The wind waters my eyes as I carry a 5-gallon bucket of water from the hydrant to the molting chickens. I plug in a heat lamp at the back of the coop so the eggs don't freeze.They aren't laying as they should but still need to be tended, fed, bedded and watered. The temperature is dropping and chickens can't be without water, even when they're molting.
Snowflakes drift down from the overhung sky. The wind rises. I set the basket of eggs on a board in front of the bins where we store feed and containers at night so they don't draw rats-a measly four eggs from a flock of fifty- open the lids and eye the feed I have left for the week. Yesterday, I pulled dead pepper plants and some mustard and fennel gone to seed out of the hoophouse and threw it into these hungry chickens. Today, it was a jar of dill pickles that failed to pickle and a delicata squash with a soft spot. They like squash. The pickles lie untouched, along with the sprig of dill and the clove of garlic. Finicky.
I step off the board and it seesaws, tipping the basket over. The eggs roll out and one breaks on the hard ground. I scoop it up and put it in the cat's dish He eats good too. Who says farming is hard?