Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snow in Purgatory

To coin a phrase from someone near and dear to me..."I don't know if hell has frozen over or not, but there's snow in Purgatory".

First, a little about Purgatory.

When we first moved here in early May, it was during tick season. There are lots of ticks in the country, and lots of ticks in Lunenburg County, and lots of ticks where there are deer. Combine all three conditions, and you have our property. Ticks may not be a big deal for country folk. But let me tell you, they were a HUGE deal to us. We had never been exposed to ticks before. They are nasty little spidery looking things that attach themselves to you and suck your blood. If you don't pull them off, they stay on you for days while they fill up with blood, then they drop off to reproduce. Sounds nice, eh? Well, ticks aren't that big a deal for humans because we can see them, and pull them off (although I must say that I freaked whenever I found one on me...I am very very scared of spiders and these guys look a little spidery). But they are a big deal when you have 3 dogs that like to be outside.

Anyway, I'm a little off track here. Back to Purgatory. So....we had just moved here and were a little freaked about going outside so we spent a lot of time in our screened in porch. One evening John said to me "It's like being in Purgatory. We're not inside, and we're not outside, we're just in limbo." Well, to make a long story short, the name stuck. Our screened in porch is called "Purgatory".

And this morning there was a foot of snow in Purgatory. We are officially snowed in. Thankfully, we went to the grocery store last night (along with every other living being on the South Shore, I think) and stocked up on supplies. Unfortunately, we didn't arrive home until after dark.

This was bad news for the guineau hens. Guineas roost in trees after the sun goes down. Once they go up into the trees, our guineas won't come down. Food will not entice them down. Doing my guinea call won't get them down. Nothing will move those hens from the trees until dawn comes.

That's okay when it's nice out. But last night when they stayed in the tree, they stayed outside for a snowstorm. We had between 12 and 18 inches of snow (the drifts are past the tops of my thighs). As I lay in bed and listened to the wind howl (that means it was very, very windy. We have a concrete house and you usually can't hear anything outside unless the windows are open) I was worrying about my guineas.

I got up early, dug out Purgatory, let the dogs out, let the dogs in...then went down to see how the hens fared. They were all huddled under a little tree halfway up the hill from their coop. They wouldn't follow me down to the coop, even when I shook their feed jar and called. I debated about what in the world to do. I didn't think I'd be able to catch them...they usually scoot out of range when you get close to them. But I guess a night in the cold slows them down some. I grabbed them and carried them to the coop one by one. This wasn't completely easy to do because they flapped their wings like crazy when I picked them up. But I was thankful they didn't try to scratch or peck me. I managed to get 4 of them into the coop when the other 3 decided to take flight. They flew down towards the coop, but instead of going in the coop they flew up into a tree again.

That was 6 hours ago and the 3 hens still haven't come down from the tree. Fingers crossed they decide to come down when I go to feed them this afternoon, or they'll spend a colder night outside tonight (only 3 to huddle together instead of 7)

Ahh, life on the farm. Never a dull moment for 2 city folk.

Oh, and did I mention that John decided we should take a walk to get the paper? We took 2 of the dogs and waded through shin/knee high snow for 1/2 mile to find no paper and no plowed road. Another 1/2 mile back (uphill on the way back). I know I've had my exercise for the day. Next time John wants to get the paper after a snowstorm, I think I'll tell him to go sit in Purgatory for a while!
Chicken coop, June 1949


Jennifer said...

Oh, my goodness!
Stay warm, safe, and dry.
I'll be hoping the best for your hens.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should put a window in? Do they have their mirror in there? I don't recall seeing it.

Angelique said...

the poor hens. You seem to be adjusting pretty good considering. I don't know if I could handle it. This is my first year I will "have" to drive in the snow here in Colorado, and I have been a mess!! I got in a minor accident the first day.