Winter-Blues Old Bear


As I lay in bed this morning under a pile of blankets – gazing through the window into the woods; watching it snow and snow and snow on a world already covered in snow; spotting a doe making her way across my vista, a lean, silent creature delicately nosing the base of this tree and that in her search for anything at all worth eating, and I thought to myself: oh how I hate New York winters. I really, really hate them. Wish I could sleep through them. Please make it stop. I pulled the covers over my head. If I stayed under here until our next vacation could the family cope? I know: snow and dark and cold are supposed to be no big deal to a northerner. I try not to mind them. But they just suck: they suck out my life force, make my bones ache. Make me wish I could stay under my covers until Spring. But the dog whined at the door and the chickens gabbled for chow so I pulled myself together and rolled out. Outside a tidy path had been laid in the snow between the coops and when I opened the door I found half the flock assembled for a meeting and the nesting box loaded: 10 eggs.


Apparently neither knee-high snow, nor plunging temperatures, nor a sun absent from the sky for five days straight could dampen this dutiful flock’s mood. Lilac the Rooster guarded the door, behavior that ordinarily earned him considerable pain and suffering in the form of relentless pecks to the head, but when a guy’s domineering ways protect a girl from the wind and makes the house warmer, well now, hens can be persuaded to see him differently.


Three seconds after coming back inside Tigger found her ball and whined go out again. Such a stupid dog. Was there ever a morning when I felt less like playing catch? I pulled my coat back on and grabbed the camera. Why not. Why not document all the things that make winter in New York such a drag. Back in the hen yard I opened the coop for a flock beauty shot and – holy macaroni – two more eggs! Twelve in a single 24-hour period from a flock of seven hens, and a record for the Schutt Farmette. Hurray for us? I watched the fat, sausage-roll dog barrel through the snow, smiling like this was her happiest day on Earth, and had to laugh.  Then she was done; tuckered out; panting and wanting back inside for a nap. Me too. Back under my covers to wait it out. Like a grumpy, stiff, sore, winter-blues old bear. I hate winters in New York. By the way, does anyone need eggs?


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  • Reply Robin December 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    It already feels like it’s going to be a long winter. We have more snow on the ground now than we had all of last winter. My ducks and turkeys aren’t laying. Now that the days are starting to get longer I’ll hang a light in the barn for them. Going without eggs is inconvenient.

  • Reply Warren Price February 22, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    That is AWESOME egg production! We count ourselves lucky if we get 9 eggs (our farm record) in a single day and we have 12 hens and a gorgeous rooster. What are you feeding them? We have got to get some of that! Of course we have 6 and a half dozen eggs in the fridge we haven’t used, and we live in Rural Idaho (really rural, 126 people in our “town” that really is about 20 miles in diameter). Love your stuff! You ROCK!

    • Reply taschutt February 22, 2015 at 9:47 pm


      This was when the girls were a bit younger (last year) and that seemed to help, A LOT. This year, we’re lucky to get a couple eggs a day, but our winter has been particularly brutal, and the girls are a bit older. We just feed them layer pellets from Tractor Supply, plus table scraps, stale bread, and the occasional sweet potato for a treat.

      They’ve clearly had it up to their combs with this winter weather though. We haven’t seen an egg in about 4 days now. Spring’s coming, Girls… I promise. 🙂

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