Thick ice covers the ponds and lakes this winter, thicker than it’s been for several years. December here was as cold as most Januarys, with only a day and a half near the end of the month that had some unexpected warmth.
Now, in mid-January, the memory of that warm day is long past. The snow cover isn’t deep, just a few inches. Overhead, the sky is a leaden shade, the color of weeks old snow. The sun is missing in action and has been for some time now. I can’t even locate where it should be when I scan the sky.
Even though there isn’t much snow, the weather feels as though snow is imminent nearly every day. Chill hangs in the air, and it’s a rare day when the wind is calm, rarer even than the sun.
Daylight lasts a minute or two longer each day, a fact I appreciate and look forward to, though the extra daylight isn’t yet translating into extra warmth or brighter skies. Some days feel as though the entire day is just one step up from dawn, even at midday.
My chickens are on winter egg break as I don’t have electric lights in their pen, and the natural light isn’t enough to keep them laying right now. Many people keep the lights on in their chicken pens to encourage the hens to keep laying. I still get one or two eggs a day from the girls, which is enough for me if not enough to sell. They've been on break now since early December, so I expect production will pick up soon enough.
I’m told the lights eventually cause other problems for hens. They are more likely to develop tumors, for example. Since my hens don’t lay for commercial production, I’ll just wait for the longer hours of daylight and sunnier weather to return. After 15 straight months of laying, I figure my girls deserve a break.
The lighting is so dull and flat that I didn’t take many photos this weekend. Even with nothing but sky behind this American kestrel, I was forced to brighten the photo just to see any detail at all.