Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter on our farm

We've realized that winter on a farm can be far from fun.  When you have animals, you don't get to stay cuddled on the couch under a blanket.  We don't have electricity to the coop, so the chickens' water freezes.  And eggs need collected.  Regardless of the force of the wind, the drop in temperature, or the amount of snow on the ground, we need to brave the elements and change the water several times a day.  If only that were the biggest challenge.  For the last few years, we've had another element of dread.  Wild birds.  When the weather stinks, wild birds claim the coop as their own.  Of course they do.  It's warmer, there's fresh food and water, and there's plently of room for everyone. 
The first time this happened, we had a foot of snow on the ground thanks to one major storm, and Husband was out of town.  I trudged out to the coop, opened the door, and about lost my head.  At least fifty birds went crazy.  They flew into the walls and windows, they dive-bombed my head, trying to get past me, and they sent the chickens into a tailspin.  I was living yet another horror flick. (Anyone seen The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock?) 
Eventually they cleared out, so I could get back to work.  They do come back, though, all throughout the winter months.  Because of this, the kids are scared to death to go out and do their chores alone.  I can't blame them.
However, it won't happen this year.  We had a bad coyote problem at the farm this summer, and our entire flock of chickens is gone.  We very much miss our fresh eggs, but it has been a nice break.  I'm surely painting a target on our farm by saying this, but it should be an easy winter this year.  We still have to get the garden ready for winter, and we are taking advantage of the empty coop to get some maintenance done, but we won't be doing that with a foot of snow or minus 10 degree weather! 
I'm looking forward to some cuddling on the couch with the kids.

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