The chickens haven't been out of their pen for 4 days and today (number 5) was reason for celebration. The thermometer rose above 32 degrees.
Hens CAN cuss, and these have gotten quite good at it. For 4 days we have cared for them - made sure their water was liquid, kept the heat lamp on in the coop, carried them extra table scraps and kept them as comfortable as Mother Nature would allow under extreme conditions. But we have NOT let them roam free, as is their custom every afternoon, and they have NOT been happy birds.
But I must say this in their behalf - they have continued to lay. I am sure there is a social statement to be found in this analogy. I am profoundly proud of their stamina in the face of adversity.
Today their suffering and continuing hard labor was rewarded and they were finally allowed to roam in the garden again - the wet, muddy, formerly ice-covered garden. They were frustrated in their attempts at dust-bathing and their feet quickly became mud-caked, but you could tell they were extremely happy at their re-discovered freedom.
The bees had been a worry - I didn't know what to expect under the conditions of such sustained cold. But since these bees were a captured wild swarm, I figured they could probably withstand whatever Mother Nature hurled at them. We were right. Today they were basking in the warmth on their front porch - the old shipping blanket we threw over the hive probably helped keep them warm.
Since we don't blanket horses unless the conditions are really extreme, they grow extra fur on their own. Today they were enjoying the sun, like the rest of us. You can see here that PJ isn't lacking for padding.
I have friends that were without water and/or heat for nearly the entire week and I prayed for them daily, knowing that they were suffering inconveniences rather than life threatening conditions. There are others in this world much worse off, though, who have no light at the end of the tunnel to sustain them - like many souls in Haiti. More on this later....
If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?