Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Chicks

The power outage from the ice storm stretched into day 5 on Tuesday and we were a bit worried about the 130 baby chicks due to arrive the next morning.  Baby chicks need 95 degree temperatures for the first week and, without power, we had no way to provide it. Fortunately, our electricity was restored late on Tuesday and we were able to plug in the heat lamps and prepare for the chicks.
Our newest flock of layers is a breed called New Hampshire Reds. They hatched on Monday at Meyer Hatchery in Ohio and very soon were packaged for shipment to us via the US Postal System.  Our post office called at 5:30 Wednesday morning to announce the chicks arrival. Jan went to get them while Charlie did the morning chores with the other critters.  The chicks are thirsty when they arrive.  Teaching them to drink is our first task. Quickly they found water without help.

Some felt a little chilly and huddled together under the heat lamps for warmth. Chickens naturally cuddle together in a group effort to keep everyone warm.  It was a cool, rainy and windy day.  

Some were hungry and made use of the feeders filled with organic chick starter from our local feed mill, Reedy Fork Organic Farm. This batch of chicks is alert, active and healthy.  We anticipate them growing quickly and becoming reliable providers of delicious and healthy eggs.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Ice Storm, part 1

The skies began spitting icy rain about 5 p.m. yesterday and during the night we lost power (and sleep) while listening to trees (or parts of them) crash to the ground under the weight of the frozen precipitation which pounded the roof all night, coating everything with ice.

Morning chores were to begin early so we could catch the train to DC for a weekend with family but in dawn's dim light it became obvious we could not go anywhere.

The view from the back door shows one pine that fell during the night and another atop the first one which uprooted early in the day when the  over-saturated ground could no longer hold it and the weight of the ice coating its limbs and needles. The small oak tree, bending under the ice's weight on the right of the picture, has since been uprooted and fallen to the ground also. The two white horizontal lines are the ice-coated clothes line.  Not a good drying day today!

We moved the vehicles to an area out of reach of falling trees.  The ice on the branches is lovely, but treacherous.  The chickens' feather net fencing is so coated with ice it has fallen under the weight and our multiple attempts to upright it are futile as the precipitation continues.  So many tree tops have come down since this picture was taken this morning that the skyline is less full now.  The white on the walk is slush from accumulated sleet and freezing rain.  We haven't had snow, yet, though we do have 2 1/2" of precipitation in the rain gauge.

A tree line runs along our property line on the north side of pasture one.  As you can see the trees are literally on the line, the fence line.  They have taken down part of the 6-strand high tensile fence and just missed the flexible feather netting.  They also just missed the cedar fence post buried under the branches.

We'll be cleaning up from this storm for a long time.  More pictures are coming so you'll see additional posts as I get out and about to take pictures.  We, and all our neighbors, have lost power.  We're using a generator right now, until the gas runs out!  Tomorrow our forecast is for sunshine and a high of 65!  What a difference a day makes!