Sunday, January 17, 2016
Our coldest day thus far this winter will be spent indoors. The curtains are drawn, candles glowing and we are surrounded by movies, games, good food and the catalogs that have begun to descend upon us. As we have had our chickens for a number of years and not added any new hens to our flock in two seasons, our egg production seems to be dropping off most dramatically since the cold weather began. Though we will not cull any of our hens who have worked hard for us, it is time to sincerely think about adding layers to our shipment of birds this year. As we looked through the catalog we grew reminiscent of the early days when Sid had her 'boutique' chickens for show. Though show is probably not in our avian future, she simply lit up at the prospect of a couple of Silkie chicks being added to the hen house as mascots. Topaz was her blue ribbon winner, friend and followed us all diligently though the garden. It will be nice to see a couple of fluffy chickens around again.
We will be ordering a couple of packages of bees this year as we have gone the last season with just the one hive. If you recall, we did capture a swarm with one of B's bait hives last year, but we combined its population into the existing one that we had. Though going into winter it is still robust, I do not think we are going to wait on the chance of our bait hives for another swarm.
The above photo is a little experiment that B has done this weekend after reading how to make alternative heat sources. Those votives do a fantastic job of heating that crock into the perfect little space heater for putting up your feet on a cold day. The promise of spring, though distant, can be felt with seed catalogs arriving and livestock orders on the horizon, and oh well planning to inseminate Mabel leaves us also with the promise of piglets not long after chicks arrive. As we warm our little homestead it will soon be replenished with young life, and what better time to be planning it than on the coldest of days.