,A dose of winter in north Texas

We got hit this week with our first sleet; it came through on Tuesday evening I think.  It didn’t slow down traffic and had stopped by late evening, but the ice in the yard hung around for a day as the temps just stayed bitterly cold with a more bitter wind blowing.  The alpacas didn’t seem too bothered; they usually hang out in the barn to stay out of the wind and munch on hay.  It does freeze their water buckets though and by next morning I was chopping out ice so they could get to unfrozen water to drink.

The chickens maintained nicely; They went into their coops when the winds and cold got too much for them and so I just closed them in and kept them closed in  until the next day when it warmed just a little and the winds were not as strong.  I still had a few eggs to gather.  They stayed comfortable huddled down in the litter and nest boxes. 

They do like their nest boxes.  I went cheap-o and just got dishpans at the Dollar Tree store where everything really is $1.  My hubbie made a framework out of scrap plywood so the pan will drop down and catch by the lip on the framework; he mounted the frame onto an interior stud for stability about 18″ above the floor.  I put 2 in each coop, but they seem to like them so much I think I will add a couple more underneath each set in place.

Now this weekend is supposed to be in high 70’s but then drop again to the 40’s by Tuesday-Weds with a possible wintry mix of rain/sleet.  What I like about Texas is we can get a taste of winter  but it doesn’t hang around long. We are from Kansas (Wichita, Salina, Manhattan, Wamego) and I just really got tired of the winters.  I love north Texas weather, all seasons. 

On the really cold days I give the alpacas a little extra feed to help give them energy to stay warm and keep the hay troughs filled.  The chickens never run out of feed or water; I keep them filled.  They like to sip out of the alpaca water buckets.  I have 5 gal. Tractor Supply buckets I got on sale, and I put an old tire around each so they can’t tip over.  In the winter I like to put 2 tires around each and pack with hay for some insulation to slow the water from any freezing.  The chickens hop on the tire and sip away.  I don’t have to worry really about them running out of water since this provides a backup source to their coop waterers.  I try to get the chicken waterers situated in the sun outside during the day; they seem to drink more plus it’s warm for them.

They have been fantastic egg layers.  I am currently overrun with eggs; I need to hang out my egg selling shingle; we will sell at the Farmers Market and that requires a permit I must get at the city offices first. The Market is not currently active; it will pick up again in the spring when the farmer’s are bringing their veggies and food stuffs to sell.  In the meantime we have lots of eggs to eat and I will give some away to neighbors, as well as put a for sale ad in the paper.

I am busy making some Christmas gifts; a little something extra for the girls in the family; too expensive in the store.  I am making hanging kitchen towels; easy and I just love mine; I use them constantly myself.  I have the pattern to sew up the top and cut a kitchen towel in half and stitch together; add some bias tape ties and you’re done.  I may sell these at the market if I can get an extra stash sewn up. 

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Enjoy your family this season  and remember,  kids don’t remember the gifts they got as kids when they are adults, but they do remember the memories made.  Make some memories with your family.  Special meals, special events (go bowling together, volunteer to help a needy family, make ornaments or cookies together, serve at a community Christmas meal).  And as my grandmother would say, count your blessings.

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