This morning there was ice on top of the 5-gallon pails of water in the hoophouse-my backup to running hose across the yard to the frost-free hydrant. But lugging 5-gallon buckets across the snow drifts isn't much of a backup. I need a hydrant in my greenhouse or a better back. Greens don't need as much water in winter, but a little helps them in their struggle with these temperatures. Even though we have double layer frost covers on the spinach, mizuna, arugula, and komatsuna (an Asian mustard green with a sweet/tangy flavor), when it's zero outside, it'll get below freezing in the hoop house. We swept a foot of snow off the top of the roof yesterday. The weight of snow cannot be underestimated.
There was ice on the water in the chicken coop too. We have a base heater that the water container sits on, so it doesn't freeze completely and the hens are able to drink out of the trough. They sip and tilt their heads and peck at the snow on my boots. The rooster lords over them all, such a guy.
My sister had a calamity this morning with her chickens. She has a feeder attached to the wall and when she was dumping grain into it, somehow it broke loose and fell, and a wire impaled a feeding hen through the beak. Sissy got ahold of her and with a wire cutters tried to pry the wire out, but the chicken jerked away and tore the top of her beak off. My sister called us in a panic feeling woozy. It would be like losing a thumb. How will it eat?
One of our hens has recently taken to hiding in the corner behind a nesting box.
Sometimes I feel like Hazel, hiding in a corner to avoid critical attention, afraid to venture out of my comfortable niche, afraid to put myself and my writing out there. I dash off a few queries and then retreat back in my hole to write. But who wants to live in a hole? Like the mousehole in Notes From Underground, no writer can long stay in the hole under the floor. Oh, the writing is best done in the mousehole, but then we have to venture out, like the groundhog who did NOT see his shadow this past week. He's out and about, waiting for the brighter day he knows is near, and Hazel is perched above the rest, roosting out of reach, and the writer in me pushes the page across the space between us and says, "Will you read this?"