Preparing the Peep Show for Winter

Reader Contribution by Jen Ubelaker
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Winter is coming and I got the first hint today. We’ve had a relatively temperate fall up here in the Inland Northwest. Up until today it’s been a bit chilly, but nothing that would qualify as cold. We’ve taken it as a blessing and have been working like crazy to get everything in order as we transition from clotheslines to slow cookers.

The compost we’d been stacking in bins all year has been spread in the empty garden. That was like Christmas for the chickens. Hubby was forking out compost all over the garden plot and telling the girls that “this stuff on the bottom is older than you are.” They didn’t care. Every bit has been thoroughly inspected and kicked around the garden at least twice by now. Hooray for chickens. They are my own personal little veloci-tractors.

It didn’t take too much to winterize their coop. The second coop we built for them is in the end of our insulated shop, so the walls are thick and draft-free, the deep bedding is down and I have an emergency heat light all strung and ready to go. They are still in a bit of shock at the change in light and temperature, tempers are ready to flare in the tighter quarters, but we are making do. “Lady Pecksalot” – one of the Ameracaunas – has taken to sitting on other flock members heads for no apparent reason. If that’s the worst we have to deal with, so be it.

The dog has abandoned summer pursuits as well. His daily chores are done as always, but he’s much more inclined to sneak on the couch and under a blanket than spend an afternoon outside.

Our local weather forecasters warnings have come to pass. Today was quite chilly. I have been trying to rake up leaves for mulch, but I gave up after a few wheelbarrow-loads. Wind and chill and cold fingers made me wish I lived like my dog. Oh well, that’s what tea and seed catalogs are for.

Yup. One eye on the thermometer outside and one eye on the seed catalog. That’s probably one of the best positions to be in. It will be out second year at the Peep Show and we’ve expanded the garden, added berry bushes and raised beds, and we have a lot more accessible space to raise vegetables than we did last year. So we’re looking forward to hearing the wind howl outside while we’re hunkered over the kitchen table with notebooks and seed catalogs. I’ve already ordered some heirloom veggies, cucamelons (which I can’t wait to try) and, as a practical joke on my pepper-growing hubby, some peppers that apparently grow to look like a part of the male anatomy? I laugh now but I’m sure I’ll pay for it later.

Stay warm, stay safe, and “Peeps Out, Muthacluckas”

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