Usually when I run out to get the mail in the winter, I either go out without a coat or maybe I grab a hoodie.  The mailbox is about 75′ from the door, but the road where it is located is like a freeway where the wind races up the hill.  Today, I dug out a parka, hat, and gloves.  It has actually warmed up to a blistering 16 degrees right now, after being in single digits all morning, and still my toes are frozen after that brief excursion outside.

This is the part of winter I do not like.  The snow can be an inconvenience, but generally it’s cleaned up in a day and the roads will clear off – often in time for the next storm – but the spells of nasty cold with a relentless wind get old really fast.  Christmas is over.  We no longer need snow or cold.  I say bring on spring and mud!

With this kind of cold we didn’t even open the chickens’ hatch today.  I should say hatches, plural, because we are currently housing the evil Roo and one of the puffheads in the small coop.  Why is he there?  Last week I was checking on the chickens and while changing out the water I saw HIM pecking the black hen’s head – right on the bald spot he has managed to pluck there.  She squawked and I saw red, and not just the blood that appeared on her head.  I looked around for something with which to whack him, but nothing was handy, so I settled for reading him the riot act and threatening his life.  Then he did it again!!!   That did it.  I went inside and returned shortly, this time dressed for the cold instead of coatless, and armed with a long net.  I coaxed him inside and shut the hatch so he was trapped, along with a few hens.  I netted him in short order – and he is a BIG BOY, indeed!  He was really too big for the net, but I grabbed him on both sides and with the handle of the net dragging behind in the snow I made my way to the little coop and tossed him in.  I told him off, too, believe you me (as the nuns used to say) and locked him in.  Since it’s winter and my goal is not to freeze him or make him miserable – though it seems he kind of deserves that approach – I also netted one of the two puffheads  (white headed black Polish bantys) and tossed her in to keep him company.  We are hoping to get some fertile eggs from these two before Evil Roo moves on to a new home.  Or the stew pot.

Evil Roo is HUGE, for a banty.  I guess we should have kept the Mille Fleur that was such a lousy crower.  At least he was small and only obnoxious to this now-named Evil Roo.  E.R. had a great crow, and was particularly pretty, so he won the competition.  Hindsight, as they say…

Anyway, the coops remain closed on a day like today, and I must go and check for eggs every couple of hours.  Scott goes out first thing, and I’ve been out twice so far.  I got one good egg so far, and found one frozen one buried in the shavings and straw in the small coop.  Hopefully the puffhead will start laying in the nestbox there, so it doesn’t become an Easter egg hunt every day.

On the bird front, Tracker the Timneh grey went home on Sunday, and it was quite a surprise to find that Ziggy had hatched another lone chick on the same day.  I didn’t expect it for another week, but apparently it must have been the first-laid egg rather than the last.  He will stay with Mom and Dad for 10 to 14 days, providing all goes well, and then the handfeeding begins.  In the meantime, though, I have more time than I’ve had in a few months.  Monday, of course, it took half the day to clean, clean, clean.  I cleaned the kitchen to within an inch of its life.  The wall, behind where Tracker’s cage was, needed a major cleaning from the bits of food that had gotten flung upon it!  As did the nearby cabinets.  I also cleaned every inch of counter-top, moving everything and then putting it all back.  Of course his cage also got a total cleaning so it’s ready for the next, future occupant.  It was nice to get everything spotless and know it will stay that way for a bit.

So for a few weeks I have a bit of a lull in the action, at least when it comes to the birds.  I am relocating my craftroom, though, because our son has moved back in and I want to clear the space for him.  My craft area is now going to be where part of Scott’s office space used to be, so that required him to move his stuff.  In a relatively small area, and especially to people that are packrats, moving one thing generally affects several areas!  Much as I resist change by nature, it is often good and means some clutter will get the attention it needs.

So there is plenty to do, but I’m just not feeling it today.  I see the temperature outside is back down to 12, so the heatwave we had earlier is over.  I will keep the woodstove humping, as Scott would say, and read for a bit.  A nice way to spend the day, at least until I have to go outside again.  Stay warm, everyone!  Spring is coming!