Northern cardinal, American goldfinch, junco, blue jay, titmice, Carolina chickadee, red-belling woodpecker, downy woodpecker, Carolina wren. They were the visitors at my winter feeders this morning. Crows flew overhead but didn’t deign to investigate. Two deer, a large doe and a still-small summer fawn, watched from about 20 feet away as I fed the chickens.Ice hides under the latest coating of snow, making the morning chores treacherous. I inch along, careful with every step. It is not a pretty sight.
It’s a typical winter morning at my cabin. The mornings are still rather dark, partly because the hours of daylight are still short and partly because even when the sun is up elsewhere, the mountain hides the disc until nearly 9 a.m. Officially sunrise is still a bit after 7 a.m. The evenings are longer, and I do get the benefit of those longer minutes. Twilight hangs on later, now. It is still not fully dark even at 6:30 p.m., though the sun sets nearly an hour earlier.
The chickens still haven’t started laying again; they are still on winter egg break. They are done molting, though, and all their new feathers are grown in. I am spoiling them with mealworms and fresh sprouts, hoping to encourage them to start laying again soon. I miss those fresh eggs. I’ve heard that 14 hours of daylight is the optimum time for a chicken to lay eggs, and I’m a long way from that. I’m sure the overcast skies aren’t helping either. I guess I’ll just have to be patient a little while longer.