I currently have many different coats in our laundry room, ranging from light to heavy. I have a hoodie jacket, a warm lined hoodie jacket, a warmer lined windbreaker, and two winter coats–one for every day and one that is nicer. Oh, I also have my winter chore coat. I need all those coats because I never know what the weather is going to be: warm or cool or cold. Yesterday I wore my warm hoodie until it warmed up enough that I took it off and wore just my sweatshirt. Today it was downright cold so I wore my everyday winter coat when I took Hannah outside and my chore coat when I went out to care for the chickens. Once the weather is consistently winter cold, I will put away all the lighter jackets.
I am calling today “Wintumn” because we experienced a combination of autumn and winter weather. I suppose I could have called it Autumnter. Take your pick: Autumnter or Wintumn. Both are appropriately descriptive.
We started out with rain. We could hear it tapping on the roof when we woke. The rain stopped about mid-morning or so, but then we had snow. Yes, snow. Sometimes it came straight down and sometimes the strong wind blew it sideways. None stayed on the ground–it was just a warning shot that winter is moving in. In between the episodes of snow, we had periods where sunlight that broke through the clouds and vividly lit up the colorful trees. Then dramatic dark clouds moved back in, lumbering through the blue sky like huge ships in a sea. The sky would grow gray and dark and snow would fall again. Accompanying all this variety of weather, we had strong winds that tore the leaves off the trees. At times the whole sky was filled with leaves. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo/video of it. Sometimes there was both snow and leaves falling from the sky, as if Winter and Autumn were dancing together. Rain, snow, leaves, sunshine, clouds, wind: It was wildly beautiful.
Early this morning when I took Hannah Joy outside, I smelled the strong smell of skunk. Ugh.
When I took Hannah Joy outside this afternoon, I noticed a small hole in the ground near the deck. I thought at first that maybe Madeline, our sweet serial killer cat, had tried to dig out a mouse, vole, or shrew. But then I noticed another hole, and another, and another–some deeper and some more shallow. A very large area was churned up. I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if bucks had maybe been fighting during the night?” They would have been just outside our windows. When EJ arrived home from work, I showed him the churned up area. He didn’t believe it was deer because some of the holes were rather deep. He thinks that maybe it was the skunk we smelled digging for grubs. Every now and then throughout the day, I got a whiff of skunk, and we both smelled it this evening. We are hoping the skunk isn’t making its home under the deck.
The new chickens are settling in ok. They are still separated from the rest of the flock; I’ll keep them separated for about a week so they can adjust to each other before they mingle. The new hens are roosting on the straw bales in their half of the coop, as I suspected they would. In fact, I had deliberately made sure the straw bales were clear of feed buckets and egg baskets because I know chickens like to roost high up. It’s very comforting to go into the coop when the chickens are settling down at night. They have soft coos and clucks that are as comforting as a cat’s purring. I think I could fall asleep listening to their them.