Saturday night's fierce winds blew one of our chicken coops (which weigh well over 200 hundred pounds each) right up over the fence, Wizard of Oz - style. Somehow the thing blew across our farm, over our tree line, through the neighbors' yard and into the road. Most of the chickens that had roosted down for the night in that one coop were huddled together in a pile against the wind-less side of the other coop. I found a hen and one of our two roosters fluffed out, perched in the trees on the edge of the farm that morning. (I don't usually name the chickens, but those two poor birds have now been dubbed Dorothy and Toto). Those were some very cold and startled-looking chickens early Sunday morning, but all the ladies are OK.
I suppose it's a minor miracle that the heavy airborne coop didn't smash into any of the neighbors' houses or cars..."Late-night motorist struck by flying chicken coop in rural Johnston county" ...that would have made for one of the oddest news headlines and/or insurance claims ever filed.
Sorry folks, no pick-up, markets, or deliveries this week. Everything froze solid on Saturday night, and given the week's forecast it will all remain frozen until sometime next weekend. Temperatures are predicted to stay at or below freezing all week, with snow, sleet, and ice likely tonight, which isn't going to melt anytime soon. The power has been touch and go (and neither the ice nor the worst of the cold has even arrived yet), which means keeping an armada of 5-gallon buckets full, to make sure there's unfrozen water available for all creatures big or small. The high winds on Saturday night also blew most of the protective row covers off of the winter field crops, leaving most of it exposed to the elements on a 10-degree night. I won't be able to tell how much damage was done to the vegetables until things get significantly warmer - which is going to take a good long while.
I am sure there are a few hardy farmer-heroes out there who will manage to brave the cold, and scrape up a little fresh produce even through this unusually long, intense cold snap. I won't be one of them. You can call me a wimp if you want to, but my one and only big goal for the week is simply to try and remain a mostly unfrozen wimp :)
Stay warm, stay tuned, and we'll see what next week brings.