Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rest In Peace Golda

Sad news today at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  I went out to the coop this afternoon and found my dear sweet Golda dead.  No indications of fowl play (yes, a horrible pun).  The last I saw her she was happy and healthy and eating her favorite meal worm treats.  She brought a lot of joy to my life and I will miss this dear chick.  She was the one that molted early, she was the one the others picked on and I had to doctor her up a few times.  She was also the one who would bow down and let me pet her and would come up to see what I was doing when I was working near her.  She enjoyed being able to free range in the backyard and was always a happy girl.   

I will miss you Golda.  Thank you for the happiness you brought and the eggs you gave us.    

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Which I Become That Crazy Chicken Lady

The last I left you, we were enjoying a nice snow day at Prairie Cairn Cottage and catching up on some crafting.  It continued to snow Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I dug the chickens out 5 times on Tuesday and woke to even more snow on Wednesday!  I was faced with a drift that was 5' tall and 3' wide just to get the pen open before I could check on the dear chickens.  After digging out enough to get the pen open I discovered the snow was blocking the main door to their coop.  I had tried to put a cover over the top of the coop to keep the snow from blowing in on them the night before but the winds got through anyway.  The wind was unbearable, stinging my face and eyes.  The wind chill was -22 and I was fighting a loosing battle with the snow.

Looking out the morning room door.  That is a push lawn mower up against the house.  Yes the snow drifted this high!

The poor dears are buried!  This is the backside of their coop.

You can just make out the edge of the main coop door towards the bottom  left.

The morning room.

What  was I to do?  I didn't have the strength to keep digging them out and if I left them they ran the risk of suffocating if the snow covered all the vents in their coop.  I was mounting a major expedition just to get out to the coop walking through the drifts with the blowing snow blinding me.  So for my sake alone I made the decision to abandon the coop to the elements but I was not about to abandon my girly girls.  I quickly went in and set up a temporary coop in the basement then mounted a rescue mission.  I had to take the roof off of their coop and scoop them two at a time  into a waiting dog crate.  They fretted and worried until all 4 were reunited in the basement then they set about investigating their new abode.   

A tarp on the floor in the corner with two dog exercise panels as walls, pine shavings sprinkled on top.  A large cardboard box for the coop and two smaller chicken sized boxes as nest boxes.  Their usual water and feeder and poof, an indoor coop.
And that, my dear reader, is how I came to live with chickens IN Prairie Cairn Cottage and my friends labeling me That Crazy Chicken Lady.
The snow finally stopped with this storm but the drifts were so high the hens couldn't move back into their coop.  And this week?  Well, we've been hit with another 17" of snow!  This week it's been snowing since Monday.  The weather prophets keep promising us it will stop sometime tonight.  I'll share with you the big dig out that is to come.  I'm hoping we can relocate the girls back outside by late this weekend.
It has been quite an adventure here at Prairie Cairn Cottage.  I'm glad you donned your snowshoes to come for a chat.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Uh Spring?

The Cottage is being slammed by the big storm pushing through the US today.  The poor dear chicks are snowed in again and I've had to dig them out 3 times thus far.  I will do it one more time before night fall.  You can see a large drift in the corner of their enclosure. 

We've gotten over a foot of snow and with our ever present prairie winds the snow tends to drift.  The drift off the patio is now over 5 foot high.  Lucky for me I had planned a couple of snow days and don't have to try to go out in this in the cairn mobile.  I just have to go out and shovel and shovel...well you know the drill.

The funny thing about the wind, it piles the snow up 5' in places but scours it bare in others.  This is  the rest of the back yard at the Cottage:
At least I'm not trudging through 5' of snow to get to the coop.  I just have to walk to the back fence then come back up to the coop so I can shovel to get the enclosure open...then dig them out...when I'm done I get to shovel to get the enclosure closed back up.  Not to mention having to shovel a path for Little Black Brindle to use the loo.  Whew!  Quite the work out today!

Between shoveling, I've been enjoying my snow day at the Cottage.  A little sewing, a little knitting, a lot of blog hopping, some texts with family...
I certainly could use the finished version of this knitting project.  It will soon turn into Fear of Commitment Cowl found here.  I got tired of only knitting dish cloths and am pushing myself to try different projects.  The yarn is Lion Brand Hometown and is deliciously soft.  It should feel good against my neck next fall and winter.  Big size 13 needles and only 35 stitches per row should have this done in no time. 

Last but not least, I am very pleased to announce the soon completion of my muumuu!  I only need to hand stitch the yoke facing and the hem band (pinned for the picture).
Remember, this is the first piece of clothing I have sewn since Home Ec.  For my first attempt in decades, I am rather pleased.  It's too large and I will be making the next one a size (or two?) smaller.  It will be only for around the Cottage, so no matter.  I've been dreaming of sewing my own clothes for some time and feel this is a step in that direction.   
I know you won't be driving up the Lane to Prairie Cairn Cottage today (you'd get stuck in the snow silly) but I'm ever so glad you popped in to see us.