Wrapping up Another Year

Following the demise of poor little Blondie we realized that two hens and a rooster wasn't going to be enough bodies in the coop for everyone to keep warm. But first we had to finish the chicken run and then close it in for winter. The large run, with it's poly covering is practically a green house, so when the sun is out it's quite a bit warmer in there than outside. This is pleasing the chickens to no end. They love the compost corner where we toss all the kitchen scraps. They probably all spend most of their time scratching and pecking around in there.



But being the time of year that it is, finding chickens to add to the flock is a little bit of a challenge. So what we ended up with was 3 wyandotte bantam hens.
Introducing: Sable, Cocoa, and Shocolat
Bantams are basically mini versions of standard breeds. We weren't sure how well they would blend in, but Belvedere the rooster has taken a shine to the 3 little brown hens. He has become quite protective of them. On their first cold night here, I found him on the roost, wings hanging down, and 3 little hens under him keeping warm, while the other two Rhode Island hens we have left were all by themselves on the other roost. And the favourite girl is totally in love with him and follows him around. It's quite hilarious to see him mating with her when there is such a huge size differential!

These hens are quite young and so one starting laying for the first time a couple weeks in and another followed a couple weeks after that, but the third still hasn't started. Everyone seems to be getting along despite a little in house bickering now and then. Come spring we'll see about adding a couple more Rhode Island girls in. The bantams are laying lovely eggs but they are sooo TINY that it takes about 3 of theirs to equal one of the Red girls' eggs. Of course with winter they do slow down with the laying and so supply is not meeting demand at the moment. Then again, with such a small flock, it's no surprise.

All in all the winterized coop and run are holding up well and survived our first big winter storm with 90k gusts of wind. Wind shear snapped hundreds of poles bringing down the power island wide. Off island crews were brought in to help get everything right again but it took a few days.

We were without power for 4 days, but thankfully we have a woodstove and a generator, so we managed. Cooking on the woodstove is a little different from cooking on a regular stove but with a little planning it gets the job done. The generator kept the essentials like fridge and freezer running. Thanks to the handy hubby who is worth his weight in gold, he was able to buy the cable and plugs needed to make an extension that allowed us to plug our well pump into the generator. No hot water for a shower, but we had water. And water heated on the woodstove gave us warm washing up water. Next project will be to install an outlet on the house with a scissor switch so we can just switch over to generator when necessary without running all sorts of extension cords out through the window.

As usual, we haven't had much snow yet, but that is yet to come. Most of the snow we did get melted. Since then freezing rain mostly and a skiff or two of snow. Winter doesn't really come in earnest here on the island until January, so we are ready. The wood is stacked close by. The generator is handy with fuel on standby. The snowblowers are tuned up and standing guard. Winter boots and snowshoes are in the closet now with sandals put away.

Our anniversary came and went with just a small celebration of dinner and a movie. We reminisced about our awesome wedding and honeymoon which took place 7 years ago in the Caymans. Thanks to our friends who hosted us and helped us organize it all, it was clearly our best vacation ever, and we still wish we could go back and do it all again. Maybe we will one day.

There was a birthday celebration for Kevin, and a week of having him home from university. I still don't know what happened to the cute little gapper with the chubby cheeks who used to sit and do crafts and colour with me. The years can really fly by in a blink. We got him a beautiful professional easel for his birthday to support his new hobby of painting. Seeing him cart his canvas and paint up the stairs has inspired me to perhaps revive my own creativity. I used to sketch a lot but haven't touched charcoal and sketchbook in years. Maybe it's time to pick that up again. What better time to get back to that, when the snow is falling outside and there are long dark days in the house. Come summer the busy days of gardening and Farmer's Market selling will leave little time for such pursuits.

With all the fuss over birthdays, anniversaries, power outages and a week of dealing with a sick cat (poor old Poncho had us worried but two vet trips and $400 later he's on the mend). It was a mad rush the week before Christmas to get the decorations up. It just seems like every year, December is just one mad dash the whole month through. Still, we managed to get everything in place, and put a nice Christmas dinner on the table to share with friends. As usual, I went crazy and made so much food we'll be eating leftovers for days despite everyone having second and third helpings.

The celebrations are done and there is a little bit of quiet time now before we get to the next celebration. This is the time to take a breath and reflect on how blessed our lives are. We can look back at what we've accomplished this year and plan what's next on the homestead. Our house is filled with love and we are surrounded by good, kind, friends and neighbours. In all the ways that truly matter, we are rich. With this in mind we look forward to the new year with positive vibes.

To all my friends and family, may the new year bring you an abundance of whatever it is that you need in your life.

Comments

  1. Well, I swore I left a comment yesterday...
    Anyway, nice to see you surviving and thriving, despite the winters. Generator is a great idea - that 4 days was interesting, to say the least.

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    Replies
    1. Comments are moderated now which means they don't get published until I approve them. Sucks that in this world there is always a bad apple that has to try to spoil the whole barrel. :) But some people just don't have anything going on in their lives so they have nothing better to do. Hope you survived the 4 days okay!

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  2. wishing you a blessed and happy New Year! I always check your blog, and my only complaint is that we don't hear from you often enough. :) love the chicken coop and run! stay warm and safe!

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  3. Thanks Debbie! I know I don't update it as often as I used to. New Years' resolution to do better :)

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