I got up this morning and the water in the pipes upstairs was frozen – this despite almost a metre of insulation in the loft above the kitchen where the pipes run to the upstairs rooms! I turned on the hot tap in the bathroom and little lumps of ice came out and then it stopped. Fortunately the water in the bathroom downstairs and the kitchen is still working so we will survive without having to heat up buckets of snow. There are times in my life in a rural village in France when I long for London luxuries – like mains drainage and central heating!
My first job in the morning is to let the cats and chickens out. The cats sleep in the utility room at night – we used to let them roam downstairs freely but thanks to their naughtiness they are now confined to quarters when not supervised. I opened the door to let them into the kitchen and they usually go out via the back of the house but this morning they all did a runner and refused to go out until I coaxed them with treats so that they’d do their business!
Then I got my fur hat on, snow boots and quilty coat thing and trundled off to the bottom of the garden to feed and water the chickens. The chickens didn’t want to come out of their coop despite the fact that yesterday I gave them a duvet to play on in their pen as they hate the snow on their feet!
They are currently confined to their pen as two days ago two of them went missing when it was bed time. It’s been way below freezing at night here for the last week and the snow is thick and not melting despite the sunshine, so looking for missing chickens at night is not something anyone wants to be doing and to be honest I’m so used to them making their own way back home when its dark I don’t even check they’re all tucked in when I shut them up for the night in their little house. However, I went out the other morning and Black One 2 was on the terrace of the house and White One 2 was under the table in the gazebo – it seems they’d managed to get across the snowy garden to sheltered bits but hadn’t wanted to go home as it would involve going back onto the snow! I tucked them both under my arms and returned them to the pen and the gate’s been shut since then. Now when I go to see them – which I have to do several times a day as the water freezes in their bowls so quickly, they start a deep soulful moaning sound and bluster about the door.
In addition to the pasta, rice and potato peel that I’ve been cooking them I’ve also started to give them a bowl of warm porridge as my sister tells me she read in a poultry keeping article that it will warm them up! I was a bit dubious but they certainly seem to love it and when I pick them up they feel warm so I’ll keep going with it a bit longer but hopefully the temperatures will rise soon and the animals can go back to roaming.A bientôt Janine