Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Really, really cold tonight!

This shot was taken at dawn a while back, looking through the trees across the road from our house.  I think it captures the way I feel right now --cold!  But at least it's not snowing tonight -- it snowed every day last week.  Not huge amounts each day, but it all adds up.  Tonight it's going down to -8 (F) and -20 on Thursday -- BRRRR!!!!  (UPDATE:  It actually hit 35 below zero that night.)

When it gets this cold, the snow sort of crunches under your feet, and sometimes you hear a loud crack in the woods as a tree branch "explodes" from freezing.  I also have to go to the chicken coop at sundown each evening and dump all the waterers or they freeze solid by morning.  Chickens don't eat and drink at night anyway, but for the geese, who do, I fill their bucket with hot water at sundown, and that usually stays liquid until morning, at least, the geese manage to keep a small hole open to drink from.  By morning there is a layer of ice lining the bucket.  (I use a rubber horse-watering bucket so I can knock the ice out with a stick without breaking it.  A plastic bucket would shatter in the cold.)  In the morning I give everybody warm water and it stays liquid pretty much all day inside the coop, which has a passive solar design.  Luckily the coldest days are also the sunniest, so it does warm up in there.  We are even getting a few eggs.

I noticed today that the rabbits completely stripped the bark from my new Honeycrisp apple tree I planted last year.  Yes, I had put some chicken wire around it to protect it, but the snow got so deep, the bunnies could reach over it -- and they did.  Completely girdled it.  I'm going to see if I can take cuttings from the top and root them, or maybe graft them onto another apple tree in spring.  Next time I suppose I should wrap the trunk with tree wrap or something.  Gardening here is a constant challenge here.  

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