I've been kind of quiet here - when that happens, you can pretty much count on it being due to some kind of distraction or other, generating new and improved emergencies for us.
It's an old emergency this time- called "Winter". After living in a fool's paradise for weeks, with balmy 70°F days, and 50° nights, and record high temps last week; November has now started clearing its throat.
We were at 18°F last night. Finding us short on firewood, short on housing for the poultry, and short on personal energy to cope.
Not really looking for sympathy here; all of this is pretty much "life", as usual. No biggie, we'll muddle through. Just explaining the quietness here. I have energy to react- but it's harder to find the energy for initiative.
The reality of water- for poultry, in wintertime- without electric heaters- has arrived overnight. Thirsty birds, water founts that could freeze and burst now (waste of permanent tools we can't afford), and a new chore- making sure the birds have water, morning and night.
We've had more than our share of illness recently, too. Spice has been coping with a recurrence of her "walking pneumonia". And we've all caught a cold that's gone to the sinuses; lots of fun having the little one blow gobs of green and brown gunk... ew.
The decision to put time, money, and sweat into the guinea fowl has been confirmed as the right way to go. In a pretty bad way. The night before I took off for my trip, we found a tick in Smidgen's hair. A deer tick. Embedded, but not engorged.
Right after dropping me at the airport, Spice took the tick to the clinic for testing - and - it came back positive. So Smidgen had to go on heavy antibiotics for Lyme disease. She was infected, had a fever and lethargy for several days.
She's done with it now; and tested clear after the antibiotics. But that was scary.
Lyme has been very uncommon here until recently; now it's exploding.
We've got 20 guineas left. Owls took a few, Bruce took a few. Haven't lost any for weeks now, and Delilah is doing well with them so far. 20 is too few to think they'll really control all the ticks here in Deer Heaven, but it's a good start, and quite likely we'd have more to cope with without them. We've only had to pull 2 ticks total off Delilah so far, as opposed to 20/day for Bruce last summer. Not really comparable, but still.
Busy busy. My chores today- clean out the ash and creosote from the wood stove; it's starting to clog up the combustion. Get some dry wood in. That will be mostly American or rock elm, dried out on the stump; I know where it is.
Oh, yeah, and I was forgetting. There's a deer hanging in the walnut tree out front. Young doe, gift from the hunters we let hunt our farm. Couldn't be more "Little House In The Big Woods". Smidgen looked at it; "Why is that deer in the tree, Daddy?" "It's for us to eat, Smidgen." "Oh, goody! Yum! I love deer!"
:-) Just straight enthusiasm for everything there; I don't think she's actually had venison before. Hadn't really planned on the work of butchering a deer; but can't pass it up, either.
Winter is a reality that you just can't ignore. I kind of prefer my realities that way- it does make your decisions easier.