Snow!, Soup and Chickens

 

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Farm dog LOVES heat, best seat in the house

 

Been so long since I have had the time or inclination to write.  I spent three weeks down and out with the flu before Christmas, and then another one taking care of my two boys that also had the same bug.  It’s a bad one this year, folks.  Four days with a 103.5 fever and coughing like to split a rib.  I believe the worst part about being a homestead mom is when you feel like death, you still need to be sure the chores get done.  Chickens need to be fed, kids and husband need to be fed, house needs to be tidied, the whole shebang.  My husband did get me some things at the store when I needed them.  Ginger ale is the best thing to me when I’m not feeling well.  Don’t know why it works, but its a pick-me-up when I need one, so I did down about a 2 liter bottle of it by myself during that time.  I know, there are lots of herbal things, a bunch of which I also did at the same time, but that ginger ale is key.

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I also made a batch of turkey rice soup that we ate off of for a bit.  Another thing that is key when I’m sick is soup.  Works like a charm!  I love soup all winter anyways, but when I’m sick, homemade soup is the best elixir.  As a matter of fact, I am roasting squashes for soup for dinner tonight.  We are in the middle of a snowstorm now, expecting 8-12″ before it’s all done.  So, I figured soup would make a great meal for tonight along with some sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches.  Sometimes, soup is just what the doctor ordered and in a snowstorm, not much competes.  Except, maybe pot roast, pot roast is good, too.

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Getting ready for snow storms is always an interesting thing to me.  When I have to head to the store for shopping before a storm (which I really try to avoid at all costs), then it makes me so utterly amused and scared at the same time.  I went at 8:00 am yesterday morning because we had been out of town for a bit and I needed some staples restocked.  I went to the milk aisle, where there were still a few bottles left, but if someone were coming a couple hours later, I bet they were sold out.  The bread aisle was decimated.  I wonder what in people thinks bread and milk are the most important things to have to have for a storm.  My first go to is always water…wouldn’t everyone want to be sure they had water in case the power went out?  I made sure after our last shortage, I have bottled water stored in the basement now.  If power goes out, we’re good for a bit.  And we always have the ability to melt snow if need be.  After this storm passes, we’ll have about a foot and a half on the ground.  At least those folks will have plenty of bread and milk! It does make me realize something though.  In a SHTF (Sh*t hits the fan if you’re unfamiliar with the term) situation, where will people go when the grocery store sells out?  What will happen to the people who have only a day or two food put away in a small pantry, that rely on take out for most of their meals?  Where will they go looking for food?  Did you ever consider this?  Scares me, and makes me more determined to be prepared for an emergency for my family’s sake.  You need a well stocked pantry, folks, its good common sense.

 

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The coop and snowy pen

 

We’ve been in the clutches of the longest cold snap we have seen in NH in a very long time.  We’ve gotten a reprieve because of the snowstorm, temps are up in the 20’s today, but prior to this it’s been high in the single digits and lows in the – 10 degree range.  I have been having a devil of a time keeping the chickens water thawed out, changing buckets twice each day as they will be frozen solid before nightfall if I don’t.  They are also eating a lot more during this stretch, which is to be expected since they are having to burn a bunch more calories keeping themselves warm, but yikes, organic food is expensive!  I have been supplementing them with some fresh cabbage and apples that are getting soft that I have, so at least they are getting their fresh fruits and veg while they are on lock down. If it gets below 15 degees, I don’t open their coop door.  They won’t come out into their pen anyways because they refuse to jump into the snow.  If I open the coop door, it gives them a bit of fresh air, but also freezes the water that much quicker, and since they won’t come out anyways, I spare them the freezing wind blasts and just leave it closed.  They don’t seem to mind too much and it’s plenty toasty in there, even when it’s below zero.   They have stopped laying in this cold as well, though I’ve only got 2 that are bothering to lay right now anyways, the freeloading slackers.  I did get an egg yesterday, but not knowing it was in the back of the nesting box, it was left until it was frozen solid and then it had cracked and leaked and froze just like that, a freeform egg sculpture.  And we thought chickens didn’t have artistic abilities.

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The hens in the henhouse.  Wonder what they do all day in there?

My poor husband has been bearing a bit of the stress of this cold snap trying to keep the pipes thawed.  We’ve not had a washer in over two weeks because of the frozen drain lines and pipes. He’s spent way too many hours under the house with a hair dryer trying to keep everything functioning.  First winter in a new to us old house, gotta work out all the kinks and “charms”.  There’s a good chance I’m over older homes after this one, so much work and we’re not getting any younger.  The half of the house that doesn’t have adequate heat is the half I spend most of my time in, so sleeping in a bedroom that is in the low 40’s isn’t so bad when you have an electric blanket, but living in a living room all day at those same temps is just not good for the body or the soul.  We’ll figure it out eventually, just takes patience and willingness to endure.

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I will end here.  Hoping to be much more frequent with these posts now that I have my computer sitting on an actual desk.  It’s in a room I have to share with the boys tv and my husband’s messy desk, so I find creativity hard to muster this way, but I will do the best I can to keep on keeping on with this.  Stay warm everyone!  Only 74 days until spring!Until then-be well, be kind to each other and blessing to you all.

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