Record Cold

NOAA predicts -13 F or -25 C for tonight. I’ve been perusing the historical weather data for Massachusetts and that looks like a record cold. If we make that, we beat the low of -12 of 1957. This kind of cold was on my mind when I went out to give the hens a bowl of fresh warm water and a bowl of warm oatmeal, which they devoured. There is no electric heating in their coop, which isn’t insulated, but due to the deep litter method there is some heat (you can feel it when you hold your hand over it) and on cold nights like this, I close the coop hatch.

The powdery snow that fell last night (about a foot) creaked and crinched around my boots. The sun was already low in the sky and the air was dead calm. There was something eerie about it. It is that kind of big freeze that I wonder might set in and never end, not in my lifetime. That makes me half-remember that there’s something I may have to do to make it end, but that I’ve forgotten the old ways of making the sun come up in the morning, of making the world go on, the warmth return. I’m part curious, part terrified.

As I write this, the chickens they are hollering. They holler every evening when the sun sets. I used to think, like most, that they’re claiming their spots on the roost or reporting on their day. This interpretation doesn’t befit this evening, or any evening, come to think of it. I think that instead they’re lamenting the end of the world and voicing their doubt that there is anyone left willing and able to make it go again tomorrow.

Jenkinson says we need people to join the crew of pushing the sun up every day. The chickens are counting on it.

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