Saturday, February 27, 2021

Weather Apocolypse

Like you all have not been through it, too... right? 

I realized this morning I have not posted for three weeks.  Friends, I was too pooped. 

Even on the worst days, I went out three or four times a day to clear the ONE unheated water bowl 

and re-fill it. 

So grateful for my many masks, they kept my face warm. 
BUT... I wore two layers of clothing, socks and gloves for the duration. 
I actually also wore a second hate over this lovely ensemble. 

On February 10, I ordered propane over the ARU at Ferrelgas... the very first time I 
could not speak to a live person.  We were just going into the deep freeze, and I was at 25%. That afternoon, I called the CSR line, and got connected to a lady in North Carolina.  I told her we were descending into the deep freeze, and asked if there was an emergency line I could call if it looked like I was going to run out of gas. (she said no)

Let me stop right here and say that I never, ever waited more than three days for a gas fill. 
I watch my tank like a hawk. 

She told me I was scheduled for the 19th.  (I ordered Wednesday, the 10th).  
On the 19th, I must have looked out the window fifteen times to my gate, which was wide 
open.  Chat online was disabled... no emails were being answered, and I had left two messages on 
the phone which were unanswered. 

I checked on a local page on Saturday and asked if anyone had seen the truck out delivering. 
I was told by one man I "Should have planned for living in the country". 

As you can see from the picture, it snowed three or four times, but we never got a huge load, it was just bone-chilling cold. 

On Sunday afternoon, I got a call from North Carolina that my gas would come on Monday, the 22nd. 

Thank God, that's all I can say.  I had gone to Menards and bought two 
electric heaters, and then used one in the kitchen to take the load off the furnace. 
I closed the doors to all the bedrooms and with the electric heater, it stayed cozy. 

I was staring running out in the face though, and did not want to pay to have to re-run the lines. 
I learned from this... I will have to call at 40% in the future... and, friends, that man, 
Rick Trieb, delivered every single day, and he is the only driver in my area now.  I do not know how he did it!

That, believe it or not, is a heated water bowl that is frozen to the ground. 

I had to sweep the dirty water out of it for a week... I could not prise it up. 
The starlings could actually drain this deep bowl in thirty minutes. 

The chickens were in for two full weeks, they hated me. 

I had three other heated basins or bowls that I had to fill multiple times a day. 

There was no chicken at the commissary on Thursday... the signs say that inclement weather is the reason. 

My poor old Ferdie suffered much damage to comb and wattles. 
I believe his comb points will fall off. 

This guy is on a diet.  Jester got treats right along with the little girls, every time they took a pill, they all got a treat.  He is woefully overweight. 

He and I are walking at a local park every day now, I drop what I am doing in the afternoon and off we go. 

He needs to get twenty pounds off... but I would be overjoyed with ten. 

There is an aging opossum living in the sheep barn right now. 

Possums only live about three years, and I suspect this one is close to its' end. 
However, I find him curled up in the hay in late afternoon, and out of the camera view 
to the left there is a bowl I keep cat food in.  I have noticed it has gone to the garden though, 
every night, to eat birdseed.  

There it is on deck with a smaller one. 

The yellow tabby has disappeared.  I have not seen it in five days now, not on 
camera, not in the pasture. 
I have heard coyotes DURING THE DAY three times in the last week, 
this is breeding season. 

I have not seen Gray Kitty, either.  

Four Long Days. 

I did not see Rusty for three, but he is here and safe.  I have fed him several  times with his 
wet cat food in the last two days. 

I have noticed that NO cat is eating on the deck right now,
and am thinking of pulling the cat food in at night because I am 
overrun with 

I swear that some are as big as Jester!

These are my two youngest grands, Jax and Paiton. 

I have to say something here.  They have not been in real 
school for over a year right now, and I feel badly for them. 
Right now, they go to school four mornings a week, 
for 3 hours.  Then they go home, and a second shift goes in. 
In the meantime, they get off the bus, go in the house, and 
log on and go to school online for three more hours. 

On Friday morning, here, they log on for one hour only, for a social studies 
type course. 

They are missing their friends (the rooms are very sparsely populated to be safe) and 
they are not thriving as they did before. 

I believe they will be back to school full time in the fall.
I believe it will be safe then. 

We will have the virus here, but more and more are being vaccinated, 
and numbers are falling. 

I am going to be vaccinated as soon as I can be, Leavenworth County 
has not gotten large amounts of the vaccine yet. 
I am signed up. 

Many of my friends are vaccinated already. 

If we can just hold on a little longer.... 

I only lost two chickens to the bitter cold, and one that I thought surely WOULD die, 
has not. (these two are alive and well) 

This old red hen is sleeping in the closet of the old hen house now, instead of roosting, and I honestly believed I would go in and find her dead.  I still have the warming light on in there for support....
I have turned off the other two hen houses. 

So far, though, she is holding on!

I also have been getting six to ten eggs a day from the old girls....
until yesterday when I did not get ANY! 

I do have an old black hen on a nest right now... 
she has two eggs under her and I am actually considering letting her go 
broody.  I will move her to a brooding cage if that is true, because she is up high in the nest box. 

This came up in my memory this week... it's little Cookie, 
two years ago this week.  He was just a DOLL! 
So much fun to watch. 

The finches!

I am actually going to mount a special flat feeder for them out in the yard about twenty feet, they 
are just tearing the deck up too much.  I will miss seeing them up close... but 
I won't miss the mess and the seed wastage. 

I  hope everyone has held on, Febaruary was a rough month for so many... 
it's almost spring!

And thank you, thank you, my friends, for still taking a look at this blog!


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Welcome, February!

Not sure why I am so cheery.... notice all the squirrels under the feeder?  

That was taken on the fourth. 

I just took this five minutes ago.  If you squint, you can see the birds patiently waiting for me to 
get the heck out of Dodge so they can eat again.  I have filled the two feeders at least six times this 
morning... I put food on the deck railing, they descend, and it is gone in a few minutes. Luckily, there is spilled seed below the feeders, and at the foot of the railing, many are eating there.  They take shelter under the deck, too, during the snow. 

It is eight degrees out right now. 

I left the chickens inside, but just went out at noon and refreshed water for all the wild birds, and put more food out. 

I bought six twenty pound bags of Back Yard Blend in the past week....I am almost at the bottom of the primary can, but I do have two bags in reserve in the secondary can.  I'll be into them this afternoon. 
It is snowing hard again out there right now, and boy, am I glad the Chiefs are not playing in KC today!

I'll be going to the feed store early in the morning, if streets are decent.  I live 2/10 of a mile off a main road, so that does have some advantages.  (Traffic noise not being one of them). 

When I wrote last week, I had just been to the ER to be checked over for an unexplained illness - not- Covid. 

I followed up with a cardiologist, and I am having a PET scan this week just to be sure of things. 
I did see a vestibular audiologist, and she discovered after extensive testing that I have an 
irritated nerve on my right side that likely caused the two serious falls I had just after Christmas. 
I am going to start physical therapy soon to train my brain to ignore the nerve.... and after 
speaking with the doctor at length (I really liked her and she was very forthcoming with 
information) I discovered that A VIRUS was the likely cause.  So.... proof something really was going on, even though I did not miss a day of chores the whole time. 

There is not a whole lot I can do outside while the temps are so low, so Jester and I have been staying in and warm.  We did try to walk at the park this week, the park where he, Lilly and I walked daily while Keith was ill.... but that did not go so well.  We used to do a mile... we got to the far side of the park and I could see Jester was flagging.  He really is more overweight than I realized, and he had a very hard time getting back to the car.  We won't make that mistake again, we are going to start very small, walk to a corner of the path and back for a few weeks.  I tried to walk him here to the woodpile in the pasture, and he literally put the brakes on and I had to let him off his leash

There he is at the gate, waiting to go back in the yard.  

Now, Jes always loved the pasture, and loved to run in it.  I am wondering if something happened that I did not realize, and has scared him.  He got along well with the sheep, both mine and the boarders... even when he was up close and personal with my own.  I'm just wondering what happened to make him not want to go in the pasture now, because I have noticed it before this. 

So, we will walk at the park after the weather gets a little better. 

I rebedded all the hen houses before the intense cold set in.  We actually had a day of sixty degree weather at mid-week. 

While I was in the Hen Spa, my helpers were sorting a leaf of straw. 

See the helper in my cart? 

That is my oldest silkie, who lives in the old hen house with five other hens and 
Singleton the rooster.  Hard to tell where her head is... it's on the right.  I would gladly move her 
over with the other silkies, but.... she is happy where she is... I found her and an old red hen directly under the heat light last night when I went in to close up.  I think I am  just going to leave her there, but I am looking for some more silkie hens. 

Here she is with a white ameracauna, they were sunning themselves in front of the hen house on Wednesday.  She rarely, rarely comes out anymore. 

I lost one of these two beautiful Cornish hens the day after I took this picture. 
I did post it on Facebook, but won't here.  She simply died. 
I had noticed her looking all bunched up that morning, with her head tucked in. 
She was five, and chickens usually live between five and seven years.  Cornish are not 
great egg layers, and these two had not laid in a year, at least.  They are gorgeous chickens, though, and part of the foundation of the Rock Cornish birds you eat for special dinners. I am grateful she went before the terrible cold set in. 

I expect to lose several during this upcoming week of terrible cold... that's just reality. 
I have a warming lamp in each hen house... people say don't do it, it can cause fires... but mine are large enough that we have always done it.  I've noticed the birds needing that little bit of warmth often stand directly under them.

Now... the wildings...

I worry about them, too.  

As I guessed,  no raccoons appeared last night. 
I did find the gray kitty on the porch earlier, but the starlings had eaten all the cat food, so 
I am praying he comes back... he usually comes about four.  I put a can of cat food out with 
the dry, but I am sure it is frozen by now. 

I also did not see any possums on the porch cam last night, which surprised me. 

Rusty, the feral that was raised here, has got some mats in his fir that I would love to help him get out.  I can get within two feet of him, but that's it. 

He is eating here daily, and knows where to go to get out of the weather. 

I did not see the yellow cat on camera for a week, and really feared the worst... and then, all of the sudden, there it was on the fifth! 

I keep a heated low water there on the deck.... one at the side of the deck on the ground... and one at the Hen Spa for the animals to drink from.  

I showed this little Carolina Wren in my last post... I really can't believe I am seeing it, I have never seen one here before.  I am seeing it almost every day. 

There were eight squirrels feeding that morning! 

Here is something else that I rarely, rarely have seen out here.... A Robin!  

We just did not see them.  A robin has been drinking out of the porch water regularly, and this morning, I saw one at the yard water. 

I got into a discussion at the feed store with the owner and another customer on Thursday. We all said that we had never, ever seen as many Robins as we are seeing this year, and don't know what it means. 
I saw at least seven in my yard one day this week. 

As an example, fifteen miles from here at the big house we lived in while Keith was sick (when a renter lived here)... I saw meadowlarks every day, kestrels, and robins galore.  I rarely saw a robin here, and never a kestrel or meadowlark. 

Last week, I put a can of cat food out for Rusty, 
and called him to the porch.  He came up and sniffed it, but five minutes later I looked out, and he was sitting under the bird feeder.  I don't know if he realizes the birds can SEE him. 

Yesterday, I saw him creeping like a ninja on the dead Cornish hen in the pasture.... 

he realized she was dead and then did not touch her, he went on down to the brush pile. 

The bestest boy in the world has been going on a lot of errands with me. 

But, we also have been taking it easy in the bad weather, too. 

We will work on getting that weight off as soon as the weather improves. 

I'm going to close here, check on waters again, 
and then make some cookies. 

At five, I'll turn the game on, but the sound down, I can't take the excitement, and I admit it!
I'm praying for a Chiefs win... sorry, all you Bucs fans!

Have a safe week, everyone!