We are already a month into a new year, and it does not seem
I have been doing a lot of this, this month!
(Pulling hay from the garage storage building to the
little hay barn by the sheep pen).
I have to tell you, honestly... it has been beating me up.
I tried using the tractor one day... HUGE mistake.
I managed to get it stuck four times, and get it UNSTUCK four times,
but....there the wagon sits until the ground is dry. I can carry a full bale
in this wagon, and it takes me two trips to do a full bale in the fat-wheeled cart.
Right now, I have two bales left in the little hay barn, so I must move some this week.
Unfortunately, we have had enough melting that the yard is slush and hummocks.
We have had snow several times. It IS beautiful, but it also is
wearing me out. I have to walk very slowly with heavy boots on,
and watch every step. I don't intend to end up like last year with a
torn Achilles tendon, or worse. So far, so good.
It's fun to see what has been going back and forth across the yard in the snow.
This is actually what I am most afraid of... ice.
My little friends are still visiting the porch nightly,
more possums than raccoons, actually.
I love watching them.
The "new" stray kitty is often on the porch eating, too,
and my neighbor is also seeing him/her. They are
wondering if it is sleeping in their barn.
My beautiful feral, Rusty, is the new logo picture here.
He will let me get within three feet of him before he trots away. I think, if the tracks in
the snow are right, that he is sleeping in my shop/barn.
He has food in a bowl by the hen spa, food on the porch,
and food in the pasture feeder, where I often see him.
Oddly enough, he does not like wet cat food much.
There he is WAYYYY down in the bottom of the pasture last week,
I recently had two red hens in here, treating them for vent gleet.
Vent gleet can be caused by wet feed, and I do regularly keep
a feeder outside for the hens (It is in right now). The first
healed up fine, (I hope) and she is back out with the flock. I brought this
one in on Thursday night, and Saturday, I brought her out of the cage to the
kitchen to clean her up a little more. I felt what I thought was a shiver,
but now think it was her heart racing... when I began cutting feathers,
I realized she was not standing... she had died in my arm.
See how her wings are drooping? Despite the fact that she ate and
drank that morning, I believe she was very weak. I put her in the
pasture for the wildings... and as of right now, Monday morning, she is
still laying there.
The flock I have now is four to six years old... there are a few birds I bought over two years ago
that were already two, and there are birds that were at the Ag Hall four years ago now.
Chickens are masters at hiding their illnesses, because they are prey and must do so in the wild.
I have decided that there will be no more birds in my house... it was a mess.... and
really, I believe they do better where they can hear their flock. I have a brooder pen in the
hen spa I can use as a nursing cage if it becomes necessary again.
I checked the first hen, she was hiding under the nest box last night but her eye was bright, and she
went out with her sisters this morning.
When we warm up a little, I'll clean that hen house out again, it was cleaned in November. I prefer to do it only twice a year because I deep bed, but I will clean it again just in case.
I have started getting four to six eggs a day again from the old hens,
and nothing from the six younger in the old hen house.
I've seen lots of geese moving lately, but no snow geese this year. Yet.
I love feeding the critters and watching them.
I let the chickens out yesterday after three days inside because
of snow and cold.... they were SO GLAD, and all I saw was
fluffy butts in the air as they pecked happily along the fenceline.
The little birds have been happy, too, with a return to some sunlight.
I sure love watching them!
These guys have had a good winter, so far.
As have these two, Fritzi and Jester. It will be good to come out of hibernation