A massive winter storm has blown in and is pummeling us with ice. This storm is on the anniversity of last year's tragic ice storm that destroyed NW Arkansas. We were out of power for around 13 days - some in the more remote area were out for a month.
So we're a lot more prepared this year. Generator, wood stashed away, pantry stocked, freezer (which we can now keep going) full of meat and stored veggies. We'll see how we fare.
This is the Interstate (I-540) overpass that borders our land. Bullard Creek bisects our land, and flows under it. All of our property is on this side of the bridge in the photo, and the photo is taken on the top bench of our pastureland. Our house is directly across the holler from where I'm standing on the other side of the creek. It's rough land for sure. If you click and enlarge the picture, to the left of the fallen locust tree in the middle of the pic, you can see my truck and an orange gooseneck trailer. The plan is to use the trailer to build a bridge over the creek. We'll cut the axles and hitch off, and set it over a deep, armored part of the creek. As flashy as the creek is, any type of culvert bridge will blow out of the streambed.Here is a frozen Bullard Creek. At the top of the pic, you can see where we're planning on putting the bridge in. The problem is that the only place that we can build it on is on state land. It's a long story that involves a hateful old hermit who's way beyond kooky.
So a permitting officer from the State Hwy Dept is coming out to inspect the site. The Hwy Dept has been out once already, and they've been very accommodating and professional. The whole process has been incredibly smooth, and we're hoping that it'll stay that way until the end. We'll know by tomorrow afternoon.
There's a farmer over in Hogeye (can't get a more Arkansasan town name than that!) who's got an awesome old oak board barn that's got a stash of very old hay in it. The hay is over 6 years old, and it's a testament to the quality of both the hay and the barn that it is such good condition. The bales are square bales, and are stacked in the hay loft. There's no mold on any of them.
The hay isn't worth a darn for feed, and it' just been occupying space. So in a win win type situation, I go and pick up a dozen or so bales every so often - getting free beding and ground cover for covering/reseeding pasture bare spots while the farmer gets his barn cleaned out.
Now, the hay is going towards bedding for the birds in the greenhouse. The chickens will sniff..err scratch out every bit of grass or weed seed in the hay and the hay will give the carbonaceous material needed for composting the chicken poop.
Here you can see little Simmey in the greenhouse with his stuffed bear (sorry about the pic quality) playing with the chickens and turkeys. The squares are chunks of hay bales, the hens will break them apart for me on thier own. Saves labor and keeps them busy - idle beaks are the devil's tools in a plastic covered green house!
I caught this little Junco in my shop scrounging odd bits of corn. It was super light & tiny. He was easy to catch him, because he was stuck trying to fly out a window. I actually caught three more throughout the day.
So the temperatures have plunged here in NW Arkansas, going subzero - approaching -20F if you consider the windchill. Yeah, that's way below the normal.
So, this has been a great incentive to move the chickens off of pasture. We decided to move them into the greenhouse we built the past summer. The greenhouse is a lean-to built on a slope. My plan is to let the chicken poop and hay compost down to great veggie beds for next winter, and let the chickens level things out.
Come on darlin, moving time
The pasture needs the break, with the excessive snow events, the ground has been rotating between either soggily soupy or frozen into a solid brick. The pasture needs the rest too, b/c the hens are starting to overgraze the fescue, which has been knocked back already due to the harsh winter.
So I was fixing things up, getting ready for the ladies when Tom turkey made a visit. Followed by one of his lady hens. Simeon was "helping" me in the green house and he got a big kick out of the turkeys.
Sizing up the opposition - on both sides
So right now I've got everybody in the greenhouse. I'll let the turkeys and ducks out once the weather snaps this weekend. I'll keep the hens cooped up until the spring though.