Thursday, December 30, 2010

TRAPPED! With The Chickens

"I'm going out to water the chickens and close the coop for the night," said Steve, walking toward the door with a 3-liter bottle of water and a flashlight in his hands. He waved an "I Love You" at Debbie, still sitting at the table after dinner. She didn't wave back, and Steve thought, "Boy, she looks tired. I hope she goes to bed early tonight--we could both use a long sleep."

He trudged through the yard, past the barn and into the darkness. He flicked on his flashlight, and let himself through the gate into the pen around the coop. The chooks were no fools--when the sun went down, they all trooped into the coop and huddled up for warmth. He stepped into the coop and pulled the door around behind himself.

He turned on the 100W bulb they had put in to help warm the coop at night, and turned off the flashlight. December 30, and there were 4 new eggs in the corner! These girls just wouldn't quit laying! 2 dozen eggs a week, even when the temperatures had been below freezing. He picked them up and put them in a plastic bag from his pocket.

Then Steve checked on the level of feed in the hanging feeder. He had filled it the day before, so there was no worry the birds were hungry, but it paid to keep an eye on the level. A couple times, the birds ate the bin dry and he and Debbie had to scramble to come up with short-term substitutes--bird seed, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Once they popped popcorn, which the chickens seemed to really enjoy.

Finally, he picked up the water bowl and turned to the door to empty it. The door had fully closed, but there was a string leading to the latch. He would just pull it, and...

Pull it and...

Now THAT was a problem. The door wasn't opening.

Steve began to laugh. Overconfidence had bitten him right on the keister, and it was his own fault. He had just locked himself into the chicken coop.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On the Third Day of Christmas...

Hope you all are warm and well!

Here on Honeyhill Farm, the temperature is in the high 20's F, but the wind is around 30 with gusts. Our 1" of snow is DRIFTING, for heaven's sake!

We have had to resort to an old-fashioned way of watering the chickens: we carry it out twice a day. They have an annoying habit of tipping over the bowl.

We ran power from the barn to the coop via extension cords, and we have a 100W bulb we turn on at night. It's not much, but we have had fewer frozen water bowls and the chickens aren't all huddled together in the morning.

We poured several pounds of sugar into each hive on the last day we had above 40F. Sometime around the end of this week, it is supposed to be in the 40's again, and we'll have to top them off. But both hives are still alive!

Debbie received a spinning wheel for Christmas--an Ashford Traveller, second-hand but in wonderful condition, off Craigslist. Do yourself a favor and check out Craigslist.

Debbie got me an Android/Linux PDA, which has been interesting because all the documentation is in Chinese.

Today we are both a bit under the weather--fevers, aches, pains, and other unpleasant symptoms--but it seems to be a short-duration illness.

Stay warm and happy!