A Warm and Sunny 16 Degrees

After a couple days of blowing snow and sub zero temperatures, a sunny day was a welcome respite. The days are getting longer, too.

We woke up today to a warm and sunny 16 degrees. It was a vast improvement over two days of snow and high winds. I allowed the chickens to leave their coop, but they were dubious about the idea. One brave soul ventured out and then acted quite upset when she landed in the snow. She retreated to the outside roost, which remains above snow level.

The snow around the coop is 14 to 16 inches deep, but the half-inch hardware cloth that lines the lower two feet of the chicken run acted like a snow fence. Inside the run, the snow on one end is only 6 inches deep. Still, that’s waist high on a chicken. I am glad I have not clipped their wings as they have taken to flying about rather than wading through the snow.

I ended up putting a waterer inside the coop and another in the run so they can access it where-ever they want. We checked on them several times during the day and never saw more than five outside at one time.

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Prepper Diary November 5: Snow Signals the Start of Winter

Fall is segueing into winter a few degrees at time. We’ve moved from chilly nights, to frost, to killing frost and now snow.

Woke up yesterday to snow. Somewhat more than a dusting, but not enough to worry about. We’ve had frost and a hard frost, but this was our first snow and the coldest night yet. Proof that it is November, which around here signals the start of winter.

The bedroom was 60 degrees when I woke up, the bathroom was 54. It felt warmer after a shower (the hot water heater is electric). The fire in the basement had burned down to coals, but a few fresh logs caught and the temperature gradually climbed back to 74. For much of the day, two logs generate sufficient heat. When we get into the teens or lower, we’ll need four or more logs at a time to keep warm. We’ve been using the stove in the basement on and off for a week or 10 days. Today was the first time we lit a fire in the fireplace insert upstairs. By the time my wife went to bed, the bedroom was up to 68.

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Prepper Diary and Homestead Update, October 28

The hens are laying and the homestead continues to do well as we enter the colder months, due in part to our work this spring and summer.

I’m not far from our wood stove, which is keeping the room a comfortable 73 and the house at 68 degrees despite the rain and wind we’ve experienced on and off over the past couple of days. Ten logs per day is keeping us plenty warm and grateful not to have a propane bill.

At first, the dog was scared by the fire, which I would guess is an instinctual reaction. She’s gotten used to it now and lies near it after coming in from the rain. She looks at the pile of firewood as an endless supply of chew toys. I have to leave a couple of smaller pieces near the end of the woodpile so she doesn’t pull the whole thing down. I don’t mind her chewing the firewood, as it keeps her occupied and focuses her attention on something besides my hat, which she likes to steal when I am not looking. Besides, it’s a new way to make kindling.

It’s growing cold enough that I will have to stop feeding the bees soon. I hope they are stocked up for winter. I’ve done what I can.

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I Have a Late-Night Encounter and I get a Big Shock

Sometimes things go bump in the night. Sometimes the dog barks and we don’t know why. Then I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the distance.

Frequent readers may recall that I patrol my property late at night. OK, I am actually just walking the dog, but I think of it as a de facto patrol. We walk down the drive way to the road, scout the perimeter, and check the chickens and their enclosure. I hope our presence and smell motivates any predators to think twice about paying a nocturnal visit to the chicken coop.

Each night, I don my headlamp, and I am always armed because, well, I am always armed. Some nights, especially of the dog has been acting like something might be out there, I strap on a 1911 with a Streamlight TLR-2 light/laser combo mounted on it.

I bought the TLR-2 relatively cheap years ago for use on a Smith & Wesson M&P with an extended magazine that was my bedroom self-defense gun. How long ago was this? Let’s just say that the light has only 135 lumens. Yeah, that’s old. Still, it is enough light to identify your target at pistol-engagement distances.

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After Two Weeks, Our Livestock Protection Dog Finally Barks

Our new dog is so quiet, there are times we forget we own her, but when necessary, she rose to the occasion with a deep bark.

We have had our dog, a rescue, for two weeks now, and she’s fitting into the house well. She is house broken, well behaved, and quiet. Surprisingly quiet. She is also doing well with strangers when we introduce her.

Our chief complaint is that she gets excited when she sees us after a long absence and likes to put her paws on us. Often, this is just reaching out her paw while sitting, seeking contact. Less often, she jumps up, and since she is a big dog, she jumps high and her nails can scratch. We are working to control this behavior.

The First Vet Trip

She hasn’t had the easiest week as a vet visit revealed she had Lyme Disease, although she was not yet showing any symptoms. We are now dosing her with doxycycline twice a day. She also had a Trio pill, which prevents heartworms, intestinal parasites like roundworm and hook worms, kill fleas within eight hours, and kills five kinds of ticks. I’m used to dripping something like Advantage on a pet’s back, so I am not thrilled with dosing her with an oral, but it seems to be a necessity in a wood natural area, at least in the summer.

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We are Adding a New Member to our Homestead

After looking at Rottweilers and investigating a few other breeds, we have selected a large livestock guardian dog for our homestead companion.

We are adding a new family member to our homestead: a dog. Not just any dog, but an Anatolian Shepherd, which is a breed that originated in Turkey. Known also as the Kangal (some kennel clubs combine the breed while others do not), they have protected flocks, villages, and the local children for centuries. 

We like the idea of a protective dog, mostly to protect our chickens from predators, but our understanding is that the dog will consider us part of her flock and seek to protect us as well. I’m fine with that and will consider her just one more layer in our layered defense.

In fact, Anatolians are not recommended for protective training because they are already protective enough. They don’t need those tendencies enhanced.

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