When Bookman and I crawled out of bed at 7 this fine Sunday morning the temperature outside was -22F/-30 C and the windchill made it feel like -35F/-37C. After the 6 inch/15 cm snowfall from Friday into Saturday morning on top of all the snow we already had, the arctic chill moved in along with the wind. Thank goodness for my wonderful neighbor with the snow blower who cleared the snow from my sidewalk so all I had to do was the porch and front walk, the deck at the back of the house, the path to the chicken coop, the coop roof, and a path to the bins and around them.

Unfortunately, in spite of the heat in the coop and all the other winterizing we have done, the Dashwoods’ combs and wattles got a bit of frostbite. Except for Marianne, her comb and wattle is so tiny she was fine. However, when we put vaseline on the other three she got some too because we didn’t want her to be odd bird out and get picked on for being different or feel like she could pick on the others for being different. She was not happy about being included in the fun, let me tell you. And she is really pissed off about the weather too. She’s been in a foul mood (pardon the pun!) all day. Every time Bookman or I go out to check on them, she will see if there is any food and if there isn’t she will turn her back and tuck herself under the ladder to the coop and completely ignore everyone.

Mrs. Dashwood is trying to carry on as usual. Elinor is trying to keep a stiff upper beak even though things are not as pleasant as she would like them to be. As for Margaret, she stands in the middle of the coop one foot tucked up, feathers fluffed out so she looks twice her size and making her usual perpetually worried noises.

We keep trying to get them to roost so they will be warmer and even put the lower roosting bar back in the coop. But with no other chickens to show them what to do, they will have to figure it out themselves and so far none of them have. If it weren’t so cold we’d open the cleaning door on the side of the coop and set them on the roost, but that would let out all the warmth. So we added extra pine shavings on the coop floor and we’ll hope that one of them has a lightbulb moment.

The temperatures will start to moderate tomorrow and by Solstice on Wednesday we will have a high temperature close to freezing, maybe even a little above. Practically balmy!

The garden is under quite a lot of snow and it is the coldest it has been here in three years. That is really saying something since when I first moved to the Twin Cities temperatures like this were an expected part of winter. Granted, they didn’t come around until the end of January and early February, but they happened for a week or two every year. We’ve warmed up so much from climate change that such frigid temperatures are no longer the norm.

I hope my grapevine survives! I mulched it with a big pile of leaves and now it is buried under the snow that will also give it some protection. Nothing to be done for it except wait for spring at this point. I might have to repopulate the herb spiral next year too. And whatever manages to survive on the green roof of the coop will find some cousins of the same variety joining them in spring.


Sunny and snow-free in virtual London

Sunny and snow-free in virtual London

It might be snowy and arctic outside but in Zwift London Saturday morning is was sunny and 65F/18C (the daytime house temperature in winter). I rode for 4 hours and 42 minutes (from the time I got on my bike until noon) and managed 87 miles/140 km. Not too shabby!

There were lots of other people logged in and riding too. At one point there were a little over 2,000 people logged in.

I came across some really exciting cycling news not long ago about Jillian Bearden, a transgender cyclist. She is working with USA Cycling to help them make racing and cycling more trans friendly. USA Cycling has decided to adopt the same policy the International Olympic Committee created for trans athletes to ensure a more inclusive cycling and racing community. There is even a Trans National Women’s Cycling Team. Exciting!

With Winter Solstice fast approaching, posting this week might be a bit spotty. I am sure many of you are also very busy at the moment. Don’t forget to breathe and stay warm or cool depending on what hemisphere you live in!