Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Always Look Before Reaching Into A Nest Box

We haven't had a lot of eggs with the shorter winter days, but I still check because every once in a while I'll have one or two and it's so frustrating when they've frozen!

However, I learned that is imperative to visually check the nest box before you reach your hand in there. 

It always, always makes my heart skip a beat when I see the flash of very white teeth just before I check for eggs.  That isn't feathers you're seeing.  It's the fur of an oppossum!  The bugger snuck in there and found a nice cozy spot for a winter nap!  Luckily I found him before he ate the head off of one of my chickens.    

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Winter Gave Us A Wonderful Little Respite

Although the current temperature is 11-degrees and it feels like -4-degrees, yesterday's temperature was 59-degrees.  What a wonderful little break!

It gave me a chance to do all those "little" outside chores without it being absolutely painful!

✔  The outside Christmas lights put away.

✔  Horse stalls and chicken coop completely mucked out and laid with nice clean warm bedding.

But the very best part of the day was walking out to check on the bees and hearing lots and lots of humming!

  When I got to them they were flying all over the place!  This is a wonderful thing to see because you may not know it, but bees will "hold it"  all winter.  They will not pooh in the hive!  This quick little break of warm weather gives them a chance to go out and pooh (and when you look in the sky above the hives you might actually see them doing it) and it helps reduce the chance of them coming down with nosema, a kind of "dysentery" in the spring.  Funny thing, I remember an old beekeeper telling me that you never want to site your clothesline near your beehives because those mustard colored droppings are very staining!     

Image result for bee poop

We're back to winter with lots of snow, but wow the break was great!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Like Stepping On A Golf Ball

Road apples, horse buns, horse pucky, horse chips, horse hooey and horse apples.  

There are lots of names for horse manure. 

But I can tell you, stepping on a frozen road apple is just like stepping on a golf ball... and hurts just as much!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Some Days You Get The Worm And Some Days The Worm Gets You

As everyone knows, we are dealing with incredibly harsh weather today and tomorrow!  When I look at the weather for my area, I read that the temperature is 3-degrees and feels like -16-degrees!  Yesterday, our local schools canceled today's classes!

We've done all we can do to keep our animals warm and cozy.  Extra feed, extra bedding, blankets on the horses, giving them good shelter, etc.

This morning I looked out and I couldn't really see how much water was in the horse trough, but it looked like maybe it was a little low and I decided that my horses probably could use more water.  Surprisingly, they drink almost more water now than they do in the summertime!

We have an outside water hydrant spigot that is about 60 yards from the heated horse water trough.  In the wintertime, I put together a number of "Magic Hoses" to reach to water trough at the barn.  I can then put all the "Magic Hoses" in a five-gallon bucket and store them in the basement so that they don't freeze.  

When I was filling the horse water on the day before yesterday, one of the hoses developed a pretty significant hole and I forgot to pick up a new one while we were in town.  Ah!,  I thought, I have a spare "Magic Hose" hanging in the garage!  So I removed the broken hose and replaced it with the new hose.   

I then filled up my water buckets for the pigs and fowl (which I haul to them in a big log sled) and then attached my hoses, turned on the water and started dragging the running water end of the hose down to the barn.  It was then that remembered why I didn't use that hose from the garage.  It's about eight feet too short!  So I trudged back up to my broken hose and dragged it down to the other end to try to see if I could make it limp along enough to fill the horse trough. 

By the way, this was all being done in -16-degree whipping winds...AND when I got to the 100-gallon horse trough I found that it was about 3/4 full but I had started the horse watering process anyway!

Nope, the hose was far too damaged to work.  Water shot out everywhere at the connection.  

The horses had enough water to easily get them through until tomorrow so I trudged back up the hill to turn off the hydrant spigot so that I could let the hoses drain and put them back in their bucket when I go inside.   

I finished all of my animals chores - got everyone fed, watered - made sure they had adequate bedding, etc. - and trudged up the hill with my sled with its empty buckets. 

The hoses hadn't completely drained!  And the first hose was frozen to the spigot!  I thought that maybe if I ran some water through the spigot it would thaw the hose fitting.  It did not because the water that hadn't drained out of the hoses had frozen the spigot and now the water wouldn't turn on!  

I trudged into the garage, got a pair of pliers, and removed the hose.  Then I pulled the frozen hose together as well as I could and jammed it into the five-gallon bucket.  

I hauled the hose bucket and the pliers into the house and filled another bucket with warm water.   I hauled that out to the spigot and poured it over the spigot until it thawed and the water ran freely.  Thankfully the water started because I don't know what I would have done if it didn't! 

It's not always beautiful vegetables and cute and happy animals on the farm...

...Some Days You Get The Worm And Some Days The Worm Gets You!