Sunday, January 10, 2010

My New Year is just getting started...

Due to family illness and the glorious weather, our holiday season dragged out for quite awhile. Which isn't always a bad thing. It was fun, there was lots of food and I got a boot dryer!

What woman doesn't want/need a boot dryer?! Any woman, like me, who treks to her barn and henhouse four or more times a day, needs a boot dryer. I also had to pull out the YakTrax I got last year. These are stretchy traction devices for the bottoms of my boots. My chickens are envious, but I think their little toenails would get in the way.

It wouldn't be winter here at Netherfield/Neverdone if we didn't have a chicken in the kitchen and this year is no exception. One day last week, I was setting out the little banty hen who has decided to go broody (it's winter you moron!)and I discovered she had been sitting on/in a broken egg. Ugh. It's way too cold for that. At first I set her outside to get some water, thinking I had pulled out all the egg bits. But a Rhode Island Red came over immediately and started pecking at the little gal, so it was off to the kitchen for a grooming session.

Keep in mind that we do have a slop-sink bathroom off our kitchen, so I am not talking about bathing a chicken in my kitchen sink! And what morning would be complete with bathing a chicken. Chickens are not big on bathing, even when they need it and this little gal was no exception. She was fortunate to get a warm water bath and I discovered her entire belly is completely bald! She has made a big brood patch on her belly to keep the eggs warm!

So then I got started blow-drying. Other than becoming alarmed when she could see herself in the full-length mirror, she LOVED being blow-dryed on low. She almost sprawled out on my lap to help! And there's no better smell for your kitchen than a boot-dryer on high with a little blow-dried chicken on the side!

Every day is another mind-numbing routine of busting and refilling water bowls for chickens, barn cats and horses. There is a heater in the horse water tank that runs on a timer and this week I have been shoveling clean snow into the tank. If it would ever get warm enough to melt just a little, the snow on the steel barn roof will melt and channel into the tank. But for now, it's easier to shovel powdery snow than to haul water out there.

The barn cats sit faithfully on their little heating mats and eat their canned food quickly. Whatever freezes in their dish, I give over to the dogs to remove! Keeps them busy and entertained.

Then there's the never-ending process of emptying the muck tubs of their frozen loads. The colder it is, the more the horses stand in the barn and fill their stalls. I got in a little bit of trouble last year for breaking too many muck tubs by dropping them on their sides to dump them. Cold and plastic don't always work well. So my solution this year--always have Handyman dump the muck tubs. It's worked great so far.

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