There are a few things that I have discovered about buying a home at the onset of winter. One is that, when it's a home of this age, you can't have any idea how little insulation is in the house until that first zero degree night hits and the furnace won't turn off and that's with the woodstove roaring. We are also outdoors people, and we bought this house when we were going to have a difficult and cold winter. Not much outdoors time going on 'round here. I've been enjoying the new house and the time indoors has motivated me to do a few things. I sanded down the butcher block countertop next to the sink because it was black with water and (gulp!) possibly mold. No, gross, can't have it. So, that was a bit labor intensive, but the end result is much better and I don't feel like I need to bleach it now.
We also were not aware that we had some other little critters occupying our home that weren't just our boys. One morning, I came around the corner to find two rats in my steel cut oats. WHA!!!??? So, after freaking out because they are one of my worst fears, I threw away a big bag of oats. I think I may have been tortured with rats in another lifetime or something. So, after losing my mind, I called the exterminator and he came and spent an hour and a half with me going over everything in the house that could be either an access point or where they might be nesting. And, his advice was to use bait to get rid of them because we found that there were more then we thought originally. I hated to do that because I know it's not the most humane way to get rid of them, but we tried the electronic shock traps and they weren't working. We caught some mice in them, but no rats. They are actually quite smart and figured that out pretty quickly that they didn't want anything to do with that nonsense. So, I baited the house very well and we also put some in the barn away from the chickens because we had many more out there, and the exterminator explained that was where our issue was starting. They were running out of territory out there and making their way into the house because of it. After a week, we are hearing no noise in the walls anymore, and the kitchen has no signs of them now. I have continue to clean my kitchen with a bleach solution thoroughly in an attempt to rid the place of any germs left by those nasty stow aways. Mission accomplished...at least for the time being! Once the weather is warm enough to set the mortar, we'll be plugging as many of the ways into the basement they have managed to find, and that will be a big step in not having this repeated next year.
My roo, Snowball (or Snowy as we call him) is also having issues with the new, cold coop. He has a tall comb and long waddles and they are very subject to frost bite. The girls all have smaller combs and waddles and are not suffering the same issues he is. I tried to catch him to put some Vaseline on them, but he's not too keen on that idea at all. Not. at. all. We put a heat lamp in the coop, but it's not really working well because the coop is quite large and it's not much help. We did get a heater for their waterer also, which has been working great. That's a big relief because I was needing to change the water a couple times a day before and if it froze and I was not home, they were very thirsty when I did manage to bring in a thawed bucket.
I'm ready for the spring to arrive this year in a way I've never been before. I actually enjoy the rest and creative time of winter. This year, because we moved into our home at the onset of winter, we didn't have a chance to enjoy the outside areas. I'm very much looking forward to building the gardens, working in the barn, hiking on the trails adjacent to our home, raising new chicks, and all the fun of spring time. It's been a great time to get inside projects done, I also painted the living room walls from a dark sage to a nice cream color and it has brightened the space enormously. It was dark and depressing before, and now feels bigger and more airy. Loving it! But, I'm definitely ready to flap my wings outside in the warm breeze now...just a few more months to go...I can make it...I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...
Hope you don't have the winter blues...if you're feeling them, order the spring seeds! I placed my order yesterday from High Mowing and it's got me looking forward to that first turn of the soil. Enjoy the period of rest and create something. I'm starting to think about curtains for the house and dusting off the old sewing machine.
Enjoying my visions of spring, ~Peacemom