The ground is almost frozen and the grass is all but eaten or dead. All of the grubs and spiders and crawlers and critters have either died or hibernated or moved into the dark corners of my little house. And now, it is up to our planning and storing to get these animals through the winter with safety, warmth, food, water and happiness. We start counting down the hay bales. Every bale we throw from the loft briefly tightens my chest, not 100% sure how we can get through until the grass grows again in May. I resent this about winter. The responsibility is overwhelming. The animals are more dependent upon us in these six months than they are the other half.
Yesterday morning I came to the coop to find my dear chicken friend, Spanky, cold and dead in a nest box. I knew she was unwell and that winter would be hard on her but I didn't expect the weather to be so hard so soon on the animals. I would have kept her inside Saturday night.
We have done our winter due diligence with water heaters and insulation and plastic on the barn windows and a loft of hay and a half a loft of bedding straw and an old milk bulk tank filled with chicken feed. But dear Lord, the stress of the winter will just rest upon me until April when we begin to see the snow receding and the light returning and the grass growing.