Darcy

Ever since my last post about the coming spring, it has snowed. That much for spring. The temperatures plummeted overnight and in the morning we watched as the ever present rain turned whiter and lighter minute by minute. Within hours we had snow covering the ground, the cars and the chickens’ spinach. Nevil the cockerel and his girls didn’t venture out once on the first day. All the treats that I used to lure them into the snow were scoffed by blackbirds.

Billy the Puppy (he is almost two now but is still the younger dog, so there) didn’t know what to make of the cold white stuff. First he tried to eat it and then he decided that the best way to deal with snow was to burrow his nose under. Then he went absolutely bonkers. He jumped and ran in circles and soon Freddie the Dog got swept in with that enthusiasm. I have never seen them playing quite as much. Thank you, Storm Darcy.

With usual predictability the social media now flooded with white snowy pictures of the south eastern England. We finally had snow! Friends and neighbours were trying to outdo each other with their winter landscapes, gardenscapes and snowmen.

sheep in snowy landscape
My entry into the ‘share a snowy landscape’ competition

The fact that only big roads get gritted around here meant that most of our cars (shod in the equivalent of flip-flops) were left behind for a few days. The walk to the village is treacherous, cold and up hill both ways (don’t ask me how that’s possible) but I got to stop and talk to people – actual, real people and not screens!

But it’s not all just fun and laughter with the snow. A couple of years ago, when we had a cold snap one night, I lost two hens. Whether it was due to their coop getting too cold or because they were both new and were getting kicked off the perch by the others and slept on the floor, I don’t know. However I was not going to risk it this time. Despite having a lovely Omlet coop which is said to keep them warm, I filled the inside with straw even under the perches. And then… I covered the whole thing with a double duvet, making sure that the air vents were still uncovered. I know, crazy lady, but they survived the night and I was happy.

Last night I repeated the manoeuvre. Wind blew. Duvet flew. I found it in the hedge and the chickens still came out of their home all clucking and fluffed up. So perhaps they would have been ok. But hey, peace of mind and all that.

chickens under a tree in snow
Nevil and the hens finding a clear patch for their foraging.

As for the dogs, they still enjoy the snow, but less the defrosting process after every longer walk. Their feet, legs and bellies get covered in snowballs. The easiest way to get them off is to run a warmish bath and dunk them in it. Oh, the moaning! After the soaking they shake until there is not a drop of water on them (thus transferring most of it on the walls and the floor). As soon as they are dry, they are ready to go out and check out that white cover.

Walk, dunk, rinse, repeat.

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