Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dear Mother Nature,

We give up.  I believe I speak for most of Baltimore and perhaps all of the Mid-Atlantic when I say that we are humbled by your might.  We apologize for all of the greenhouse gas and NOx emissions, water pollutants, poor land management practices, SUV's, reality television shows, and/or anything else that might have angered you.  Your vengeance is as cold and deep as it is fierce.  We should have learned from the example you made of Canada, but frankly, I still don't think anything we've done has risen to the level of Loverboy and Brian Adams.  Regardless, we are sorry for whatever we have done.  Mistakes were made and we shall do our best to correct them.

Now that we have gotten the apologies out of the way, I would really appreciate it if you stopped with the snow already.  It just isn't funny anymore.  Frankly, this is downright rude:

(Keep in mind this is a 4 foot fence)

(You can't even see the 26" jumps... they are buried a foot down)


That is Coop D'Etat on the far right.  Little Brett and the girls are in there! 

Now, when people do great things in the line of work, they do not like to be called heroes.  Firemen, police officers, ER doctors, etc... they all consider their actions to be part of what they are called to do on daily basis.  I am not one of these men.  I am a chicken hero.

I jumped to action in the middle of the blizzard of the century.  I was going to rescue my chickens!  Shovel in hand, I pushed out the back door and into snow that came up to my waist.  My well worn track from this morning had already been covered and the snow had drifted to about 4 feet deep on their porch.  Daddy is coming for you!  I struggled to dig a path to their door.

As I cleared the snow away from the entrance, the chickens could hear the sound of the shovel scraping against their coop... their home that had been transformed into a snowy prison.  They called out to me, "we're in here, help us... we are very bored, and we would like some more freeze dried, berry-flavored mealworms."  Their beautiful voices were tainted with desperation. Were they OK?!?!?!?!?

Before I answer that, let me show you some other pictures.  This is what we like to call a cliff-hanger.

The dogs were in a similarly dire situation.  How does one go to the bathroom in snow that goes above your head?

Tubbers was desperate for answers... and frankly, I did not like the one she seemed to be hinting at.  I sprang into action.  Shovel in hand, I pushed my way out of the front door and into waist high snow.  My carpet and Tubber's dignity were at stake.  I cleared off the front porch and dug a tunnel down to the spruce tree in the front yard.  There the dogs could find some cover and respite.  For more security and privacy, I dug out the snow under the pine tree and made walls under the branches.  It was like a fort to protect them from the howling winds and biting cold.

Brave Pea was the first into the foxhole.  It was a bit slippery, but it would do.  She called back to her incontinent companion.

The coast was clear... or the steps were kind of cleared off... whatever.

Tubbers could not even wait for Petunia to get out of the way.   They both drove down the snowy trench, around the corner, and under the big spruce.  They quickly christened it Fort Latrine.  Just as quickly as they came, they left...

Crisis averted, but what of the chickens? Well, before we get to that, the horses have been rather put out by the storm too. 

Poor Ellie was keeping watch and waiting expectantly for her breakfast.  I sprang action.  Shovel in hand, I pushed out the back door and... yada yada yada.  I dug out the area between the two barns so that they could get around easier, but frankly they have been getting around pretty well.  They actually don't seem all that inclined to seek cover.

After they ate their grain, they popped back into the yard to hang out.  Thankfully, they had the sense to go inside after a while.

I could not get a shot of Kane because she is white and the visibility was that bad when I had her out.  I did have to check on the Bumpases.  Shovel in hand, yada yada yada....

They were fine.  It was actually pretty warm and dry at the back of the garage.

But what of the Chickens?!?!?!?

As I got to the door of Coop D'Etat, I struggled with the lock which was frozen solid....

Yea, they were fine.  I gave them some scratch, some more feed, and even some mealworms and then went back inside. 

It's tough being a hero, but I make it look pretty easy.  Hopefully, my efforts to save animal friends will convince Mother Nature that we are all worth saving.  If so, you can all thank me later.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Fun

The sun finally came out around 4 and the snow had ended.  Everything was quite lovely.

We all went out for some playtime and I got a few good shots of the dogs.

When I had Kane out, I measured the snow to see how much actually came down.  Due to the wind, there were a lot of variations in the measurements, but 26 inches seemed like the average.

After I took the measurements, I realized that the snow really was up to the dog's noses... and deeper.  Thus, I changed my perspective and started taking photos of Kane from her level.

I thought it was difficult for me to get around out there, but this made me appreciate what the dogs are going through.  They all got some treats when we got back inside.

Oooh, I hear the faint, chugga-chugga of my neighbor coming through with his tractor.  Time to bring that guy a beer.

The Snopocalypse

Suffice it to say, I have never experienced a winter like this one.  We are currently experiencing our second snowfall of more than 20 inches.

I went out at 9 a.m. and measured the snow in a few places.  This is an average reading for the yard, but we certainly have some drifts that almost hit my waist.

I walked up to the barn this morning and broke a sweat.  I shoveled a path between the two barns, made sure the area around their water was clear, and put out a couple of bales of  hay.  To my surprise I was joined by the Bumpases.

I was not expecting old Gar-Gar to show up.  He was all tuckered out by the time he got up to the barn, but I made sure that everyone got back to the garage safely for breakfast.

Coop D'Etat is also snowbound.  I had to dig my way into the front door.  Thankfully, I have gotten the Flockers a few extra treats to keep them occupied.  I also got a few extra heat lamp bulbs just in case.

The chickens were very pleased with their berry flavored, freeze-dried mealworms.  Yea, I don't know... I don't know how, why, or who came up with it, and I think it's better that we not try to find out.  The chickens do seem to like them though.

The dogs have had mixed reactions to the current conditions.  Kane was pretty excited to romp about the yard for a bit,
but she suggested that we go back inside after a while.

Kaney is slightly taller than the other girls, so she was getting around a bit easier.  Still, it was an effort and you can tell she was panting.

The girls did come out to play.  Pea was the first to follow me into the front yard.

HT followed and did some running about.

Unfortunately, the dogs can only walk in my path.  Fresh snow is not passable, as poor Pea found out.

The only sensible thing to do is stay in the well travelled areas of the yard...

or just go back inside where it is warm.

I braved the weather long enough to get a few shots of the farm.


(Apple trees in the middle pasture as seen from the front yard)

(View of the side yard from the front yard)

( View of the side pasture w/ old goat barn from the side yard)

(View of the horse barn from the side yard)

(View of the side pasture from the top pasture)

(View of the goat barn from the top pasture)

Be safe out there and stay warm.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Peleaugh Day

OK, I'm a little late with the groundhog's day jokes, but I've been busy.  I don't care if it's "played out" or whatever the kids of today would say with their sardonic, slacker-ways.  I'm going for it... whatever "it" is.

So, much like we do every February 2nd, Punxsutawney Pea emerged from her hovel and came out into the yard.  She was a bit bleery-eyed due to her slumber...

but the crisp, cold, winter air quickly woke her up.  She looked about the yard and I waited in breathless anticipation.

Her shadow was right behind her, but instead she spotted a pile of poop and ran off to snack on the frozen treat.  I chastised her a bit, but she didn't really seem to care.

So what does this all mean?  It means it was Tuesday and Petunia is a jerk who really likes to eat frozen poop.