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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

It's Cold

So, yes, as you've probably heard, most of the Midwest is experiencing a cold snap. This includes us. On Friday, we never even hit zero during the day (for the high), and yesterday, as I said in a previous post, the high was -14! Last night was our coldest up here so far with the mercury finally stopping at -27 degrees. Today, the high got up to a balmy -12!

Thick frost is creeping in every possible spot of our incredibly tight new house . . . mostly around windows and doors. Wherever moisture has accumulated - say, at the bottoms of window panes in the kitchen when I've been boiling pasta or something like that - the condensation has turned into thick and white ice. So, we've finally bit the bullet and plugged in the air exchanger. This is supposed to regulate moisture in the house, too, so we'll see if it makes a difference. While the subtle air movement does make the house feel just a titch cooler on nights like tonight, we do notice and appreciate the fresh smelling air it brings in from outside. These modern, new inventions - I tell ya!

When we lived down by the lake, we'd run electricity to the chicken house when we built it, but, since electricity is somewhat scarce (and precious) up here, we didn't think we'd hook the wires up to the Taj MaCoop here at Swamp River Ridge. But, weather like this really makes you doubt your frugal decisions of the past. During this winter, I've been trying to be stoic about my chickens - reasoning that they're staying warm enough due to their overcrowding more than anything else (butchering day is next Saturday). But, it wasn't until today when my wonderful husband ran an extension cord out from the garage and I was able to plug in their toasty little heat lamp that I realized how much their tough winter accommodations had been bothering me. Now, they are happy, and Chicken Mama is happy. And, Chainsaw Tommy is happy because he made Chicken Mama happy.

Incidentally, the dumb, frozen birds have finally started laying in this past week! The daily egg count had been paltry all fall - my old hens past prime production and the new pullets not yet laying (they were due to start at the beginning of January). But, apparently someone (they, thank you very much!) had the countdown off by a month, and they started producing - as if right on time - amid the frigid temps of early February.

Speaking of animals, who says they don't communicate?! Miss Kitty has tricked (or blackmailed or threatened with potential death by lethal scratch, more likely) Tucker into letting me know when she's ready to come back into the house! It's actually quite amazing, to tell you the truth. (I wonder why she never tried it with Maisy? Or, maybe she did . . . .)

Anyway, the situation is this: since Miss Kitty came to us as a wild cat, she's always asked to go outside when she has to "do her business". She's never gone inside, never had a litter box. This winter, she's become a total pansy and has to - quite literally - be SHOVED outside to "go". Matter of fact, we've even caved and gotten her a litter box so that she DOESN'T have to go outside if she doesn't want to! Does she use it? No. Anyhoo . . . when she goes out, she does her business lickety-split and then meows to come back in. Now, herein lies the problem: this new house is so tight that I rarely hear her meow. So, she has - SOMEHOW - gotten Tucker (who is not allowed to bark in the house) to give one bark and look at the door when she's ready to come in! Ingenious, no?!

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