Homestead Critters and the Cold

The winter has been cold thus far and in fact feels like a real winter, the first time in a long while. I’m hoping the bees are good and will survive. I fed them almost daily for two or three weeks in the fall. I also used four straw bales to build a wind break on the north and west side of the hive. They are in a fairly sheltered area with great southern exposure so hopefully they are fine. This is my first year keeping bees so I’m a bit nervous. Going into early fall I did an inspection and the hive looked pretty strong with lots of honey being produced in the second super I put on. Time will tell.

The chickens and guineas seem to be doing very well even with these bitter cold days. I’ve got a daytime 150 watt heat lamp running in the coop and at at night I switch to a red colored 200 watt heat lamp which as I understand it allows them to sleep better than a regular light would. Even with that there was a thin layer of ice on their water this morning which was easily remedied with some hot water from the wood stove. Last night was down to about 7 degrees so I’m not too surprised. Everyone seems healthy and I continue to let them out to free range every day. They don’t seem to behave any differently. I’m not sure what I expected. I suppose I thought they might stay closer to the heat of the coop but so far they’ve been much more interested in getting out. It’s been sunny so that might be a factor. It is supposed to snow a good bit Thursday so it will be interesting to see if that changes their behavior.

Petunia the deer has been showing up 5 or so days a week to eat an apple and a bit of corn. Little Bob, the resident cat, is doing well and seems to stay plenty warm in the solar cat house I built using a straw bale, re-used windows, cardboard and bubble wrap. I supplement the sunlight with a 75 watt light at night.

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