Winter Woes

Midwestern weather means we deal with subzero windchills one day, then break record highs with 60+ temps the next week. Between my physical reactions to these massive swings and my sweet pups desire to simultaneously play outdoors and snooze the day away, it’s no wonder that I get a bit grumpy this time of year.

We are in the no-go zone of farm season. The ground is frozen so I can’t set posts for the coop expansion. Wind gusts of 20+mph mean I can’t set wire on my vegetable teepees or rehang the coop roofs. Even setting up pallet play areas for the goats is challenging – more so because curious little Yoda helpfully stands on my building materials!

The most unexpected challenge thus far? Frozen coop doors. The converted shed has worked beautifully as a home for my 23 chickens and 11 ducks. They have lots of interior walking space on inclement days, a good cross breeze from the high windows, and the thick bedding + their body heat makes it so warm that I don’t need gloves when I check for eggs. They like to scratch through that bedding though, and it gets jammed in the door track – and freezes. Clearing those tracks so I can secure the doors when its dark, cold, and windy, is simply not fun.

The bright spots are what keep this farmer going during the winter stretch. The hens are starting to lay in larger numbers again – I don’t use heaters or lights in the coop because I want their bodies to work naturally – which is a sure sign of spring. Even as I write I hear egg song and its such a lovely sound! The goats are getting frisky – the girls have yet to be bred so we’ll have babies late this year. My seed order arrived last week and I’m working to clear more field space as the weather allows. The field will be at least 5 times larger than what I had last year, and I’m excited to try growing some new things.

Soon enough I’ll be working outside all day and thriving. For now, I’ll do my best to enjoy the down time of inside work, rub puppy bellies, drink lots of coffee, work jigsaw puzzles, watch some Netflix (Trollhunter! Shannara Chronicles! Hinterland! Shetland! The Defenders!), and be thankful I live my dream each and every day.

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