Now the little rivers go
Muffled safely under snow,
And the winding meadow streams
Murmur in their wintry dreams…
Bliss Carman, ‘Poems’
This week has been all about the cold finally making an appearance. And I should add, making a welcome appearance. Whilst the ducks have enjoyed the milder, wet weather, it is time for frosty days, blue skies and the previously squelchy mud making a satisfying crunch as you walk along.
This is one of my favourite times of the year. Jumping in frozen puddles and breathing in through your mouth because breathing through your nose is painful from the cold; like you have an extra strong mint in your nostrils. And seeing your breath as you walk. Puffing up around you like a steam train. It is immensely satisfying. That’ll kill the bugs, you think. It’s like a clean start. A fresh piece of paper. And you come inside, rosy cheeked, laughing, ready to snuggle up, to eat cake and drink hot chocolate in front of the fire.
This week I’ve seen the first snowdrops. I’ve heard, and seen, a green woodpecker. It’s shrill laugh making me jump. As dusk fell a few nights ago, as I was putting the chickens and ducks to bed, I heard the call of a muntjac dear. I’ve also seen the buzzard, the red kite, and many male blackbirds. Squabbling amongst each other for the chickens’ food.
To my delight this week the cream leg bar hens have started laying. Or at least one of them has. They lay blue/green eggs. A beautiful colour. Unlike the rest of my flock, hybrids who lay all year round, these pure breed chickens stop laying when they moult in the autumn and start again as the days get longer. Around about now.
Then last night the snow began to fall. This morning was fun as we laughed at the ducks (there’s a video of them seeing snow for the first time on my Facebook page), tried to encourage the chickens out of their nice, warm coops and pulled the children about on the sledge. One of them still in their dressing gown. Whoops.