Sunday, November 30, 2008
First snow of the season
Katherine took the camera outside this morning to capture some of the beauty of our first snow. It's hovering around freezing, so the snow is very wet and sticking to everything. The pond is not even completely frozen. The forecast is for continued snow through the day and tonight.
And since I just posted about chickens yesterday, I thought I'd include some pictures of our chicken house. The door is opened every morning and closed every night, so the chickens have a safe place to sleep. Mike dug down and put cement blocks around the perimeter, so that it would not be easy for a coyote or other predator to dig under the chicken house and get inside. Basically the varmint would have to dig down eight inches then under the blocks another eight inches towards the chicken house, then several more inches to be able to get its body into the house. I really don't think your average predator is willing to dig a total of more than two feet for a midnight breakfast. We wanted a dirt floor in the chicken house because chicken poop would eventually eat away at a wooden floor and cause it to rot.
This is a design that was supposedly created by University of Illinois Extension in the 1920s or 30s as a poultry or hog house. They were originally created much larger than this. The windows face the south, so that the sun can warm the house during the day. The steeply pitched northern roof causes the north winds to easily blow over the building, and there are no windows on the north side. Driving through the countryside of Illinois, one can still see many of these houses, usually falling into disrepair or being used for storage. When I discovered the origin of the buildings, I told Mike this was what we needed to have for our chickens because of its passive solar design.
And from the pictures, I see that I need to send someone out there to close the windows! There is a small chicken yard (with a six foot fence) on the south side of the house, so chickens can go out there and get fresh air before we get up in the morning. There is a small chicken door under the window on the left, and we keep it open almost all the time.