First Winter Lessons

Ah, January. The holidays are over and the winter has just begun. Already, I can tell you we will be doing things a little differently next winter. 

First, all the animals have water with some sort of heat source. Not powerful enough. When the temperature doesn’t get above 33 for more than a few hours at a time for days on end, the little 5 watt heater just won’t keep it flowing for the birds. So we moved it into the coop. For now, anyway. The bunnies fare a little better but will still need a better option next year. For now, we break any ice and add fresh water nearly daily. And by we, I mean the girlfriend because she gets up early every day and does all the stuff I wouldn’t have time for. 

Seriously, could not do this without her. 

Second, shelter. It’s less of an issue now than it was in late autumn, but when those November and December rains come for weeks on end, it can get pretty miserable. All the animals have shelter, but I feel an awning of some sort would cut down on the muck and get them moving more. 

Third, wood stove. The house came with a pellet stove. Apparently a previous owner swapped out a wood stove for it. Why, I’ll never know. Sure, it’s efficient and low energy and can be hooked to the thermostat. But it also requires electricity to run, and the pellets cost about $5 a bag, a bag lasting a few days. Meanwhile, we live in the freaking forest. So yeah, swapping that out and getting a wood shed set up. 

All that being said, I do feel we’ve planned ahead decently well. We’ve got emergency food and water stores, the chicken coop has a light on a timer (separate timer from the door) which has the chickens on a regular schedule, and laying better. The rabbits have lots of shelter, as does the dog. Seeds for the vegetable patch are already in, along with heat mats to get the warm weather crops a head start. Have buckwheat already and have a local source for barley so we can have some small grain patches. 

Most of the building projects I’ve got right now are small, but in a few weeks things will get pretty busy here. I’ve decided to not rush the pasture and goats. As much as I want goats, if we fence the yard completely then we can more than quadruple poultry areas, to include ducks and geese, and make the rabbit area bigger. Still looking for a truck but once we have one, lots of other projects can start too. 

In the meantime, this salamander was crossing the road and I thought he was adorable. 

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