I walked into my office today, of course coffee in tow, as the snow fell all around. Earlier in the morning I had checked on the horses that all had a white blanket of snow stretching across their backs.
Nice and warm they are, their nice thick coats are keeping them extremely insulated from this wintery storm that is developing for the weekend. Happy and crunching on beautiful green hay, they are content.
Like a winter picture from ’Dances with Wolves’, the horses chestnut, white and black polka-dots, brown, black and white paint markings are so beautiful against the large snow covered oaks.
The girls in the Poultry Palace with their outside courtyard were tails up, eating and scratching at bird seed and chickgirl food. From a distance they look like big croissants, tail up; head up they look like big heavy Easter hens. My girls strut and cluck like the best models on the catwalk. They are heavily feathered, and would look superb in aprons. Hee-hee. All the while the snow falls.
Behind our barn is the big horse shed, that for now, we are storing our summer cut grass hay round bales. This shed and pasture are in the middle of our property, beyond that is another hay field and a natural wooded area runs behind it.
Our two bee hives are back near the shed, along a fence row and protected by some pines and trees. The hives are like two neighboring condos on a Florida oceanfront beach. But the residents in these condos are all girls right now. All the drones had done there job in the spring and by winter they have waned away. The queen will be cared for by the girl bees in the hives to keep her warm and do any bidding she may have. Quite royal, I would say. The girls that live in the hives worked all summer gathering pollen from many sources around our farm. Many have worked so hard through summer that they literally work their little wings off. The remaining girls cater to the queen through the winter.
Oak Openings Metropark, all around our farm, has much diversity and natural species of flowers and prairie grasses. Some of these no longer exist except here in our region. I often wonder how beautiful it must have been for the pioneers before so much of our lands were developed.
The pollen from the flowers are made into honey and the girls live from the honey through the winter. On warm winter days when the sun shines on the hives, a sampling of what I call ‘scout girls’ come outside to evaluate their surroundings. But today, the hives are quiet and there are no signs of my hard working ladies.
I will be leaving the office soon, the snow is once again falling steadily. It is supposed to fall through the night. The sound it makes sounds almost like a light rain shower. Quiet and yet a strong shout as each little crystal snowflake falls and hits the leaves on the clinging oaks and the new fallen snow.
I will check on the horses and chickens before nightfall. The horses can come and go as they want from our round shed in their pasture. My chick girls will go in their coop at the first sign of dusk. In the distance I will hear the quiet ‘Hoo-hoo from a resident hootie owl that has become quite established in our area of the woods. On this quiet winter night, all is well.