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Here in Ontario, Canada, the weather is brutal. Lots of blowing snow with high winds that makes this farmhouse shake sometimes, and the howling wind often wakes me at night.  Minus -20 C today and -17 C yesterday, when I had to go out to take  eggs to the neighbours.  With freezing at zero C (32F), that is mighty cold. I won’t even break the snow seal around the door of the chicken coop today because I checked yesterday and filled the grain feeder, so I know they will be alright if they can get through these terrible temps. Should go back up into the single digits soon, before heading down again. Ugh. Wish I could fly away somewhere warm, as two of my neighbours are about to do.

Bought a heater for the chicken coop because of these terrible temperatures, as two 100 watt light bulbs simply cannot give off enough heat to keep the temp above freezing inside. It is suspended half way down  from the ceiling in the centre of the room,  facing away from the roost.  The hens are already used to the stove pipe that was there, so hopefully will not bother it. I am concerned about fire with a styrofoam ceiling and thick pine shavings on the floor. Stayed with the girls for awhile until I felt the thermostat was set right to keep the temps slightly above freezing. At 1500 watts, this will cost of course on the hydro bill, but so does the heater in the cattle water trough inside the barn.

I also had my monthly trip to the dump, but it wasn’t very busy, so I had a few moments chat with the woman taking payment. I also met another neighbour at a store when I was hunting gifts for my grandchildren, whom I hope to see soon.

I am also very pleased that the new dusting box is being used by the chickens.  I bought a special powder for that dust bath that helps keep down mites. I plan to add some wood ash the next time the old farmer cleans the wood stove or furnace. A chicken dust bath helps to remove excess oil, as well as external parasites like lice and mites. A dirt bath also maintains the water resistance of the outer feathers of a chickenDust bathing is an important part of keeping chickens healthy and clean.

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Still getting six eggs a day from my six Leghorn hens, all going to two customers,  so I rarely get any myself. Florescent lights I reduced a touch from 12 to 10 hours a day, but production obviously is still fine–even in the dead of winter. All are large, or extra large eggs now and so appreciated,  as my customers tell me they sometimes buy extras to give some away as gifts.

Two cows are gone, shipped to a sales barn, as they did not get pregnant  despite being with a bull full-time. Their calves this year handled the adjustment quiet well as I heard very little bawling.  I suggested giving the herd blue, cobalt salt because I once had a problem  getting a mare settled and the vet suggested this, and it worked. Sometimes soil is deficient in certain minerals that affect even fertility. So that sparked a conversation about types of salt and their uses for livestock. If only a simple thing like this would help people with the same problem.

Attended a big funeral this past week of a young woman in her early 30’s who was killed with her partner in a car crash. The adopted daughter of the senior couple across the road. So sad. The message What are you leaving behind?” really made me think, and spurred on my efforts to get more records added to this website as quickly as I can. It is my legacy to the world, apart from my children of course.

Preserving history in this column, with its educational component, is part of that, although the larger effort is in genealogy and other columns.

Farm News 2018 – with links to my overland trip to India.  Meet my granddaughter with the chickens in a video from Thanksgiving last fall.

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A little one bundled up enjoying the snow.

I had  a lovely visit with my two grandchildren this past weekend, and laughed as Lorelei (3 years old) pulled Zuke (17 months)  around by his hand, as he learned to walk faster. When she quit, he kept doing it.

Website for Gillespie records world-wide