Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow day

There are many magnificent trees here at Applegarth, this is one of the mighty Douglas Fir trees.  On the left you can see the road that leads from the barn to the cabin, big house, and gardens.  I make this walk many times per day going to do laundry at the big house, and showers in the cabin, and trips to the gardens and orchards. 
Last night we had a couple of inches of icy snow, and the school district cancelled classes for the day.  The roads can be risky for buses and drivers.  The kids always love a snow day to hang out and do whatever they want. Our youngest daughter Kaley who's 10 made homemade waffles for everyone this morning, so we're having tea and waffles by the fire.  Tessa's reading, and Jason is off with friends playing in the snow.

It's windy and raining outside right now, the snow is starting to turn to slush, and melting off the trees.   We are going to clean house for awhile, with plans to make some apple muffins for dessert later.  I'm always teaching the girls to cook, and am proud to say my oldest daughters who live on their own are great cooks, and conscious about the quality of their food. 

Yesterday was a day of cleaning the chicken coop, spreading out fresh shavings, defrosting waters for the rabbits, and checking on the honeybees. They bees are all still tight in their winter cluster.  I added a small box called a super to each hive, and raised the level, so I could add one old flannel pillow case filled with sawdust, not a lot of sawdust, enough to make a square with about an inch all of sawdust. I did this for insulation purposes and to help with the condensation that occurs in the hive when it's cold.  If you don't have anything in there to absorb the moisture it can cause water to drip down on the bees and chill them.  When I checked on them yesterday I noted some moisture, so added the pillowcases filled with sawdust to help absorb the moisture.  I have learned to check my bees regularly, even in the winter I will walk by every couple days and look around see if there are any dead bees that need cleaning from the entrance, and will put my ear against the hive and listen.  I still have a good amount of bees from my observations yesterday.

The chickens got a free day yesterday to run around outside the coop while I was cleaning it, and working around the yard. Their favorite place to scratch is under the rabbit hutch, and they run around happy and content under the canopy of the trees too.  I put both the dogs on chicken duty to help guard, they like to have their own jobs when we're working beside them.  Sierra has a zip line, and Summer has her post where's she's tied on a long lead.  The chickens are used to the dogs and walk all around them scratching and pecking.  We are all happily snowbound in the midst of winter.

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