Today dawned so cold that the wooden planks of the front deck groaned beneath my feet, the snow was frozen to a crust so hard it bore my weight as I walked across it, and the thermometer read in the very low single digits. I was delighted to find that the chicken coop, equipped with a heat bulb, was a cozy 32 degrees. The flock, cloaked in their thick feathers, seemed quite content.
The jays and other wild birds took turns eating sunflowers and suet from the feeders, and my local flock of 7 crows swooped down eagerly when I tossed food for them and called, in the still morning air, "HERE CROWS!" I always feel silly when I do this, but then I am awash with glee when they call back to me each day, "Caw, caw...." Next they call to each other, a wide range of sounds from croaks to chortles. Today's feast included pastries left over from a holiday party, a handful of dog food, and some chicken skins. They dove for the latter items, but seemed quite terrified of the pastry. I guess they'd never seen a cream horn or eclair in the wild.
We have a new "pet." A stray cat has taken up residence in our garage. He is wild and shy, we've only caught the rare glimpse of him. I've built him a cozy nook out of a Styrofoam cooler stuffed with straw, and we have begun to offer him food and water, worried about him in this brutally cold weather. I have been calling him "garage cat." He needs a better name. Ideas welcome.