New Year, new challenges 

Here in the South we don’t get the beautiful fluffy white stuff very often. So, this the first week of the New Year brought our first winter storm. The major challenge that we faced was that this is  our first winter in our new house, on our new property and it’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You don’t know how comfortable they will be, but you’ve invested in them and you have to give them a chance. 

The weather turned nasty on Friday evening, first rain and dropping temperatures then sleet which turned to snow sooner for others than it did for us. Nonetheless, we woke up to a winter wonderland on Saturday morning. 

We slept in and took it easy with a warm breakfast before venturing out to check on everything. The chickens were the first thing we checked, however they apparently too slept in. The door was open and fresh food delivered but it wasn’t until after our walk when they eased out of their cozy coop. 

Our walk presented challenges but it also afforded us a chance to meet some new neighbors. 

Before & after

We usually walk in the early morning and even if people are out they’re usually on their way to work and not interested in stopping to converse. This couple like us are in a new home, so we made introductions. It’s funny even though our homes are separated by large lots, everyone is very friendly and happy to meet. 

The chickens were not up for making new introductions to the snow. They hovered just on the edge of the leaves and dry dirt avoiding the cold white stuff. Alice flew from log to log playing leap frog over the snow. She did not want cold feet. 

So I gave them some treats and they went back in their coop until it warmed up and melted a little. The wild birds were the next ones to be looked after as I put out additional suet and meal worm cages for them. I was rewarded with a flock of fledgling bluebirds that were fascinated by the melting driveway as well as the mealworms. I can’t wait for spring to put up s couple of bluebird boxes for them. 

Blue bird watching on a snowy day

Being that this day fell on the day after Epiphany, the afternoon was reserved for undecoratong and retiring the Christmasgreens, some of which made it into the fireplace. 

We finished the day by having dinner at the next door neighbor’s house. They asked us early on in the day knowing that we were probably going to cancel work or social plans. What a nice cozy evening we had with them, good company and delicious food. I told John that we were blessed in every home we’ve had to have wonderful neighbor’s. As we left, the husband reminded us to turn on our water as the temps were due to dip in the teens. We thanked him and set off the start the water trickle. Our kids were already in bed. 

In the middle of the night I woke up to silence. Yes, it’s true only I could do that. I couldn’t hear the heat cycling n and off and then I was staying a je listening for it and have gold drafts but not wanting to get out of bed. So, I finally did. The house was 62 degrees and  no heat was running because the AC had bet switched on. I guess the fire had done too good of a job while we were gone and the kids were here playing board games with the neighbor teens. Not yo worry, I turned on the heat, but when John woke up there was no water pressure. Ah! I remember this happening in the summer when the water was left running. One of the challenges of living with a well is learning about the well. First of all,  someone had turned the fawcett off in the middle of the night. ( Could have been the AC culprit , maybe or maybe not). Ok they probably meant well, because how many times have they been told ” Turn the water off” and now we’re asking ” WHO turned the water off?” Poor things, they can never win. So, we got up and started boiling jugged water to thaw the pump out. We thought about the pipes but not the pump. We gave up and opened the chicktn coop, gave them hot oatmeal as suggested – they were not amused – and poured boiling water in their watering jug and bowl too and agin, they went back to bed. A trip to church , and a new perspective yielded a reset of the pump breaker, a thaw out of the yard and all is right with our little farm. The chickens have found & water, we can flush our toilets and cook, and the birds will come back for more birdseed. 

A downy woodpecker, cardinal and sparrows eat at the buffet

So, we’ll hope for the best tonight with the water. I have signs up on the fawcetts ” Please do not turn off!”  and John put a space heater in the pump house. More beddding has been put down for the chickens and hopefully they will acclimate to the snow and accept the new challenges that we have to live on this farm together. 

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