Bitter, bitter cold. The HIGH temperature yesterday was 1. About 8:00 this morning, the thermometer in my car read -18. And that was after the sun had been up for a while. It hurts to do anything outside when it’s that cold, and I’m pretty sure that I would rather die than go to the outhouse right now.
There’s really no difference to the feel of the air whether it’s twenty below or thirty below. Both temperatures are equally hellish. It’s not like when the temperature goes from thirty to forty above. Forty degrees is a really warm day up here this time of year. I would have my windows open, there’d be people walking around in t-shirts. But trust me, when its more than ten degrees below zero, it is all terrible.
I’m chicken sitting, otherwise I wouldn’t go anywhere on a day like today. The car gets started at least thirty minutes before I leave to let the engine and parts get warmed up as well as the heater. She starts fine, but there are always
horrible sounds when it’s this cold out. The Jeep doesn’t want to go anywhere either and it makes its protestations known. Too bad, I got chickens to take care of.
So much time and energy are devoted to dealing with the cold when it is like this. Two nights ago, it was well below zero, and when I went to put the chickens away for the night, I noticed that there was no light coming from the coop. I checked inside, and the heating lamp was not on. It was a frantic scramble to check the extension cords and make sure they were plugged in. Hands freeze and become useless very quickly when they have to be shoved into the snow searching for a little piece of wire. And I have to be careful opening the door to go in. The tiny bit of moisture on my hands from the snow freezes to the doorknob, and I have to exert a little extra effort to “let go” of the knob.
Once inside, my face and hands start stinging. I was outside for maybe five minutes. I check all the places where I think light bulbs could be: basement, garage, linen closet. Finally in a back corner of the basement, I find the light bulbs. I love compact fluorescent bulbs to save money, but in this case they’re useless. I need a good old fashioned incandescent, one that sucks up the juice and spits out a ton of heat. I don’t know enough about chickens to know how well they’d survive a winter up here with no shelter, but I do know that I don’t want to report a dead chicken to Amy. Even if it would be a delicious tragedy.
Another option if I can’t get the lamp working is to bring them into the garage. It’s warmer and sheltered, but then I would have to clean up all that chicken crap in the morning. Plus, they probably wouldn’t want to leave the garage, meaning that I would have to catch each one and carry it outside. If you’ve never hung out with any chickens, they’re kind of dumb.
Luckily, it was just a burned out bulb, and I found one halogen light that seemed to throw some heat. The next morning, the chickens were all still alive, so the bulb must have at least helped. After checking the coop for eggs and finding two frozen ones, I guess that chickens can survive pretty cold temperatures.