The last time it snowed this much ……well, it has never snowed this much at the Farm. Over 14 inches.
Its wonderful, fluffy, snow-white snow, perfect for snowballs, tobogganing, skiing, all those sorts of winter fun.
The goats were not amused.
The chickens fared a bit better, perhaps because they can spread their little toes and walk on top of the drifts. But they didn’t like it either and in the interest of consolidating the workload of feeding them, all the Cornish and Chanteclers were put into one pen. Still, a couple ventured out and then decided they could not make it back through the stuff and had to be rescued. In the end, they all pretty much stayed inside their coop and watched the day go by.
The Barbs in the north pasture were at a complete loss. They stayed in the trees during the actual storm and had a nickel-sized area of dirt underneath. They couldn’t possibly make it all the way over to the feed shelter, could they?
No, they couldn’t.
Not until I unrolled a strip of straw blanketing and made a little walkway from the trees to the feed shelter. They thought that was mighty fancy and didn’t hesitate at all to walk on over.I thought they would walk back and jump into the trees. but surprisingly they all stayed inside the little shelter that they had heretofore spurned.
In the layer pens, their water was way too far out for them to go and besides even if they could have made it, I doubt they would have been able to find it.
They had a few bare patches under the trees and looked like they were on the ledge of a ten story building trying to stay off the snow around the coops. I tramped a few pathways for them from the feeders to the main coop doors and they seemed to like it pretty well.
The weight of the snow was enough to drag the netting down in the covered pen and even bend the 6 X 6 posts inward. Little Toast waited it out in her chicken tractor and this morning I couldn’t find her at all. Hopefully she is deep in one of her tunnels and will come out when all is well.
The netting is about 20 years old now and as we don’t really have birds that need to be prevented from flying off, it will have to go. It’s still good netting though and I’ll have to find a use for it somewhere else. It’s a tangle and strangle hazard so that is a consideration.
And in the buck pen, while the tarp-over-PVC wasn’t much, it did OK as a general rain and sun shelter. Not so with snow. It gave up pretty quickly once the snow started to pile on, and eventually collapsed completely. Poor Hawk was soaking wet, and RPB1 was also all wet and not happy. Pharoah thought having something to rub his head against was pretty neat! They all went very willingly into the greenhouse section of the high tunnel where it is dry and relatively warm. They destroyed the anti-scratch wiring over the garlic bulbs, knocked over all the spare pots and have lots of room to practice head butting.
The new barn will be a very welcome addition in both space and hard roofing.
Trying to walk through all the snow is like sloshing through soap suds…it just doesn’t go anywhere. Not being able to see where you are going brings surprises all the time. I need to find a way to mark sudden dropoffs, curbs and other obstacles that look so deceptively soft and rounded. I did find the hose, though. Barely.
The temperature is warmer now and it’s raining hard. Heavy rain is in the forecast as well for the next week. The Barbs coop needs a couple panels for the roof and then that will be done, so that and getting more walls for the barn built is the priority.
All in all, I would rather be doing these big jobs in the winter when there isn’t much else to do and can get them done under shelter than in the blazing heat of the summer. I also expect great things from the garden this year and want to be able to devote as much time as necessary to that.
We will have a couple of Berkshire/GOS pigs this year as well. Watch the Facebook page for share updates.