As anyone with chickens will know, the ‘egg song’ is pretty unmistakable – it’s how a hen often announces the delivery of an egg. It’s something that we haven’t heard since Sept/October time as they went into moult and their non-productive period so I was rather excited yesterday afternoon when I heard that familiar noise.
Sure enough, on closer inspection, there was our first egg of 2018 – hurrah! It’s always a momentous time of the year for us, hopefully, signalling better/warmer weather to come – although looking at the forecast for this weekend with the return of ‘The Beast From The East’, it may still be a way off.
One thing we’re really looking forward to, is getting some new hens now that our ‘new’ run and coop is finally finished (it only took a year) so as soon as we’ve had the last of the snow, we’ll make the final adjustments for the initial segregation and be ready to go. I’m not looking forward to that awful vicious introduction period but it will be great to have a larger flock again.
Just to work out what breeds now – we love the blue eggs we get from our Cream Legbars, maybe some dark brown ones this time, or green…
On Wednesday afternoon we were hit with the Met Office red alert and it didn’t disappoint – after white-out conditions all afternoon we were soon cut off and officially snowed in. We’re used to getting plenty of the white stuff being at about 1000ft but this is the worst it’s been since moving here almost 5 years ago.
Whilst it’s knee-deep in the garden, the drifts are shoulder high in places and the wind has sculpted the most beautiful waves – it’s a completely different landscape. Sandy had to dig out the back garden so that the dogs could get out and we could get down to the hens – they’re still refusing to come out of their coop so we’re having to keep refreshing their frozen water and feed. The birds have been flocking to the garden for seed and fat balls to help sustain them during this bitterly cold period.
Today is Saturday, and after three days snowed in we’re starting to get cabin fever – thankfully a neighbour threw a little gathering last night which helped. Another neighbour has been kindly running up and down our road with his manitou clearing the worst of the snow but most of us are still unable to get out without some further digging – some will need a lot more than that however! Thank goodness we had a gas delivery at the start of the week and are always well stocked up, my only concern was losing power, like we used to regularly up until very recently when they did dome work on our system – that wouldn’t have been much fun!
Looking at social media and the news it’s been fascinating watching how volatile our food system is with city centre stores running out of milk and bread and panic buying across the whole country. We don’t have our own cow but our local milkman, although unable to reach us, was still able to deliver along the A702, another neighbour went down to collect it and distribute it around the village. We can make our own bread, and our freezer and cupboards are well stocked with produce from the garden, local farms and other suppliers as well of course from other sources like supermarkets. It makes me even more convinced that shorter supply chains and producing and preserving as much food as possible, as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable pastime, is also the way forward for us.
The snow and Siberian weather is forecast to continue for some time yet and it’s going to take a while to get back to normal but we don’t mind sitting tight and enjoying what nature is throwing at us and the incredible community spirit that these situations always brings out.