ANZ's Farms

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow on the Homestead

One of the things I like most about North Carolina is its four distinct seasons. We have cold winters with the occasional snow, and hot summers good for gardening and swimming. These are separated by fabulously mild spring and fall seasons when the windows to the house can be open and all outdoor activities are a pleasure. Today is one of those cold, snowy times.

I have learned several things about snow and single-digit chill factors on an urban homestead:
1. Goats are just as sissy about snow as they are about rain! I was only able to coax them out of the goat house once ... with grain.
2. Chickens don't like snow either. These birds thought nothing of staying out in tropical storm-strength rain, but they were all huddled up in the coop most of the day today. I guess the snow was cold on their chicken feet. They visited the water and feeder only after I lay down a carpet of straw over the snow.
3. Blue Andalusians are not cold hardy, just like the book says. Blue stayed in the nesting area all day ... under the heat lamp. She is the only light weight bird we have. The others are medium to heavy -- they just poofed out their feathers to stay warm. Blue also has a large comb and wattles. I put vaseline on them to prevent chapping. She didn't like it at first, but once she figured out how nice it felt, she calmed down and let me slather them with a thick layer. One of the small downy feathers stuck to the vaseline on her comb ... she looked like she was wearing a French lady's hat!
4. No time for boredom on a snow day at the homestead. Toting warm water to replace that which is frozen, checking to make sure all the creatures are warm, feeding the wild birds, keeping the heavy snow and sleet off the sides of the greenhouse, and my husband's favorite ... getting out the tractor so he can pull his son and friend on their sleds. I stayed inside and continued to plan my herb garden, thinking of warmer days to come.

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