Thursday, January 24, 2013

Freeze and thaw

This winter our weather has been unusual, as I have previously posted. A couple weeks ago we hit 55-60 degrees. I have spent some of my time feeling frustrated, as we have yet to have more than an inch or two of snow.
The weekend we had such mild temperatures I decided Travis, Arliss, and I would clean out the coop completely and let the ducks and geese take advantage of the grass that was available.

The geese and ducks found puddles and splashed and played. Eating, flapping and stretching their wings while the boys and I hauled straw and hay chaff from the barn floor to the coop. Since we knew the cold would eventually return we took bales of straw and put them up against the coop for extra insulation.

The kiddie pool we had used to water the ducks and geese was emptied, cleaned and filled for the birds to finally clean and preen themselves. I also was able to clean and refill their water bucket in their pen. It is made of a more durable plastic/rubber that can withstand the expansion that comes with ice.
Finally, when the work was finished the birds went back into their coop; clean, well-fed, and ready for the next wave of cold weather. Which, being in Chicago, came that very night.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Time to trim

I have posted in the past that the fruit trees here have become unruly over the years. Winter of 2010 I pruned the Wolf River apple tree that was special to my grandfather. I also did a little pruning on the other apple trees and the pear tree. A lot has been on my plate since then and trimming/pruning hasn't been one of them.
This week Travis and Arliss helped me with the pruning and we were able to accomplish a lot among the various trees.
Travis took down the dead part of a tree that had been grafted almost 30 years ago. The grafted section is growing quite nicely. We also cut off many of the sucker branches that had grown on the pear tree and the apple trees. The trees look bare compared to before but I know they will be the better for it when it comes time for the growing season in the spring.

Sending love and wishes for sweet apples this summer from the farm.