Wednesday, January 7, 2015

and now

Our near forecast indicates low temperatures so low that a cover on the face is required while doing chores, as damage can happen to the skin. Homer has a neoprene mask he wears when it is this cold out.

Overnight the temperature is expected to be 7°. We add extra straw everywhere for every animal, and they snuggle right into it, together. It is a snuggling in time.

And yet food is needed, maybe a bit of extra food to function in such cold.

We feed extra to our livestock and ourselves when it is so cold.

We don't maintain bird feeders. We used to, but now we see the birds all over our property, finding places to snug in and shelter themselves. And foraging, all over the place, for all sorts of things. I watched a bird walk about and then pull a slug from a tuft of grass the other day. Swallowed in a quick gulp. 

We don't ever spray our pastures or our vegetable beds. We have sections of pasture that are not used, that we allow to lie fallow each year. Not the same spots, but always some. There are brambles in the back that have a myriad of other things growing in there. We can't really get good pictures, as it is too cold to have fingers and photo taking gear out and about right now.

But we see the songbirds here, near the house. As we move quickly through the chores, providing liquid water a couple of times daily to our chickens, we see the songbirds. We refill the water bowls for the dogs and see the songbirds visit to dip their beaks.

This is dangerous, lifethreatening weather. We are careful to stay dry and warm and to plan our time outside carefully. We are healthy and happy, and want all on farm to be so too. This weather can change that quickly. 

The songbirds and all of our livestock are safe here, as they forage in decreasing amounts of grass. Where the chickens are this time of year nothing grows back until spring. They strip the ground and it stays bare until the weather warms...ten weeks? Or eight weeks from now? As our birds get down to the end of fresh forage it causes us to chuckle as they search, find and eat bugs, slugs and the like. And then we run back to shelter ourselves.

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