Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Out of the Polar Vortex

and into the soup. 

Since New Year's Day, we've had some fun here. 

My brother Pete went into the hospital. 
My brother Mike went into the hospital. 
Both very sick, different hospitals. 

I have been sitting with Pete, as Mike has a huge and loving support system. 

Praying, hard. 

My camera broke. 

The polar vortex descended upon us. 


I am behind on reading all of your blogs, and posting.  

I am home today, as Pete is being transferred to a rehab facility, 
and I want to get a flu shot before I go to Mike's bedside in the large 
facility where he is being treated. 

I have a small little new Canon that fits in my pocket nicely, 
and works with the Canon program already installed, so without further ado, let's get caught up. 

Keith got me some ski gloves from the North Face at Cabelas... and along with 
hot hands inserts, they are really helping.  My problem is that the diabetic fingertips are still 
getting frozen, so I go out, do some of the chores, come back in, warm up, then go out and do the next set. 
I have been carrying warm water from the house for most of the week. 

Today, I carried only one bucket, to the goats.  Everyone else got pump water. 

Abby went through her dental in good stead, and has even lost a little weight. 
She is only going out for short periods, it's hard for her to walk on the crusted snow. 
The Protector of Us All is staying out a little longer, but on the three coldest days, even SHE did not want to be out there. 

These guys developed heavy winter coats, and they are doing fine in their little barn at night. 
We did turn the light back on, running a line from the porch over to their 
heat lamp.  Just the chick lamp is keeping it warm enough that they are comfortable, though the one blowing night... whew... blew the snow in on them.  Ugh. 

There are two lamps now in the old henhouse....

One on the "coop" side and one on the "feed room" side for Butch and Buffy... because look what we did on Sunday afternoon: 

Total. Chaos. 
We actually caught them very quickly, and that frozen water you see was 
after it sat all night long in there.  I had just walked in.  
These guys see me every day, off and on, ALL YEAR LONG. 
They act like lunatics... falling over each other to get away from me. 

I broke their water fortex out and put fresh water in there and they cleaned themselves up. 
They were in for 3 days, but are back out now. 
The place is a mess, but I am letting go of it. 

You can only do so much, and everyone is safe and dry. 
The ducks are much happier outside, and I have fixed up a nifty place 
for them, I'll take a picture today. 

Buffy the Polish hen can be found in her little nest box daily now.  I think the light of the warmer 
is beaming down on her.  She has a nice little bed.  And guess what?  She has given us 
two beautiful white eggs in the last five days, after at least six months of no eggs. 
She is almost five years old! 

Over in the henspa, the somewhat tattered-looking Ferdinand is riding high. 
He has minimal damage to his comb, but two of the small roosters are showing a lot of damage right now, from the cold.  
I got about half the eggs I would normally get from this coop this week, and I kept them in today again. 
I did let them out yesterday, when it got up to thirty. 
Normally, I would let them out as low as 10 degrees, but it has been too cold for too long, and I believe their systems are depressed because of it. 

They do NOT like being in all the time. 

I like them alive. 

My neighbor down the road at the goat dairy posted that she had 
found 9 of her 11 beautiful guineas frozen to death.  I don't want that to happen here. 

Look closely, because this will encourage all of you.... there are buds on the trees! 
I was so thankful, because it makes me realize that spring will be here, at some point. 

I still have not ordered a seed for the garden... I am taking it slowly this year, especially 
after all this sickness. 

On Friday afternoon, before going back to the hospital, I saw something phenomenal. 
You have heard me diss the starling hordes many times... I know they have to eat, but they eat EVERYTHING.  If the popholes are open, they go into the henhouses and poop all over... it's disgusting. 
But Friday, trekking back to the goat yard, I became aware of hundreds of starlings flying 
silently over my head.  
Not hundreds. 
Thousands upon thousands. 

Double click on this to biggify it.  

This went on for five minutes, and they were going from the southwest to the northeast, before the storm descended on us. 

After a two minute delay, yet another flight began, and thousands more went overhead. 
It was unbelieveable. 

I kept hearing the line from The Fellowship of the Ring... "Crebain from Dunland" in my head, over and over.... because they were so  silent. 
I took a short video, I hope it will upload. 

I'm going to try to get around to everyone's blogs today and tonight, and will start posting again.  

Everyone, stay safe and warm on your cold farms, or in your own neighborhoods.  Look out for your friends and neighbors, too, especially the elderly ones. 

PS.  I tried to upload the video twice... recently, I was able to upload some... but this one is just not going, sorry. 


  1. Sorry to hear your brothers are sick. When it rains it pours.

    I was out on Mon. and Tues. due to a dental procedure.

    Was worried when I didn't see any posts from you.

    Take care and stay warm,

  2. I think almost everyone I read has been affected by the polar included! Ugh! I'm right there with you...wishing for spring. (but not ready for the work that it brings with it!) You're long as everyone is safe and warm, the clean up can wait for another day. You should see my chicken pen...or maybe not. :) I hope your brothers both recover well.

  3. I am glad everyone has came through this fine at your farm, others have not been so lucky. I cannot believe there are buds out on your trees already.
    stay warm, and safe, watch out for your hands.
    Stella Rose

  4. Be very careful with lights and lamps around goats. An area barn burned down last night killing eight goats. The officals are blaming a heat lamp. Were I a gambling man, I'd wager that one or more of the goats either tried to eat the wire or climb to the lamp.

  5. Mary Ann,

    I'm so sorry to hear both of your brothers are in the hospital. I'm praying for you, Pete and Mike. My heart goes out to you and yours for a speedy recovery.

    Have you considered using the pads hunters use that heat up for boots and gloves? This may help keep your fingers warm.

  6. You have eggs? You have eggs! A small blessing amidst all the trouble. Perhaps my girls would give me a few eggs if I heated them. I keep reminding them that lots of chickens have a lot colder than them. They are not impressed ;)

  7. Sorry to hear both your brothers are hospital bound...not good but do hope they get better soon! As for the keep getting eggs year round they need to have a room with the temp about 70* some girls like it a bit cooler and others a little warmer. I always had my heat light in the middle of my brood boxes about a foot away and about 2 foot above it. so the girls who wanted it cooler could hit the outside boxes and the girls who liked the warmer ones hit the middle boxes...had eggs year round this way plus in the summer time I changed the light to a regular light.....And another issue I had was too many roosters.....I had 1 guy for 10-15 seemed to me that they fought to much and forgot about the girls a lot which meant less eggs and unhappy hens.
    Not trying to tell anybody how to raise their chickies just telling ya what worked for me....And I have lived and had chickens in Missouri and Montana. Have a great evening...nice catching up with ya!

  8. You do what you need to & don't worry about us. Sorry to hear about your brothers, hoping they recover. All the mess can wait as long as the animals are dry, watered & fed. You are awesome!

  9. The starlings in the sky are just beautiful! A few weeks ago we had hundreds of crows flying over head.
    Oh soo thankful all your animals are safe. It breaks our heart to hear of those who did not.
    What a big job you have caring for all your animals and concern for your brothers too.. I know its a frightening time for you.
    Its very sad they are both in the hospital.
    Please try to take care of yourself too... so many need you.

  10. Good to see you posting again. I was starting to worry.

    Looks and sounds like you have been a busy girl.

    Hope everyone is feeling better soon.

    M :)

  11. I'm glad you made all made it through this awful weather. I sure hope your brothers both do well and are OK, you as well.

  12. I was starting to worry also! I thought it had to be bad for you to be away for so long and I was hoping your were doing OK with all this cold weather. I can't believe your neighbor lost almost all her guineas. Would they not go inside?

    Best wishes and hopes for your brothers' speedy recovery!

  13. I had wondered what happened to you. Will be keeping your brothers in my prayers for speedy recoveries. Good to see everyone on the farm is doing well. The picture of the goats with there warm coats is delightful. I'm sure they are keeping warm. We are all thankful it is some warmer. Take good care there doing all those daily chores. I had my flu shot early this fall and am thankful as it has hit here in Ohio. My daughter had it bad and she refuses to get the flu shot. I'm hoping she will next year. For that matter it really isn't too late to get one now. They say February is going to be the bad month for flu. Glad you are getting yours.

  14. Awww, your goats are so cute in their winter coats!

  15. Oh gosh Mary Ann, hoping things ease up for you and your family soon, you deserve a break. Stay safe and a speedy recovery for your brothers.

  16. Our thoughts are with you as you battle the 'polar vortex'- it sounds like something out of a star trek episode.The news bulletins in Australia are playing info about it alot - the weather in the world really has gone haywire.
    Stay warm .xx

  17. Hard work hauling all that water. I'm hoping you get a break in weather. We are supposed to this weekend, we'll see. I'm so sorry about your brothers and I'm praying hard for good news. A lot of running around on your part though. Sending hugs.


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