Sunday, March 24, 2019

It's Still Winter Here

Admittedly, there are signs of spring, and I am definitely encouraged by this, but one look around my yard today will show you that winter is still here in my part of the world.  I took a short walk this afternoon, although it's difficult here because there are no sidewalks and the snow and ice on the sides of the roads mean that the roads are narrower, so one must be mindful of safety when out walking.  I actually saw my first robin of 2019, so that's a good sign!

Here's a tour around the yard where you will see mostly winter, and a bit of spring. We have actually had a reasonably good March - it's further along in terms of melting than I'd expected it to be at this point.  Loads better than last year!  Here's the back deck, where you can actually see some of the wood steps.  These have only been uncovered in the past week - before that it was just a big heap of snow.  But, there's a lot of snow yet to go!

The path through the yard to the chicken coop is still completely snow and ice, especially underfoot where it has been compacted over the winter.  This snow is at least 2 feet deep still in some places.

The side yard where the spring bulbs live is still under deep snow.  We have a lot of shade from the woods so that does slow the melting process.

There has been a good amount of melting on the driveway, so you can actually see some pavement and gravel now, but as you can see, there is a great deal of snow on the flower bed in front of the workshop.  That flower bed is the one that receives the most sun, so it is the furthest along in terms of melting.

Look!  Bare driveway!! 

The snow piles left on the edge of the driveway in front of the house are also considerable.

The huge hat of snow that was on top of the arbour has mostly melted, but there is much yet to go underneath.

Here are the mounds of the raised beds, still enclosed in their snowy blankets.

The bird feeders were, at one point, covered up over the bottoms of the raccoon baffles, but now there is a lot of space under the baffles.  You can see that the sunflower shells, with their dark colour, have absorbed extra sunlight and caused additional melting in that spot.
Along the back of the house, there is a lot of snow but you can see where the drips from the melting on the roof have created a long groove.  

I've had a very difficult time with the chicken coop gate door this winter.  We had a lot of snow, so I kept digging out in front of the door so that I could continue to open it.  Over time, this led to a sort of deep "valley" right in front of the gate.  Now that we have some melting, it pools exactly in that spot, and there's no access to the ground yet.  As a result, I keep ending up with puddles that freeze overnight and it takes me a good 30 minutes sometimes to get the door free so I can access the birds.  I'm going to have it modified this summer so that next winter, it won't be an issue.  You can also see, in the picture below, that finally my feed bins are visible again.  The shorter one on the right had to be dug out a few times because I couldn't even see the top of it.  

The birds are all well though, and I only lost 1 chicken this winter, which is really quite good.  Here are Shadow the Icelandic cross hen, and Fancy Pants the Icelandic cross rooster, enjoying a bit of sunshine.  I love Shadow's grey feathering.

I might even call them lovebirds!  They do spend a lot of time together.

Inside the coop, here's a shot of Onyx--one of my biggest hens--and Sienna, a bantam hen. 

 One other sign of spring - egg production is in full swing!  Hooray!