It’s a full moon and the coyotes are putting the heebies up me. It’s -10c for the second night running, didn’t get above -8 today. It’s the stillest of nights so hopefully the sound is just travelling far. Still, I went outside and put another chock into the pallet coop door, and wedged a massive barn board against the other one.
Our pipes froze last night so we’ve been without water again today. On checking the boxwork, insulation etc that I put in last week I found that was all okay, nice and lucid, but the top of the pipe between the house and the outside where it dives back down towards the frost level was crackly frozen. Spent the afternoon in town burning cash to make sure I got the right solution – heat-tape (well, easyheat pipe heating) and a space heater… hopefully we’ll be flowing tomorrow.
Met lots of interesting people – one new customer who I dropped eggs and bagels off to, a girl in home hardware who will become a new customer as I’ve shaved about 100km off her journey to find fresh local free range eggs, a neighbour in an unexpected place and a girl who works in central hardware but can supply us with Tamworth x Duroc weaners at the end of March, plus she lives just over on Creignish mountain… where the howls were coming from, I think.
We’ve been busy, doing farm stuff and friend stuff. I picked up a load of rhode island red hens from a girl in Mabou on Saturday. The backroads were a lot trickier to negotiate in my clapped out minivan than I expected so the journey home took longer than I expected and one of them was trampled to asphyxiation before I got them out, died in my hands as I tried to get some sugar water down her throat. It’s tough when it’s your fault. The other twenty-three are doing well in the kitchen of the big house though, and looking forward to the saws and hammerbangs tomorrow when I build the new coop; one hundred and forty-two square feet of pure chicken palace, with popholes out to lush pasture (once the snow has melted that is, until then they’ll be happy toboganning down the hill).
The chap we bought the leghorms from last month gave us some brown hens he is through with (he’s a hobby breeder and likes to rotate his hens gene pool) and has also found another clutch of hens for me in a month or so. He took a shine to Charlie and gave him a couple of chicks and the loan of a brooder too, which are currently lounging on the desk next to me here looking all cute and fluffy. In the brooder of course. And finally we picked up a lone pet leghorn from a boy down the street who recognised that she needed company and volunteered him to us, so our flock is truly immense now… had twenty-one eggs today from 37 hens in the depth of winter with no supplemental lighting.
I’m hoping the coyotes don’t reduce my numbers…