Thursday, March 5, 2015

A real taste of spring, preparing for melt.

Spring has shown its first signs as far as we're concerned, believe it or not. How do I know? Dorado is drinking from a water bottle that was out overnight. Not all of the water bottles stayed liquid over night last night, but most of them did, and had been liquid all day. Yesterday hit almost 40° F, and it stayed just below 30 last night. Of course today it's dropping all day, and it's going to be below 0° F overnight so we won't do the water outside thing again, but it's still nice!

Of course, that doesn't mean that the snow is gone yet, or that it will be any time soon. we're still well above dog depth in the non drifted snow, which means he's still nearly killing me barreling around in the paths and nearly or even successfully knocking me down when I'm not paying enough attention. He's very high energy right now, and his discipline to commands isn't good right now due to not getting enough exercise. Between my exhaustion, and his drive he hasn't been getting exercise which is always difficult for a high energy dog like him. I am very much looking forward to the ground being close enough that he can run around so I can just toss balls and frisbees for him. I know he's going to enjoy it. In the must keep the animals alive focus during the winter I've definitely not been thinking enough about the dog, so we're going to have to make that up to him in the Spring.

One of the things I did yesterday in a few shifts was extra driveway clearing beyond the normal driveway width. The driveway has been just barely wide enough for the car for most of the winter which was concerning in case of our so far yearly chimney fire the fire department wouldn't be able to make it up. Side note, we've been keeping up with cleaning the chimney monthly so I'm actually less worried about a chimney fire this year now that I know how to properly maintain our chimney.
Back to the driveway though, as you may be able to tell, it's now pushed back all the way to the drainage ditch and a little into it on the up hill side. On the down hill side I haven't fully cleared down to the slope because I wasn't entirely with it yesterday, and didn't want to risk pitching the snowblower off the side of the drop off. At this point though instead of being wide enough to drive down, the driveway is now wide enough to turn a Honda Fit around in without touching snow if I needed to which is a significant difference. My basic hope with this work is to reduce the water damage to the driveway come spring, and mud season. I know we're expecting some major melt this weekend with potentially 50° F weather before it freezes solid again. That kind of rapid melt can do real damage to the already rutted driveway, thus trying to push the melt away from running down the convenient paths, and having it go where we want instead.
Speaking of melting, the chickens run is going to be such a horrific mess when melt comes. The problem with having a run without top cover from snow coming in is that the snow, well, comes in. I've tried to keep the snow shoveled out, but there's only so much I've been able to do as the snow piled up. Fortunately the chickens have been comfortable wandering around on the snow pack, and that's fine. The problem will be as it melts there's going to be about 4" of packed ice that I haven't been able to clear off that melts, turns the whole mess to mud/poop/etc slurry. As soon as that dries we're going to have to lime the run to sweeten it pronto. I know the chickens also are going to want some serious dust bathing some time soon. I think that making a new coop is going to be a priority early in the spring so I can transition them over to the new coop, and engage in major cleaning of the current coop.

As Spring arrives in full, the rabbits are going to be in more of the spotlight again which will be nice. I'm going to be doing first breedings for the season shortly. We waited on first breedings to make sure that it was A: not going to be risky levels of cold, B: not conflicting with the Lady of the House selling at a convention, and C: light enough dawn and dusk that I'm not worried about dropping a rabbit in the dark while moving them between hutches for breeding. I'm really hoping we have better breeding luck this year than last. I'm probably going to be trying out the Apple Cider Vinegar trick that is spoken of a lot around rabbit communities. Stay tuned, baby bunnies in probably a month!

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