Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sledding

I grew up in the South. We didn't get a lot of snow and when we did it was cause for huge joyous celebrations. One flake and businesses closed, grocery stores ran out of milk, bread, and toilet paper, and children all over town started watching anxiously for accumulation.

In WV we have plenty of snow. Enough for sledding! We found a particularly good hill the other day.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Driving to Town


This past weekend, my husband and I had to go into town to get prescriptions filled. I took a few pics. This is the most snow I've seen since I've been here. We had more a couple of weeks ago but I was out of state visiting relatives.


Here's a beautiful scene snapped out the window on the way to town. This might become my desktop background, despite the fact that it's not too clear.


The creek is doing its best to freeze over nice and solid. I've never been ice skating on a pond or a stream. I would love to try it! Skating on a stream is especially attractive to me, because I'd get to see the area from a new vantage point.


Icicles!! There were much more impressive ones than these, but these were convenient and we were going slowly, so these got photographed.


After we arrived in town, the back of the truck looked like this. It's interesting how clearly the wind patterns show up in the drifted snow. Now I understand why, when I forget and leave my back window open on the highway in the summer time, all those leaves and/or hay blow out of the bed and into the cab!

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Cherry Pie


We had a delicious cherry pie for our New Years Eve meal. I like to have a nice meal on New Years Eve. I'm getting better at pie crusts. DO use store bought flour, DON'T use home ground wheat flour -- it's too heavy. DO use butter, DON'T use margarine or shortening. This one still had some problems. The filling stayed juicy and never set. I mean, it was juicy like juice you drink. Like water. But good! We just put it in bowls and ate it with spoons.

The cherries are from summer of 2008. We didn't get a cherry crop in 2009 for some reason. Gotta love that deep chest freezer (and that kid that climbed up in the loader to pick cherries!).

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

More snow chicken stuff

Here's the chicken house after I gave them their water and opened their little door. The little door is on the other side of their coop and it opens into the fenced run. The door slides up and down to open and close. I open it with a cable that goes up through the roof and across a pulley, then hooks onto a screw to keep the door pulled up and open. I had to brush some snow aside to find the cable and the screw to hook the cable around.

The dark spot on the right is where I backed up the truck too far and the hitch went through the wall of the chicken coop. It wasn't one of my prouder moments.


Snow is surprisingly heavy. I sweep the snow off of the coop roof and then prop it open with a scrap of 2x4. We have cylinders in the coop to help lift the roof but after rain or snow it's just about as heavy as I can manage, even with the cylinders. With the roof propped open, I can get eggs, fill their feeder, throw down some scratch, and check that everything is generally okay. I put the scratch down on their litter (wood shavings) and they stir it up. This keeps the chicken house cleaner and less stinky than if I just allow the poop to pile up and cover it with a new layer of fresh shavings every so often. I am sold on the "let them scratch through the litter" method of keeping chickens.


Here they are happily in the house, eating up the scratch. We currently have one rooster and eight hens. Our rooster is a beautiful fellow, keeps a good eye on his girls, and is not at all mean to us. We like him very much. The purple blue stuff is Blu-Kote and when the chickens get wounded or naked from the rooster pulling their feathers, I spray them with the Blu-Kote to help them heal. I like to spray them in the evening when they're on the roost, because they are still and calm then. So I sometimes hit the interior wall of the coop with overspray.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snow chores - chickens


We've had a lot of snow recently (yay!) and the temperature has been below freezing for several days. A week? Two? I haven't really paid attention. But I do know that the chickens' and rabbits' water dishes are frozen every morning and evening when I go out to check on them and give them food and water. I took some photos this morning whilst going about my chores. It was that early blue twilight time of day.


I water the rabbits and the chickens with rubber pans that hold about 3 gallons of water. The rubber stays flexible even in extremely cold temperatures. I've not had any problems with them at temperatures of about -10F. I flip them upside down and stomp on them, hard, with my boots.


Most of the ice pops right out. Any that clings to the dish can be popped out by flexing the dish or by poking at it with a gloved hand.


I carry warm water out in old vinegar jugs. I used milk jugs at first but the vinegar jugs are more sturdy and last longer.


Yay! Fresh water! The chickens are hesitant to come out into the snow. They will, but they must first get their courage up :)

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