We skipped autumn and careened directly into winter, starting with a deep freeze in October followed by another in early November. Now that it is actually winter, we are freezing again, down to 22ºf (-5ºc) again last night. This is supposed to be a mild climate. In previous years, temperatures might dip down to 26ºf for a night or two, once a year. This year, we have gone into the lower twenties, three times already, for four or five nights in a row. And yet, it was one of the warmest Decembers recorded. We just set a new record for high pressure. Extremes are now the norm.
This is the third time the turtle tank has frozen. I always glance in there, anyway, and today I was shocked to see someone looking back at me!
It is hard to keep duck water clean, and valved waterers clog easily (and then run) when ducks load them up with rocks and gravel, not to mention mud. I find it is easier to leave a hose on trickle and the water self-cleans. Not the most efficient system, but it also keeps the system from freezing, down to about 20ºf. Below that and the ducks have to worry a little drinking hole open. I have seen them take turns keeping it open. The big duck pool also has a hose dripping into it, and in that duck pool photo, Norman is standing at the overflow.
The cats love their barn and heated kennel pads. Hawk is always under foot, but Grover is getting more friendly, now. He has initiated a Good Morning Nose-Bump with me. He is incredibly shy.
I take warm water out to the dove cage, fill a couple bowls (their waterer is frozen out of commission), dump the shallow purple bath and fill it. I’ve seen a half dozen of them in there at once, but not when I have my camera out. You can see the previous days’ frozen water outside the cage. Stashing the frozen bits where they don’t impeded access, create a hazard for duck feet, and melt quickly takes experience.
I have a hen and dove sharing an infirmary cage, and today, Kitty Hawk leapt over my shoulder to gain access while I was cleaning their water. He has been especially crazy lately. He likes me to take him for a little walk, and I have to hold his tail like a leash.
It wasn’t easy to get Dobby to the front yard today. Look at that frost! It is like snow! Yesterday’s corn cob is frosty, too.
Dobby is eager to return to the back yard. I wonder why.
Wiley Wabbit has declined to attend the Garden Party this afternoon.
Dobby has been spending a lot of time in his fancy hot tub. I have a hot water tap and hose right next to it.
Bonnie Bunny prefers cold weather to wet weather and is taking advantage of the situation.
Meanwhile, the Large Rodent is steaming.
All of the pets are wary of Dobby.
When temperatures drop to the low 20’s, Dobby gets to sleep indoors. He used to hate it, but this is his 5th winter and he is more experienced. I truly think he understands about the seasons, and knows his frozen world is transitory.
It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but his area gets pretty grubby when we can’t get in there to mop and wash the bedding every night. Corn on the cob makes a sticky mess, and the kernels stick to your feet and end up all over the house.
The guinea pigs don’t know winter. They do know vegetables.
Dobby used to wander in and out all night when I tried to keep him in. He would drag out a blanket and the door would stand open, letting Alaska inside to chill the birds. I put a heater in there, now, and he also doesn’t wander out so often.
I cover the birdcages with an insulated curtain. Dobby thinks the curtain is a chew toy, just like the cage ruffles he has taste tested.
Most of the time, I remember to bring in the hummingbird feeders. Am I the only one who wakes up at 4am, remembers the hummingbirds, and sneaks outside in my pajamas to bring in the feeders to thaw? And then wakes up again at 7am to take them back out?
Go for it, Dobby! It’s going to be a long, messy night!