Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Well, Well, Well

Things are not so good here this morning. 

We were at minus 5 degrees this morning when I got up.... we are at 2 above now. 

Yesterday never went above ten degrees. 

My well is frozen. 

Troy next door reminded me that Keith had always kept a 
light burning in the well house during the winter, and I had 
totally forgotten that.  So, yesterday, I tried to lift the 
hatch... it's frozen down.  I ran to Orschelns and bought a 
light and fixture, in case the old one is not in there, and this afternoon, 
I am going to call a friend for help to see if we can get the hatch off and the 
light hung. 

We are headed for the upper 20's today, the thirties and forties tomorrow, 
and the fifties on Friday!! 

I am praying for a thaw of the well, please join me.  :-) 

For the time being, Troy and Kathy are graciously letting me get buckets at 
their outdoor faucet, thank you!!

If it doesn't thaw, I'll be calling in the big guns. 

These guys have not been outside since Saturday, and they are going stir crazy. 
Even with the door to the feed room open, they are under each other's feet. 
I am giving them extra treats to keep them busy. 

IF we get to fifteen or above (my rule is usually 20) they are going out 
this afternoon. 

As you see, something or two somethings are sleeping in the straw of the closet of the old henhouse.  Now that I look at it, that almost looks like blood on the left.  
No body bits, though. 

I caught the culprit sleeping in the larger nest. 

Look who it is!  The grey and white feral cat that eats by my gate!

I found him in the nest yesterday afternoon when I went out to turn the 
overhead light out and check the water and dry feed. 

I went back in the house quietly, so I wouldn't scare him. 

And look what he did!  He actually came and ate the canned cat food I put in the bowl for him, and let me stand there and take pictures. 

You see he is in good flesh, the Caldwells across the road leave food out for him, too. 

I have not seen the grey tabby, or Harley and Spooky, for several days. 

The story of my life, for a few days, at least. 

And I am just going to be honest and tell you I am SO TIRED of wearing double everything. 

And now I have to drive to my son's to shower. 

For being 11, the cold has just awakened this girl. 

She is out on the porch right now, laying in the sun. 

Of course, she DOES like her creature comforts (and she can see the gate from there). 

By the tracks in the snow, a possum has been going in and out of the 
little red henhouse to eat.  I am still leaving some dry cat food in there. 

His/her pawprints go up the ramp and in and out. 

Cat tracks.  

Too cold for the raccoons, but that will change tonight. 

I caught a junco flying out this hole in the window of the old henhouse the day before yesterday.  I guess I'm glad I did not put plastic over it. 

You can see how deep the seed is under the bird feeding station. 
I am doing things differently next year. 

I'm embarassed to say how much I have been feeding.  To be fair, 
a lot falls off the feeding platform. 

There is a better look.  No one has found that new feeder yet!

Woodpeckers are going at the two cage suet feeders on top. 

However.... with the current well situation, I am able only to fill the heated water 
on the deck, and frankly, it needs to be emptied and cleaned.  Right now, it is the only place 
for the birds to get a drink.  

I am going to change the way I feed next year, and not feed on the deck at all. 

I will keep the heated water on the deck, though, because I love the birds. 

(I love how bluebirds drink so many at a time). 

I'm going to talk to a nephew who is an electrician and see if there is a 
way to safely run one of these to the bird area, and keep it filled so I don't have to go 
in and out constantly. 

Lest you think Lilly is the only one cavorting in the snow... Jester has been in and out, too. 

I am always with him, because of this. 

A tiny bit closer.  I don't take the big cameras out in the cold much. 

This hawk was sitting at my feeder last week, and I can't find the pictures, I 
may have inadvertantly erased them. 

Gratuitous cuteness for the end of the post. 

These are INDOOR kitties, by the way. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Snow Day

We have had another snow day. 

I hate to even mention it, because the northeast and Canada are socked under again. 
My heart goes out to them. 

I don't know how they cope, I really don't. 

My little snow Boston Terrier was eager to run down in the pasture. 

So was his sister. 

I suspect some coyotes have been hanging out in the woods at the bottom 
of the pasture... the morel woods!

We did not get a LOT of snow, but we are to get more tonight. 
I swept all the feeding areas so the birds could get the seed. 

I spread the seed out so the little birds can get some. 

The starlings empty the water fortexes frequently, so I have gone out 5 times already today to 
fill them.  I just did fifteen minutes ago. 
Remember, there is also a heated water receptacle on the deck. 

On Friday, I bought more seed.  I put a bin right by 
the deck (where I used to keep it) and filled it with seed. 
It's half-gone now.  I'll have to buy more in a few days. 
YES, it's wastage, a lot of it, but a lot of it is eaten.  I am thinking 
about some ways to feed next year that don't involve so much 
waste, however.... I want everyone to have a chance. 

I keep some critter mix and some shelled peanuts in the smaller 
aluminum can.  All that gardening stuff will get moved in the spring. 

This is ice from a frozen water fortex thawing in the sink. 
I try to go out last thing and spill out whatever is left... 
I do have some extra fortexes just in case.  This one was very 
thick, the fortex had been full.  It took all day to melt. 

As you see, I stocked up on Purina Cat Chow, too, just in 
case.  The starlings and wild cats appreciate it. 

Everyone has been locked in all day today, so they are 
all huffy again.  
Hens do not like snow, and there was no way they would have come out in it, even though it has been close to 19 for the last hour.  It is the last decent temp, we are to hit bottom, and actually go below 
zero for several nights.  Ugh.  However, I am going very slowly and steadily, I just don't hurry.  So far, so good. 

Some are smart and stay up by the warm ceiling. 

I end with cuteness overload, what did I do for fun before I had these two? 

Stay warm out there, friends. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Back to the Polar Vortex

Two weeks ago, we had about ten days of bitter weather.  In fact, after 
December 22nd, we did not see the thermometer get above freezing until Tuesday 
of this week. 
We had almost-balmy temps in the 40s and 50's, it was 57 this time 
yesterday afternoon (3:30 PM).  It is 17 today, has sleeted for several 
hours, has snowed, and the wind is blowing HARD.  Harummmphhh. 

Me no like. 

Jester no like.  He did not even want to get up. 

Tuesday, I stocked up on bird seed.  This gives me a good 
feeling to know that I have plenty on hand. 

You know... because I am feeding the southern half of Leavenworth County. 

Current status. 
The sleet covered everything on the ground this morning, and froze it solid.  
I spread seed several times a day, and yes, I am going to have to run to the feed store again, 
either tomorrow or Saturday.  This feed is expensive, too.  I could change the way 
I feed... feed only in hanging feeders.  The starlings would hang on them and spill them, 
and that would take care of the ground feeders, but you know what?  I actually don't mind watching the starlings.  

Two little observers like to sit in the doorway and watch the birds. 

Lilly sat out there surveying her domain (i.e., looking for squirrels) 
yesterday afternoon, and you can just barely see that the little birds were still 
on the ground eating.  Yes, there IS a lot of wastage, in fact, my plan these 
last three days was to rake up seed under the feeder... however... that never 
happened.  Now it is frozen.  I believe over the next week the 
starlings will swoop in to clean it up pretty well. 

Those steps are covered with ice today.  Gosh, I wish I 
had thought to have the contractor put a handrail on either side 
last summer!

Those are the steps, on the treacherous icy deck. 

Some seed falls below the deck, of course,  and 
the little birds are flying in and out of there, too. 

Those are mealworms on the fortex that is turned upside down, 
because bluebirds are stopping to drink regularly. 
I also saw a forlorn robin there about 2 PM, it looked so sad 
and was so thirsty. 

The satellite dish on the right obscures the green finch feeder, but it is 
very busy now with goldfinches, and the other little 
birds clean up the thistle and sunflower hearts that are spilled from it.   
There is critter mix out there too, and a bowl for cat food which I am 
not filling until dark now, or every starling in the midwest would be eating here. 

Those goldfinches. 

You must look very closely at this picture.  There is Harlequin, 
whom I have not seen in three weeks inside the henhouse. 

This morning I went in there with some dry cat food and some 
water.... and heard a noise.  I looked up in the rafters, and there was 
a cat watching me.  In fact, that could actually be Spooky, though 
I did see Harley.  He/She watched me and I went back in the house 
and opened two cans of cat food and took them right back out, 
so they would have a good breakfast on this cold day.  I'll take a 
can out tonight, just in case, when I go to turn the light out. 

My impatient girls (and boy) this morning.  They are captives for the next 
few days, I'm afraid.  I have oatmeal with raisins cooling for them right now, 
and will take them fresh water and a treat here shortly, and turn their 
overhead light out.  I got three whole eggs... and broke one. 

At least they weren't frozen.  

I hope they can resign themselves to being in for another bitter day. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Welcome to 2018

I just want to say, to start off with, that I am so glad I am around to learn new things. 

I wondered why I have not seen any raccoons and few possums on my 
game cams the last two weeks... and thought to myself 
that they may hibernate, and I had never noticed it before.  

Well, guess what, I thought to ask Friend Jill, who is a vet 
tech and a naturalist, herself.... and she told me that they 
do go into a sort of hibernation in the extreme cold, 
denning with other raccoons, and maintaining just enough 
body function to keep on living.  Since we are in this bitter cold 
spell along with seemingly the REST of the nation... no wonder. 

I did some reading about it, and it is fascinating.  This alone (along 
with all the other nature-watching I am doing) has made it worth moving
back to Calamity Acres. 

However, there have been some visitations to the deck, and two 
have made me happy. 

Whoops!  That's not a raccoon!

That's Jester yesterday morning, pausing on the deck for a 

This made me happy.... darn the long extension that 
I cannot get to lay down, it powers the bird water basin on the deck...but 
that shadowy cat behind it is the grey tabby feral that I have not 
seen in months.  My neighbors at the bottom of the pasture feed ferals, 
and also, my neighbors across the road.  I am glad to know he is still alive. 

There is Spooky, he has grown into a beautiful cat... remember, the 
Feral Four were already vetted and neutered when I got them. 

You will have to double-click and enlargen the picture to see this one. 
That's Harlequin, who has been missing from the henhouse for the past week. 
See the white under the neck?  I saw her the night before on the cam, 
very fleetingly. 

At least I know she is alive in this bitter cold.  I have straw 
in all the outbuildings.... hopefully she has bedded down somewhere. 

Ferdinand and his ladies like the heated dog bowl on the deck, too. 

We have all been doing a lot of this. 

Yesterday, I saw this at the foot of the pasture as I was getting ready to 
leave to get some milk. 

Here is a closer-up picture, taken with my long lens.  
I suspect the larger of the two is the female, on the right. 

They look like red-shouldered hawks, from a distance. 

So far, they have left the hens alone. 

The beautiful Wolf Moon... and I need to 
seriously start using my cameras again and LEARNING about them. 

Here is something I never thought I would see again.  Lilly Ann, 
just now laying on the big bed, I did not think she could still get up 
there, so I know she is feeling good today!  She can watch out the windows towards the gate, and see who is going up and down the road.  It made my heart happy for her. 

Stay warm, everyone, we still have a few more days of coping with this