We have been feeling the effects of the “polar vortex” here in upstate New York. It’s not as cold here as it has been in the Midwest, but yesterday felt colder than it has in years. I have struggled to stay out with the chickens to observe and make sure they are doing okay (they are). The water in their bucket freezes almost immediately, despite the warm heater that is underneath it. They have stopped laying eggs this week, which is just as well because the eggs freeze and split open if I am not there to collect them right away. The chickens are bred for cold temperatures like this, so they will survive, but I know they’ll be happy when it warms up and they can break their huddle.
It’s so cold that the boiler in the house has moments of freezing up, that the fire in the wood stove burns quickly, that the frost that covers the front door and windows takes all day to melt in the sun.
In the meantime, school has started back up here. ‘A’ is immersed in computer lessons and literature this winter. ‘H’ is developing her writing skills. Both girls are taking part in Project Feederwatch this year – Thursdays and Fridays are our count days. We could watch the birds forever. You can’t imagine the excitement here when we see a species for the first time this winter. I think we watched a female cardinal last week for hours, peering out at her every time we passed a window. Her mate wasn’t with her, but she stayed close to the feeders for a long time. It’s nice to see the cardinals back.