Holiday Treats, Gifts and “Poop” Website Fun

I was looking for the little Snowman Poop poem and found this fantastic website.  It will give you all kinds of ideas for family, friends, and co-worker gifts.  I am looking at the Snowman and Reindeer poop idea for co-workers (for fun), and the “food in a jar” gifts for neighbors, and the Chocolate Kiss trees for my son-in-laws family (we have lots of fun with them), and so many other ideas.  There are printable  pdf files for the poems, recipes, etc.

Take a look and find something quick and easy to gift  this season.

http://christmas.organizedhome.com/gifts-crafts-gift-tags

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On TV: It’s A Green Christmas (with alpacas)

find your local TV station and the date the special will air:

http://itsagreenchristmas.com/6.html

Feels like Kansas

We moved from Kansas in 1982 to warm and wonderful Dallas, TX for 3 reasons:

#1.  go where the jobs are (at that time building was booming here and my husband  just graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Architecture and he found his perfect job here);

#2. go where it was an easy trip by car back for family visits in 8 hours or less;

#3. get to someplace that has warmer winters (those 6′ snow drifts in winter and the long cold winter months October to May was rather tiresome)

But so far this winter, it has reminded me of Kansas winters.  I don’t recall having such weather this early in the winter season here in our area (already it has snowed here and the freezing weather is appearing too soon; Houston got snow for only the 4th time EVER and the earliest snowfall ever on record for them). And it hangs around, drifts off, warms up a few days, then comes right back around to us again: cold, rain, freezing weather.

In past seasons, I have put up Christmas lights outside when it was hot and humid, not at all feeling like it should be Christmas. I do really like it to at least FEEL like Christmas weather out.  But then once Christmas is over I am ready for Spring, which usually doesn’t start appearing until March when the trees bloom and leaf out.

So how are the weather forecaster’s doing with predictions?  Here is a link to one that appears to be accurate for our area so far; we have had lots of rain and then when it gets down to freezing it gets dangerous for us down here.  They don’t stock enough sand or salt for melting freezing rain on the roads so usually you don’t get out on the freezing slick roads just to stay out of the way of the people who think they can get somewhere without sliding and crashing.

The chickens have been chowing down more on their lay crumbles and when it actually warmed up into the 60’s they started laying more eggs; it’s supposed to get down in the 40’s during the day tomorrow so I am sure they will slow down again.

Keep an emergency food and blanket kit in your car at all times.  Be careful out there.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20091015_winteroutlook.html

Freezing in Texas

The weather is staying really cold.  Tonight supposed to be down in the teens. Today it didn’t reach 40.  More rain on the way and then a warm up they say. We have had snow already which is unusual this early.  We usually don’t see it come through until late January, February and one year in March (sleeting as we were shearing the alpacas; they were shivering).

The chicken water is freezing,  so coming up with a plan to have water available; probably do the switcheroo on their water: bring in the frozen container to thaw and replace with a fresh one.  They seem to be warm enough inside their closed up coops at night.  They get “homed” in on a coop (we have 3) and it is hard to get them to go in to a different one at night. One coop has 13 all cozy; another coop has 2 bantams; and another has 3 chickens. I have tried to “re-home” a couple of bantams from the full coop to the less crowded one, but they keep returning to the full one. 

I may move them once again and keep them closed up night and day all together for a week and get them  accustomed to their new home.  That way I would have 4 bantams together.  These are my last 4 Partridge Silkies; the other 6 (5 pullets and the darling rooster)  have been taken by predators.

So, I am off to put out water and close up everybody and throw some extra hay to the alpacas.

Chickens with freezing water

It  is Texas and it is December.  We have now had several nights of weather dipping below freezing.  I usually keep their water in the coop 24 hours to help keep it from freezing.  However, a few nights they have had a slushy layer of ice in the lip of the waterer and so I set them out to let the sun warm and defrost them.  I found a company that sells solar chicken waterers, but I don’t want to pay for one.

 http://www.shopthecoop.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=TC&Category_Code=TC&Store_Code=STC

 I may first try sewing an insulated type of weatherproof black heat absorbing cover ( like a quilt)  to go over the bell of the waterer and see if  that helps (kind of like a water heater blanket).

Other hints I have read is just buy twice as many waterers, so you trade out the frozen one with the fresh one.  Take in the frozen one and have it ready to switch out next visit.  I don’t care to run any cords or electricity to keep water warmed.  The chickens also have the option of hopping up on the 5 gal buckets the alpacas drink out of. Water doesn’t freeze as quickly and the chickens are pros at standing on the bucket edge and dipping in.

Also, to keep the mice from taking up residence in the coops, I hang   the  chicken’s water and also their feeder at “beak level” from different hooks from the ceiling.  It keeps the mice out of both.   We have  A-frame coops with exposed studs inside so I just use a sturdy  nail hammered into an upper ceiling stud, or a heavy-duty  hook, positioned so the hanging water or feed will be out of the way of nests, doors and roosts.  A long HEAVY chain with large links hangs from the nail/hook  and it can be adjusted in height by repositioning the chain up or down on the nail/hook (heavy chain to keep them from swinging easily). Then I have a great way of hanging the water or feeder.  An “S” hook can work, but may get knocked out of the link by a flapping excited bird. I use one of the clips below  to slip through the last link and then hook the handle of the feeder or waterer in the clip. Slip the handle out easily  to refill or move the holder.  If you use the quick-link, don’t close the opening all the way, leave a gap open so you lift the handle  through it.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/hardware/chain-rope-accessories/links/quick-link-3-frasl-16-in–3551026

http://www.tractorsupply.com/hardware/chain-rope-accessories/snaps/9-frasl-16-in-interlocking-spring-snap-9-frasl-16-in-opening-3522027

http://www.tractorsupply.com/hardware/chain-rope-accessories/snaps/3-15-frasl-16-in-double-bolt-snap-3550753

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