Chickens at feeding rock

November is here. Frosts are more frequent, the cold is creeping in. We lost some of our flock to a turkey vulture or buzzard.

First one of the young roosters on Hallowe’en. Esme, the original mother of the flock, and our family favourite, went missing. We had to assume the worst. And after several days of keeping the flock cooped up, we lost one of our older roosters.

We won’t let the remaining ten chickens out until we’ve had a good hard look at how we can keep our free ranging flock a little safer. We had it safe for a little too long and it’s hard getting used to this new reality.

Unlike some previous Novembers, the weather isn’t quite as harsh as it could be just yet, but we wonder if winter will set in early like it did last year. Our first heavy snow came on the 30th of November, and never really left.

Two years ago we had a proper layer of ice on our pond already: Ice Day.

Boy and dog on the ice in November
A dog and his boy, marvelling at a solid layer of ice on the pond.

This time last year, I discovered this cold weather gem: Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup with halloumi

Curried brown rice and sweet potato soup topped with halloumi
A comforting bowl of curried soup, layered with halloumi

It’s comforting looking back at where we were last year, two years ago, or even further, thanks to this small record. In a world full of chaos, noise and uncertainty, this is our little patch with its own rhythms. It’s not always easy, but it’s where we are and what we’re doing. It’s a good time to hurry on home and keep warm. Warm wishes to all of you.

Chickens running through frosty grass

9 thoughts on “November

  1. I just heard on the news that the polar vortex was on the move again. Something about it swinging down in the midwest states and marching to the east coast. Looks like you might be in for some real cold weather. I’ll be thinking about you while I’m working out in the garden on what turns out to be a warm weekend on the west coast. Good luck and keep that Ironheart fired up!

    1. That darn polar vortex, I know! We’re heading down to zero very shortly, and then it’ll keep dipping from there. I think we’re finished with the warm days for good this year. Enjoy your garden, it lifts my spirit to know that others can still be enjoying theirs!

  2. Oh so, so sorry to hear about Esme. That’s just awful. Flying predators are the worst (although Melbourne’s wily foxes manage to dig under coop fences so they’re pretty horrid too). Poor chooks.
    Best of luck through the frosts and cold. Looking forward to more comfort meal posts from you. The rice soup sounds beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Sas, that means a lot. We’re very attached to our little flock, so it has been hard, but we’ll keep at it. I’m looking forward to sharing more comfort meals too, and I highly recommend that soup (for the right season, of course!).

  3. That is hard luck about losing some of your little flock. It’s bad enough when the flock is a good size, but when it’s small like yours, their personalities make them more individual to you, so that it hits harder. No stray feathers or abandoned carcasses? Your hen house is quite well built, so it must be happening when they’re out. Aerial predators are very difficult to protect them against, without putting them in a covered run. Hope that’s the end of it. Not good news about another polar vortex. We’ve definitely shifted seasons out here, too, but not quite to such an extreme thankfully – lots of rain and wind, but only the slightest of frosts so far. You’d best hunker down with that Esse Ironheart!

    1. You are so, so right. We are terribly attached to our birds and it was a harder blow than I could have anticipated. Apart from Esme, who is simply gone, our other losses were minimized by being able to intervene just after the kill (definitely a turkey vulture or buzzard); in both cases, we deprived the predator of his supper. Our youngest was much happier as this meant we could have some closure, although we’re still faced with having to consider a covered run or other security measures. I’m thinking covered run, no matter how we analyze it. Another commenter here just let me know that they are talking about the ‘T-Rex’ of winters this year; I think that means we’re likely to get slammed out here! Your Ironheart advice sounds spot on.

  4. Sorry to hear about your lost birds.
    I think I’m finally ready for winter!
    At least you’ve got your wood stove to rely on to keep your home warm during our cold winters. “T-Rex” winter, the farmers almanac says, I’ve heard.

    1. Thank you, that is kind. We’ve got a couple of outstanding jobs, but nothing too daunting; we basically feel ready for the winter at this point. “T-Rex” winter – I think I’m officially terrified!! I think I’ll go huddle by the woodstove. Wishing you lots of warmth this winter!

  5. Sorry to read of your lost rooster and hen. Even though not house pets, it would be hard not to grow attached to them, especially considering you’ve a relatively small flock. I’m you’ll figure out a way to protect them. It’s always something, isn’t it? Now there’s a polar vortex heading our way. I think the worst of it will stay north of here, though our temps are going to fall. I hope it’s not so far north that you get it. They’re talking about over a foot of snow in Minnesota. Yikes!

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