Winter is Here

I don’t care that we have over a month to go for it to be official. Winter is definitely here. We put the duck pool away three days ago as the water was frozen over solid that morning. It was time for them to just use the small containers that can easily be turned over, popped out, and refilled. It is also helping with the ground not being so mucky, at least until it starts raining again. I am sure the ducks miss it, but they will just have to learn to live with it until spring. We have also had to stop filling the outside containers at night, instead just filling them in the mornings and checking on them mid-morning and mid-day if the daytime temp is not above freezing.

The chickens have their heat lamp in with them now. The turkeys are pretty hardy and are not supposed to need one, but I will keep a watch on them, too. It’s pretty cold in the rabbit shed, so I put a floor heater in there so their water bottles don’t freeze. This is a safety heater that will turn off if it becomes unbalanced. We set it so it maintains a temperature of 40 degrees in the shed at night. We only use it if it goes below freezing. Set that low it doesn’t cause too much of a blip in the electric bill.

The leeks and parsley have been harvested and I just need to deal with them. I plan on making rabbit stock this week, so the leeks will go in that. The parsley needs to dry. It is making the house smell really good.

A week on from butcher day and the ducks have settled happily into a cohesive flock. Butchering the one drake Tucker has made all the difference in the world. Lemon is no longer hiding all the time, she is hanging out with the other gold girls. They don’t go off and hide behind the duck coop when it is bedtime. Tucker led that, too. And there is no excessive mating. Tucker also did that. Wade is just a laid back drake. He is attached to Addy, but doesn’t overmate her and he basically leaves the others alone mostly unless they initiate things, so flock harmony is much nicer. And now hopefully poor Lemon can grow back her bedraggled wing feathers.

My husband managed to get the roof back on the turkey coop and on Monday he and his father are going to raise the duck coop. It has been sinking into the mud because he didn’t use cinder blocks under it even though I said this exact thing would happen if we didn’t. He didn’t want to do it right when they moved it the last time, so now he has to do it in freezing cold temperatures instead. Maybe he’ll get it now that when I ask for things a certain way, there is a reason, and it is better to do it the first time and save yourself double the work later on. At least his dad will be over to help him.

I am glad he can come over as the kids and I are sick. We all have sinus infections and are finally on antibiotics. I’m barely functioning. I’ve been sick about six weeks now, which is why I am not posting too much. The husband had to butcher rabbits by himself yesterday, so I told him not to bother with weighing before and after like we normally do when I help out. That way he could just get it done a lot faster.

My physical therapy has been going good. It’s about the only thing I can do before getting exhausted, but the new program is working well for me and I am far less wobbly on my bad knee now. The weakness is starting to go away. We bought a floor pedal thing. It’s like using a recumbent bike but you can use it in any chair. It works well. I can use it without putting any pressure on my knee joints. While I’d have like to purchase an actual used exercise bike, the price is prohibitive right now when I know the husband will have five weeks off with no pay in mid-December/early January. The floor pedal thing was only $30 and it does the job.

We are pretty prepared to get through the time off. We’ve got a stocked pantry and freezer and I’ve been really careful with the budget, saving as much as I could for this time, since we have it every year, though it has never been more than 3.5 weeks before. I am hoping to get through it without having to dip into our emergency fund, but it is there if we need it. I’ve been buying extra feed for the animals as we have been able so we don’t have to buy it during the no income time period. We’ll be fine, but I sure do wish it was paid time off. His company does not do that though.

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