I've been meaning to write shorter posts, but post more frequently. That might work in June or September, but in February, not much happens around here. Technically, it's now March, but since it was zero F just two days ago, I'm not counting it.
We did have one beautiful warm (almost 40 degree) day last weekend and I took a walk to celebrate being able to be outdoors without swearing for the first time in months. The highlight of my walk was seeing a pileated woodpecker flitting through the trees just over head and then swooping across the road, but my phone's camera didn't do him justice.
I did try a little panorama action by a field, however:
It doesn't look like much but when you haven't felt the warm sun on your face in ages, it seems like something special. Here's a non-panorama view.
We've had a patient in the house for over a week now.
This is my last remaining hen from the local egg farm. She wasn't ready for their version of retirement, so she came here and has enjoyed several years of real farm life, with a roost and dust baths and lots of sunshine, fresh air, and bugs. But the winter's been hard on her and the persistent cold got to her. I found her almost dead on the floor of the coop and thought I'd bring her in for a day or so until the weather stopped hitting the single digits.
That alone took a week.
You can see in the picture that her comb is bleeding profusely. It started a few minutes after I brought her in the house, probably as soon as the circulation came back in the warm air.
Every time I mention putting her back outside she starts coughing and sneezing with great enthusiasm. But she can't fool me. She's looking much better.
Her comb is pretty badly frostbitten and she may have some sort of respiratory thing going on, but she's eating. She hasn't attempted to jump out of the box and roost on a bookshelf or anything, which would be an indication of a full recovery. I tried putting her outside for a while today, but after leaving her alone for less than 2 minutes I came back to find the turkeys bullying her, with one hen biting her scabby comb while she cowered on the floor of the coop. I picked her up and she put her head down in my elbow with her eyes closed, breathing hard.
So she's back in the house for the time being.
Poultry can be so obnoxious.
I did a bit of knitting.
The pattern is called "A Little Bit Bohemian" and it can be found on Ravelry here. (For anyone who is still wondering if a website for knitters is really necessary, keep in mind that Ravelry just hit 4 million members. That's a lot of yarn.) It only took a few days and I like it. I used some merino/silk yarn I dyed back in the days of A Piece of Vermont Yarn and Fiber. I don't think I'll ever run out of inventory...
And as winter (hopefully) comes to a close at the Lazy J, I can proudly say we're still working on our potato harvest. We only have about 15 pounds left, but they still look like new, thanks to the root cellar Mark and his guys built in the basement last fall. Last year, they (the potatoes, not Mark and his guys) were stored next to the furnace, where they sent up 2-foot sprouts well before spring.
The root cellar, if I haven't mentioned it before, is giant -- like 7 x 10 feet, maybe? (Master Overbuilder strikes again.) And it's practically empty save for the potatoes and some lard and other canned goods. But thanks to thermodynamics and some strategically placed vents, it's staying at 43-44 degrees. That's only 5-6 degrees warmer than the fridge, and 11-12 degrees colder than the rest of the basement. It's a win.
I just need to start planning what I can grow to keep in there next year. I may try to get my hands on some northern-growing sweet potatoes.
We didn't keep the butternut squash down there because of the moisture. This, therefore, is what the house looked like last fall:
It's like a vegetarian version of "The Birds."
Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow, so I think it would be appropriate for spring to start. Let the sap run and the sun shine. And let me be able to feel my toes again. It's been a long winter.