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rural report

February 10, 2012

We’re just past the halfway point in winter, and I realize that I haven’t shared

much news about the farm this season.  This is the part of the year when Jude 

and I stroll through seed catalogues and plan our spring offensive, so not much

is actually happening.


That’s why I’ve been able to report on other events around the island, tell you

about our snowshoeing adventure, recast The Wizard of Oz, and give you the

back story on L. Frank Baum.


So you’ve probably been wondering “but what about the chickens?”  I’m jolly

to report that the four are doing well and are still laying.  There has been some

shaking up of the pecking order, judging by the order they’re in on the roost

when I tell them goodnight and thanks for the eggs.


It used to be, from left to right: Juveli, Sally, Brenda and Hudi.  Now, more often

than not, it’s Juveli, Sally, Hudi and Brenda.  I believe this is quite the social ad-

vancement for Hudi, since Brenda rules the roost and Sally is her wing man, so

to speak.  Plus, Sally has eyes on the throne.


We plan to add four to twelve hens in the spring, possibly building another coop

at the opposite corner of the garden.  Until then, they have plenty of elbow room,

assuming they have elbows.  Here they are trying to figure out the ice cube in

their water bowl during a recent cold snap:



We had six really cold nights in mid January, the coldest hit -12 C. (10 F.).  Our

main waterline froze, and you really can’t blame it.  It’s 90 percent above ground.

We have a backup system that involves running a garden hose from a faucet on

one of the microhydro pipes to the house.


During the snap, I drew a hot bath and settled into it to listen to a CD recorded

by my shaman friend Ducks.  I was asea with her haunting songs when I turned

the tap on for more hot water.  Nothing.  I had forgotten to leave a drip on.  The

hose froze in 30 minutes or less.


I duly reported this to Ducks.  She reminded me that the trickster’s main mes-

sage is “wake up!”  He really got me on that one.


We’ve had a lot of rain: 386 mm (15 inches) last month.  In January ’11, we had

300 mm (12 inches); in ’10, 464 mm (18 inches).  January is a good month to

have in your rear view mirror.


We get clobbered with precipitation to start every year.  It’s just a question of

the proportion of rain to snow.  This is our seventh winter here.  I’ve learned

to make no predictions as to how the rest of this stand-offish season will play

out.  But, as always, I hope for more rain than snow.


Last week, on the heels of the cold snap, we had a sunny morning with lots of

frost.  Please enjoy it.



  1. February 10, 2012 9:34 am

    Perdy! Winter in BC shouldn’t really count as winter, though … it’s more like spring, in Saskatchewan. Not that it’s a contest. Just sayin’ … you two live in the Canadian tropics. We’ve had your weather here for most of this winter, I’m happy to report.

    • February 11, 2012 11:21 am

      I’m reminded of our tropical status every time I check the temperatures across the nation on The Weather Network. When we hit that cold snap, I said to myself “What would Kate do?”, and stayed inside — until I had to repalce the frozen garden hose. I’m glad you folks are getting a break this year. Hang in there.

  2. Charlotte Wales permalink
    February 10, 2012 11:31 am

    Lovely pics, Allen – but like you, I long for SPRING!!

    • February 11, 2012 11:22 am

      Thanks, Charlotte. When do you start planting?

  3. Gordon permalink
    February 10, 2012 2:45 pm

    I wonder if the girls are involved in sort of a chicken primary season. Down here in the chicken yard it used to be, from left to right, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul (who can roost at either end). Romney was ruling the roost but then Gingrich made some feathers fly down in the Southern part of the yard, then it was Romney again and then darned if Santorum, who has his eyes on the throne, didn’t move up to the front position. Watch out for Paul in the Maine part of the yard this weekend. Just please don’t tell me somebody is going to add four to twelve new birds this Spring.

    • February 11, 2012 11:26 am

      Well said, Gordie. And my compliments for avoiding an easy joke like “such a fowl bunch”, which I simply couldn’t.

  4. Judy Bay permalink
    February 10, 2012 7:33 pm

    Thanksalot, man! However, since you invented the nickname, I guess you’re entitled. Love to ya – Hudi

    • February 11, 2012 11:34 am

      Dear other readers, I hasten to point out that Hudi the chicken in no way parallels the personality of Hudi my friend. Human Hudi retains my utmost respect for the courage she showed in battling scoliosis and significant other challenges throughout her life. Chicken Hudi merely moved one space to her right.

  5. Diane permalink
    February 11, 2012 4:13 am

    My goodness gracious (sorry to sound like Shirley Temple but I have no words) Tho e are beautiful pictures!

    • February 11, 2012 11:35 am

      Thank you, Diane, but please watch the profanity. How is your winter going?

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