This winter has been especially cold here in New England.
Usually by now I am already thinking about starting seeds, laying out the garden plans and going through my seed supply pulling out the varieties that will be started soon, but instead I have been busy running my business and spending my free time sitting by the wood stove reading gardening and farming books.
Last fall I built a duck house for our two Pekin ducks so I could leave them outside at night instead of putting them up in the garage in the portable coop. It has worked out extremely well protecting them from both predators and the elements. It is cozy and spacious, and they really seem comfortable in it. Each night at dusk, they would stand on the ramp and quack until I came out and put them up for the night.
(Unfortunately we lost one of our ducks last summer so we now only have one, Bert, who I am hoping to find a mate for come spring)
The winter nights have been extremely cold, so I packed the duck house with hay for extra warmth. The ducks usually aren't bothered by the cold or snow, but this year Bert doesn't seem to like it too much.
Our morning routine had become me filling up a tub with warm water in the greenhouse...
letting Bert out at sunrise...
having him follow me along the shoveled path...
(although on really cold days I need to carry him because he'll sit down in the middle of the path and quack)
and into the greenhouse
we he immediately heads for the tub of warm water to drink and take a bath.
He'll spend the day basking in the warmth of the greenhouse until dusk, when it's time to head back to his duck house.
Hopefully the temps will begin to warm and the greenhouse will soon be filled with seedlings waiting to go into the garden!