Friday, January 31, 2014

And... Winter is BAAAACCCCKKKK

Well, somehow, despite the 40 degree days, winter has come back to us. 
We are facing a week of temps at night below zero... and I am going to make the ducks as comfortable as I can outside. 

They have a duck house... they have a fort under the little henhouse... a tarped pen, and a deep bed of straw and hay.  They are clearly miserable inside. 


We laid in 8 bags of feed yesterday, preparing for a week when I know the starlings are going to try to 
eat us out of house and home! 

I'll be hauling a lot of water, too, methinks. 

The henspa chickens came over to see what I was doing. 


I drove over to the henspa to unload there... and Ferdy the big rooster came in to 
see what I was up to.  He went back in the corner to investigate... he has never done this before! 
One of the hens has been coming across the top, where there is an opening in the wire... and laying there, off and on. 


He looked pretty embarassed when he came out! 


He posed very professionally for me at the top of the stairs when he went out. 

You see I drove the bags over to henspa with the car... and then schlepped them up the stairs in 
buckets.  I have to admit I was pretty worn out when finished. 


The Farm Asistant was snitching some of the chicken's treats... but I caught her. 


I put the water in the fortex on the deck this morning, and within maybe five minutes, it was down and inch and a half! 

Then, this afternoon, I had to go to the doctor... and when I got home, there was only slush in the bottom. 
That's how thirsty all the birds were on this cold day. 

And speaking of the birds....





Fill 'er up!





Stay warm and be careful out there, everyone!  

You can see we have a wintery mix today, and expect much more tomorrow. 





Thursday, January 30, 2014

Photo Heavy Post


Yesterday, it was beautiful and sunny.  It was cold, but beautiful.  We did eventually get up to forty, with wind that is blowing in a storm. 

I let the goats into the yard for the first time in weeks... they get into so much... and they were glorying in it. 



Big Mama Delilah was there, don't worry.  She cracks me up when she guards the door. 

She had already gotten into a box of bread sitting in the chair waiting to give the birds. 


Grateful for their romaine lettuce, believe me.  It disappeared in seconds.  Donald was quacking softly as he watched the girls.  Drakes do not have a loud quack. 


I keep a bucket on the kitchen counter, and put leftovers into it for the two flocks. 
Yesterday, I had an egg that I had cracked when bringing it in.  
These hens went for it... gobbling up the yolk and white, and then grabbing the shell and taking off. 


Folly and Fancy, porcelain D'Uccles 



Our yard, today.  You can see the sun is gone.  We have forty degrees... but total cloud cover... and the cold is about to descend on us, bringing rain/sleet/snow over the next few days. 

The starlings are stocking up... there was another group of a hundred or so in the middle of the yard, and yet another group sucking up all the water and feed in the old henyard and henhouse. 

I am on my way to the feed store after posting this... to stock up for the next week.  We won't have a drop into the vortex again, but snow, and cold daily. 



Is this the most incredible photo or WHAT???

Friend Jill gave me permission to use it... it is a tundra swan at Wyandotte County Lake, last weekend.  MY GOSH. 


And a second, showing three swans, Canadians... and gulls.. yes, folks we have gulls in landlocked Kansas. 

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photographs, Jill! 


Let me reiterate this one more time.  Leavenworth County takes the BEST CARE of it's roads. 
We are always plowed by going-to-work-time in the morning on snow days.  Regular maintenance is done, and if I have to call for anything, they are out there same day or following day. 
Thank you, road guys!


And to close today, on a sad note.. our massive maple tree by the porch, which we believe to be 
over a hundred years old... but becoming very brittle... has begun to crack.  We have had high winds off and on the last few weeks... and this is scary.  If that side goes, it is pointing at the house and deck. 
The crack was NOT here last week. 

We are not in extreme drought... yet... but have very dry conditions, and regularly having strong winds.  I picked up lots of branches the last few days... you can see some more on the ground... and I have more to pick up today, with the gusting winds we are having. 

But... right now... I'm running to the feed store to load in feed before the bad weather has descended... and 
to stop and get some cards for some friends... and some romaine for the duckies. 

Everyone stay warm, and my friends in the south... I am so sorry you are having to cope with the terrible weather now, too. 

And especially... friends who have had to put down an old friend at their farm these last few days... my heart goes out to you.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Out of the Dungeon, and More

Well, it's a good day to be a duck.


We're up to 24 degrees Fahrenheit, and I let the ducks loose.  Yes, we're plunging overnight... but they can tough it out. 

They couldn't take another minute inside, and neither could the chickens, their roommates. 

They were happy, happy, happy to be out. 

I was carrying water again. 


Caught while looking for mice! 

And speaking of mice...


These are what mice are doing to our bathroom ceiling.  They always come in in the winter... but this is the first time we have had a ceiling infestation.  

See the hole on the far left?  I have asked Keith for four days now to keep the toilet lid closed. 
Sure enough, last night, I found a baby mouse dead on the floor next to the toilet. 

Today... I came home from the dentist... to find this: 


I made a nest of paper and put it in a box, but it is dying.  It's going out to the hens in a few minutes.  Do you see why I don't want to sit there and be rained upon? 

I have sealed all the holes with duct tape.  I was going to put paper inside each piece so the mice would not stick... but I was scared on the ladder, so just taped each hole shut.  Yes, they will chew through some. 
I used white tape so you could not notice it very much. 

I got batteries for the Wildgame cam last night, and put it on the deck today.  Cold days are good days to catch the wildings, because they come for the water. 

Oh, boy, did they... folks... spring is on it's way! 



Am I dreaming, or is this a ROBIN on January 28???


Mockingbird


Male and female bluebirds


The other sure harbinger of spring for us... Red Winged Blackbird, the first I've seen so early in the year! 

My gosh! 


One of our many, many cardinals. 


Goldfinches


Bluebirds and a Robin


A Blue Jay 

And, keeping with the blue theme: 


A Kafee Klatsch of Bluebirds around the water cooler! 

The secret... warm water, and keeping it full! 

What wonderful creatures we get to see out here! 

Hope you enjoyed the pictures! 


Monday, January 27, 2014

BRRRRRRRRR!!!!!


Here comes Polar Vortex II yesterday afternoon... it went from 53 to 23 in about 30 minutes. 
This actual cloud formation was in a "v"... but my phone would not show the whole thing. 
Keith had the camera with him, visiting little Brynn. 


Our little redhead has had an ear infection. 


Here are the ducks this morning, cowering in the corner of the big henhouse. 
They hate being in.  
I hated catching them in the strong winds and cold last night. 
Miserable. 
I was not liking ducks at that point. 
They are in until Wednesday morning. 


 Traumatized chickens in the other corner. 

The rest were on top of the closet... not coming down on the floor with those ducks, NO WAY. 

One of these electric lines is going to a warming light on this side... and the other, to the light on the other side.  Jury-rigged, as usual, from the only working outlet.


The henspa flock was busy yesterday afternoon in the yard... happy to be outside.
No one came out today. 


This last picture shows you the usual position of the chickens I showed you sunning themselves in the henspa yard in yesterday's post... you see them as they regularly are... sunning under the warming lamp! 

  We are behind on precipitation here... not dangerously so yet... but behind. 
But I also have to admit I am so glad we are not struggling with the epic snows so many of you have had.  Our temps are going to upper thirties for highs this week... and we do have 51 more days of winter! 

Stay Warm!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hold On To Those Fifties!

Gosh, it's 54 degrees out right now!  Sunny... but the wind is picking up. 

The wind is bringing with it Polar Vortex Two. 


Abby has been inside with me cleaning the house and doing dishes... and chewing on a bone. 
She rarely gets to do this, as Lilly would kill her for the bone, and I am not exaggerating. 
We never have let bones down on the floor here, and rarely, rarely outside.  Lilly means to be the boss. 
It's not worth it to me to have to worry... and she is defensive of her bones outside, too, so I am always careful.  But this was a treat for Abs, who thoroughly enjoyed the chew.  The bone is put up now, again, for safety. 


I went out to the henspa when I got home from the hospital visiting my brother Mike this morning, and no one was home, except the three rafter-dwellers. 

No one! 

I went outside to find the hens-who-never-leave-the-henhouse... those at the top of the picture, and the little white on the side... all outside, enjoying the sun and fresh air.  
 I couldn't believe it! 


One of the two little Mille Fleur roosters was "protecting" them, and I was glad to see it.  As you see, the big white hen is laying down, as usual.  I'm going to take a really good look at her today.. she CAN walk... she just doesn't.  
I gave them all some bread that I was given at the food pantry yesterday, so everyone was happy. 


Ferdie and some of the big hens were hanging around, too... in hopes of getting more bread. 

I'm about to go out and let the flock loose in the yard... but Lilly must come in first.  
It's funny, because after 8 years, I can have her in the pasture with the ducks and chickens there loose... and I don't worry about her.  The yard is "hers" though, and I have to keep her in while the flock is out.  

I hope everyone is either enjoying the respite between layers of cold... or surviving the cold that has not gone away. 

53 days until spring! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Catching Up on Saturday Night

I never got a chance to post yesterday, I was so busy during the day with Paiton, 
youngest granddaughter on my side. 


You might say Paiton came loaded for bear. 

She brought many of her stuffies... as witnessed by this pileup on the couch. 
She came with one sack, but I'm an enabler, and she needed two to take the all home. 


She helped keep an eye on the wild bird feeding station... and she helped me spot the male cardinals.  At one point, there were six out there!  Can you spot the cardinal peeking at us in this picture? 


I present to you one of the hazards of dealing with frozen fortexes.  I lost my grip on the duck bowl and slammed it down my leg.  It hurts. 


At midday, we knocked off our work and went to a movie.  We saw "The Nut Job".  Grandma cried. 
Seriously. 
Take your kids/grandkids to see it. 


When we got home, we went out to get the eggs from the henspa.  This is as far as Paiton goes. 
Dogs, she loves.  Chickens... not so much. 


Nothing would constrain her to come in and help me look for eggs. 
However, she DID have a crowing contest with one of the roosters who called back to her. 


Not to be left out, I had a new sweatshirt for brother Jaxton when they came to pick Paitie up. 
However.. I miscalculated... a little.  It told him to let big brother Jacob wear it for a while!


For the last several days, I have been cutting up a head of romaine lettuce and giving it to the ducks.  I can't even tell you how eagerly they tear into it! 
Donald stands back and lets the girls have at it as soon as I drop it. 

We are going to catch them tomorrow afternoon as we did two weeks ago, and put them in for two days. 
They won't be happy, but they'll live as our temperatures drop below zero again for two days. 

The white things that you see speckling the ground and ramp behind them are starling droppings.  I have to go out and put food out for the ducks several times a day, because the starlings flock down and eat and drink everything. 


Last night's sunset was gorgeous! 

video

If you have a minute, watch this whole little video in it's entirety... and there's a surprise at the end!