wrapped her in a warm blankie and nestled her in a recliner to watch some TV while I ran back outside to take water to the chickens...again.

There was a really nice sunset this evening.  I'm so glad to see the snow come off for now.  We'll get some more soon, I'm sure.

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