nesting box barSo far, we’ve had a rather mild winter.  Only one really hard freeze and last night was the first horrid windstorm. All along, we’ve been trying to make sure the chickens stay wind shielded, warm and dry in their various little coops and shelters.  Sue has been adding to the hay bale wind breaks as much as possible – plus they love pecking and scratching at it.  She also added another layer of hay to the inside of the coops, keep up on that deep litter method, which helps Nexting box bar 2to keep the temperature warm inside the coops. We’re kinda hoping that, if we keep them happy, we’ll still continue to get some eggs through the winter – enough to keep our regular customers supplied. As part of that, Sue gave the newer nesting boxes, on the biggies’ side, an addition. They were consistently using the box at the far right end, because they can easily get in there from the ladder, but the other boxes were getting used less and less. So, Sue decided to add a little roosting bar to them, so that they could more easily access the others. It’s a great addition… and the chickens have enjoyed having it there; however, still just finding an egg in the end box. Must be someone’s favorite!

IMG_2263The alternative title to this post was going to be “What’s with all the Pedialyte?” That was a question posed by Sue’s son’s fiancée, Alexis, in reference to the plastic bottles in the rock wall planters. It’s one of the ways we keep the plants from getting too cold overnight. The rock wall planters are in a rather unprotected area of the yard, they are close to the house, but not close enough to keep warm during the cold IMG_2264spells. What we’ve been doing is placing plastic bottles (which happen to be Pedialyte bottles – which we add to water to help us keep hydrated) near the vulnerable plants to stave off freezing. The water heats up during the day so the bottles are warmer than the air to begin with; if they do freeze, they will release heat. I don’t know all the scientific reasons behind that, I just know it works. Let me show you this one…. In the photo at the right, you see a little Dianthus plant; you can see how the left side of the plant – furthest away from the bottle of water – has been browned and dried by that hard freeze we had a number of weeks ago. The right side, close to the water bottle, is still quite nicely green. I have no idea why it works, it just does. (Oh, and you can see a few of the cilantro seeds have begun to germinate, so I hope to keep them going as well).  Another thing that you can do is water your plants right before sundown on a night that is to be freezing. The reason this is supposed to work is, that it raises the surrounding air temperature as the water evaporates through the night.

So, hopefully the steps we’re taking to keep both animals and plants warm and health will continue to work. You know that, if they don’t, we’ll tell you about it here.
Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: Yikes! It was so windy overnight that it was difficult to sleep. We had chairs and dog beds and trash cans all over the place! We were hoping that the wind would be bringing rain along with it, but it seems to have deposited the rain all around, save for on us! Dang it.

Egg Report: Yesterday we had 1 duck and 9 chicken (plus 1 eaten, and one broken). Today we 1 duck (faithful little duck) and 7 chicken eggs (plus one soft one that was eaten).