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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Got down to 11 yesterday morning and 10 this morning. High here yesterday was 19F but supposed to warm up to above freezing this afternoon for awhile. That is damn cold for my part of the world. Been lucky so far as it looks like the precautions I took outside are working. Having to run a little water indoors to keep pipes from freezing. State of Texas is having terrible power issues and one of my Sisters in Galveston County has not had power for 36 hours. Luckily my other Sister and youngest Daughter there have not had any problems. I think I am on the same power grid as a large State facility nearby, so we have had no interruptions. I covered the inside of my little well house as best I could and have a light inside it. The birds figured we were a soft touch and invited a bunch of their friends.

I really feel for y'all who put up with this weather all the time even though your probably more suited/prepared than we are here. I was offered a teaching job in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 2010 and just couldn't pull the trigger. I was retired, but young enough and looking for a change of scenery. I wound up staying in Texas which worked out well over-all. I think many of us down here have a better understanding what y'all up north but up with on a regular basis.

I included a picture of the Kemah Yacht Basin which is just next to my hometown right on the coast. You know it's cold when salt spray freezes.

Snow - Front.jpg Snow - Well.jpg Bird Bash.jpg Kemah Yacht Basin.jpg
 

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Whelp, it was in the negative numbers here in the Tyler, Tx area this morning. Rolling blackouts, 15 mins on and 15 off, the last two days. More to come. Nearly a foot of powder snow on the ground and two happy puppies. More snow coming. Been on a CPAP machine the last 17 years. Now on it 15 minutes at a time, all night long. Propane generator and a 250 gallon tank, now on the list of necessities. Tu amigo con los pelotes azule. That's 'blue berries' for you folks of the northern persuasion. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Above freezing today for the first time in a few. Hallelujah!! Precautions here worked out. My other house in town lost power at some point, but was just able to check on it today and other than being cold inside, it seems okay and warming up (it was up to 52 inside and heater running). I shut water off there and drained the pipes in advance, so only time will tell there when I turn the water back on to see if there is any damage to pipes. Another round of low 20's tomorrow and Friday...so I will hold off on that. Ice is melting, but I still almost busted my *** on the driveway a little bit ago getting some stuff out of the back of my truck. Been extra careful as even with titanium hips...my pelvis might not appreciate a fall.

Banana trees have frozen solid and laying on the ground now and my lone Oleander is surely frozen. I am chuckling a bit as I almost started some Tomato plant seeds in the garage early last week...the temp inside there has hovered just above freezing since this madness started. The bananas will most likely come back, but dealing with their slimy frozen stalks will be a pain. Compost pile is a good place for them once I get around to it.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Been off all week, internet down. Not a terrible thing in the grand scheme. Lowest I saw was 4 degrees a little outside of Austin.

Wood burning fireplace insert was great! Didn't loose power but the heat pump thingies are marginal under 25F or so, and do not work well at all in the singe digits. Know a few folks who had theirs freeze up from being run constantly.

Lots of deer in the back yard so emergency food supply if needed :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
AND...it had gone dry!! Oxbow is low, but have a pair of Wood Ducks hanging around and some Whistling Ducks. Lots of Great and Lesser White Herons along with some Night Heron. I had a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks start a nest in a tree about 50 yards from the house, but they abandoned it when I started mowing (and maybe because of some squirrels interest). I feel bad about that, but I still hear them screeching to the SE. We do have some chance of rain and storms in the next day or two...GREAT as I am picking up some chickens tomorrow...lol

I have been working on buttoning up the chicken coop the last week and have it critter proof (except for snakes). I moved a copperhead from near the house to the back of the property.

Wildflowers abound which is good. There is a few patches of Bluebonnets in the area, but none to brag about. Pecan trees are budding which is the TRUE sign of spring. I'll post some photos when I get a chance. All of the Gulf Coast plants that might have died pretty much have. I lost all of my Banana trees and maybe some Sago Palms....we'll see on them...I think they may have made it.

I've been told not to shoot prior to my upcoming open neck surgery. I still have to wait on a Cardiac Consult on the 26th to see if I'm okay to go through the anesthesia they plan on giving me. I don't understand that as I've have two hip replacements in the last 4 1/2 years and I was fine....but I understand my Vascular guy want's to cover his butt. Just another few hundred bucks I really don't need to spend.
 

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Good luck down there!
"Moved a copperhead" happens draped over a shovel, usually. Tamp well. I count any poisonous snake as a future Vet bill and remove that possibility. I'd think a 22 pistol with 'rat' shot would be part of your uniform.
There is always debate about the 'blame' of snakes and chickens. The primary snake of worry are the rat snakes and they're after eggs more than chickens, but they'll slurp little biddies like popcorn. I figure the snake eats enough mice that eats the chicken's feed that the payment of an egg every now and then is just a 'tax'.
Just in case you don't have enough to worry about---do you have weasels? If you find a chicken dead with his head outside the fence but the body too big to through, you have a weasel. The chickens neck will be gnawed on, too. I have a 'winter weasel' (Ermine) in my shop downstairs. He leaves me mouse tails as a sign of good-will, I think. It drives the dogs nuts.
 
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Hang in there JW, time will pass quickly. Good health coincides with good times and you have more ahead of you. I'm a late bloomer here, my fault. I missed many opportunities to know folks who are now absent from here. I much enjoy reading your experiences and wealth of knowledge. Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Good luck down there!
"Moved a copperhead" happens draped over a shovel, usually. Tamp well. I count any poisonous snake as a future Vet bill and remove that possibility. I'd think a 22 pistol with 'rat' shot would be part of your uniform.
There is always debate about the 'blame' of snakes and chickens. The primary snake of worry are the rat snakes and they're after eggs more than chickens, but they'll slurp little biddies like popcorn. I figure the snake eats enough mice that eats the chicken's feed that the payment of an egg every now and then is just a 'tax'.
Just in case you don't have enough to worry about---do you have weasels? If you find a chicken dead with his head outside the fence but the body too big to through, you have a weasel. The chickens neck will be gnawed on, too. I have a 'winter weasel' (Ermine) in my shop downstairs. He leaves me mouse tails as a sign of good-will, I think. It drives the dogs nuts.
I gave this one a pass as he was less than 2 feet...lol

Any Cottonmouth (Water Moccasin) gets the shovel/shotgun/pistol treatment though. Have not seen a rattlesnake yet here, but keeping my eye out as always.

No Weasels and no Mink that I know of. We do have plenty of trash bandits and I am worried about them. The Coop is set up pretty well and has plywood guarding the bottom of one end and the roosts are set up where they cannot reach through. They did tear up some cardboard last night near some feed, so I've ordered some "Dog Proof" traps. I have some old victor's I can clean up and I'm not worried about any neighbor dogs coming over, so I might set some dirt hole's in the mean time. I also have a lean-to on the other end where predators cannot penetrate. I'm actually more worried about overhead raptors when they start free-ranging. My part of Texas has TONS of hawks. Red-Tail are starting to move away, but as I mentioned, there was a pair of Red-Shouldered who started a nest on the property. They moved somewhere else, but I still hear them. My long distance camera is broken, but I am trying to figure out a way to economically replace it.

A few photos from my new inhabitants. They were skiddish at first, but have since seemed to embrace their new home.

OH...TO MAKE MY LIFE MORE COMPLICATED...I had some hog sign show up last night...Damn. I have some patches of wild Onion and Garlic that grow on the property. They tore up one of my goat pens so bad last year, I just now got it mowed. The soil is soft, so rain will knock it back down...but I really wasn't expecting it again this year.

Oh well. I moved my 22 Mag back to the garage where it will stay until I have run them off. Damn...did I say damn?

Roaming1.jpg Roaming2.jpg

hogs1.jpg Hogs Goat Pen.jpg


Hang in there JW, time will pass quickly. Good health coincides with good times and you have more ahead of you. I'm a late bloomer here, my fault. I missed many opportunities to know folks who are now absent from here. I much enjoy reading your experiences and wealth of knowledge. Take care.
Thank you for your kind words. I have every confidence in my Doctors and that they will make me better. I'm lucky to live where I do.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Well the chickens have settled in well but I did have a raccoon or skunk reach through the chain link in one of the unprotected areas and grab one of the hens by the head. She was able to get away, but died of her injuries. I have been working on putting up smaller wire in those areas that are only covered by chain-link. I am about 75% done. I'll try and introduce a couple of young pullets when things settle down a bit. They have been free ranging now (put up at night) since Saturday after 2 weeks in the coop. They have only had to be put in time-out once for not coming when coaxed, so I think I'm doing okay.

Had a Cardiac Consult on Monday and even though my heart and chest sound good, and I have tolerated heavy sedation/anesthesia from Hip replacements and a bone infection several years ago that required several surgeries...the Cardiologist still wants and Echo and Stress Test (which will happen on May 17th). The open neck procedures carries some risk which is why they are being cautious. Both have said to limit my shooting to low recoil long guns. Since I have been fully vaccinated for over a month, I figure I'm good to do some shooting. I have no issue shooting .410 for skeet and limit my rifle to 204 Ruger, 6mm/244. Maybe even my 14 lb. heavy barreled 308... :D I'm hanging onto my rimfire for critters. They both said that heavy recoil on the right side could shake loose some Plaque which would not be good. I'll defer to their expertise.

Chickens out 2.jpg Free Range 2.jpg


I am enjoying spring, but we really need some rain soon. My oxbow is getting very dry. It is down several feet and I think will need a good bit of rain to have any substantial volume. We have a lot of herons and even a couple of babies which are fun to watch follow their parents. There is at least enough water for them, but the Wood Ducks left a few days ago. Still a number of Whistling Ducks, but the Brazos river is 1/4 mile away, so they always have that to fall back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Got this little piglet and one of his brothers last week with a 22 LR. The Mom was lurking behind a tree line...but never showed herself completely. The piglets are fearless/stupid and don't mind exposing themselves. The other piglet was fawn colored.

Piglet.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Things have gone green...even the Duckweed in my Oxbow has greened back up after browning after the freeze. With the green comes more work. It gives me something to do, so I can't complain.
 

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I've gone green here but had an intense snow storm yesterday morning. Uncertain, unsettled and unpredictable this time of year.
 
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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I've gone green here but had an intense snow storm yesterday morning. Uncertain, unsettled and unpredictable this time of year.
I can't feel your pain Jack...although it got up to 92 F here yesterday. High today of 74 F.

I was offered a teaching job in Coeur d'Alene in 2012. I had just retired from my 2nd job and my kids were pretty much done with College.

This Texas boy just couldn't pull the trigger. I love that part of the world, but I don't know if I can do more than visit.

I do absolutely love the PNW and Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming...but will just have to continue visiting my Brother up there.

Good luck and all the best. Stay warm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Got my first eggs yesterday. I figure the first ones cost me about $25 each. At least I am down to $12.50 now. One Jumbo...Yay. They have been laying in my Well House. Gotta figure out how to make em' lay in the coop. Oh well.

Eggs Well house.jpg Eggs Day 2.jpg
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Ceramic eggs can convince the hens to nest where you want - sometimes. They are apparently close enough to the real thing that a ratsnake will swallow them..... guessing that it would be much less comfortable going out the south end, than they did getting swallowed in the north end! :eek:

Very unlikely the snake would have survived this, even if it hadn't scared the crap out of the chicken owner!
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Ceramic eggs can convince the hens to nest where you want - sometimes. They are apparently close enough to the real thing that a ratsnake will swallow them..... guessing that it would be much less comfortable going out the south end, than they did getting swallowed in the north end! :eek:

Very unlikely the snake would have survived this, even if it hadn't scared the crap out of the chicken owner!

Yes. I have wooden eggs that are eerily close to real. They have been buried by the chickens a time or two and I lost one unexplainably. I have only found one small Western Rat Snake in the coop. It's like having kids again. lol
 

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Wooden eggs will be buried or thrown out because they warm up too fast....like it rotten. Ceramic and stone eggs must trigger the mother instinct to get 'em warm no matter what it takes to do it. That was my 'Gran's' theory anyhow.
Snakes seem to eat either.

Years ago, in a canyon 8 miles from a tiny border town, I saw an orange survey ribbon high up on a cliff where no sane surveyor would be even if there were a need. I climbed up to investigate and found a Raven nest full of survey ribbon, hay strings and golf balls.
Snakes will eat ping pong balls but not golf balls. I wonder if they can detect a bird that's too heavy to fly before they hatch? :)

The 'Bull Snakes' around here (Great Basin Gopher Snakes) will stare for hours at birds in trees and finally start the climb directly to the nest that I reckon they have ciphered out by watching the comings and goings of parents. The parents and all their kin go nuts.
 
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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Well. I go in for my Carotid Surgery on Tuesday morning and had my FIL come over today to show him the chicken ropes. I will be in ICU for at least 24 hours and then a couple of more days recovery before coming home. Between him and my wife, I think the chickens are set. And if it weren't for bad luck...cows showed up in my back pasture yesterday and again today. My phone cratered with all of my numbers (Livestock Deputy included), picked up a new phone yesterday and dug around the FB County website and think I found the guy I I had talked with when this happened before. He knew the owner and was willing to help him with his back fence. They meander about a half mile along the river until they come up to the back of my place...lol

While I was showing my FIL some stuff in the garage, I learned I had a pipe leak in the attic next to a HW heater and just before the Water Softener...just a pin-hole that I was able to get a tub under, but if the plumber can't make it tomorrow (holiday...great), I had to show my FIL how to turn off the water, shut off the well...etc. Just great. If it had been PVC, I could have done it today, but of course it was a galvanized T. Crap.
I got everything mowed (except one goat pen...about an acre, and may get it tomorrow.

I hope the deputy calls me tomorrow, the plumber shows up, and nothing else goes wrong...lol. I hope that means that nothing else bad can happen. :D
 

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That aggravating stuff is just 'Murphy' kicking cans and cussin' because he can't hurt you this time.
Get well soon and hurry back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
95-98 F here the last few days...Heat Index well over a 100. I've been given the okay to lift up to 20 lbs. I'll learn more on the 24th.

Plumbing has been fixed, cows have been taken care of, sheetrock even repaired....yay. One bull still wanders over, but he is a sweetheart. I'm good enough that Wife headed to visit some Grandkids in the Carolinas while she was able. Chickens have been producing at 80%...can't complain, but have been skittish...Marsh Hawk (Northern Harrier)...not really a threat, but still spooks them a bit.

I was able to get this photo with my phone (which has been replaced) and working on my long lens camera. Set up a Game Camera around the coop, but having issues with night vision...I may figure that out soon. OPP (Old People Problems).

Mowed about 4 acres today and feeling good. BP still low, so having to watch it. Mosquito Fern in the Oxbow. It will get to hot for it soon and be back to Duck Weed. When the wind is right, the water clarity under the weed is perfect.

Marsh Hawk.jpg Oxbow full.jpg
 
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