Brrr! 14 degrees of hand-numbing ear freezing cold out there this morning! Yesterday's sunny skies have disappeared behind a slate gray cloudy mass that reminded us that winter still has a grip. But wait! There are signs that winter's hold is almost over!
This morning's cacophony of sound at the wild bird feeders gave evidence that we are almost to the end... a red-winged blackbird sat in lone splendor as I approached to fill the feeders, lording it over the flat feeder and choosing his bit carefully. He flew off as I approached, but he is a Portent of Spring! And a welcome one!
The trees have begun to swell... it started several weeks ago, but the buds continue, and now they are very evident when you look up into the tree branches. If we can just hold on for a few more weeks, the days that have been tantalizing us... 50's, 60's.... will come in quicker succession. But for now, we are locked in the freezer again, for at least five days.
Our mare is down as I write this. We have had so many opinions given us that we are going with the flow now. She spends more than half her time off her feet, and we are worried now about skin sores, since she has a particularly heavy coat due to her endocrine imbalance. She is stilling getting her daily medication, and is still eating and drinking and pooping, so we are not unduly concerned. It seems our biggest gander, Timmy, has adopted her companion Beau, so we are no longer afraid that he may not have a buddy in the future. Timmy can't fit through the fencing with his friends Sammy, Mattie, Mary and Maggie, so stands sentinal alone outside the horsepen. Now he follows Beau around when he is loose, and the two boys stand together, goose and pony, laxing away.
After church I checked on the henhouse, and found all the chickens but one inside, eating, drinking and sleeping. Most of the Little Bunch was up in the rafters, trying to stay warm, and the bigger chickens were on the floor. I sprinkled some sunflower seeds and scratch down to keep them busy, and wondered where Curley, the frizzle Cochin rooster was. I found him in the horse barn, huddled in the straw, the only bird besides ducks and geese brave enough to go out in the cold this morning.
The wild birds drink from the heated horse trough, so we try to keep it full in this weather. I see them now, by the score, coming down to drink the warm water. I know it needs a bucket, so will go out there soon to fill it to the brim again, so they can reach it. This is the time the wildings need the most feed, all their natural food is gone and they are waiting for spring as eagerly as we.