People, it’s cold outside.

[Everybody:] How cold is it?

It’s so cold that when our ducks shake water off their backs, it snows.*

Bada bing.

But seriously, peeps, it’s frost–eee.   And as much as it should be chilly in mid-January, it hasn’t been this cold that much (it was 70 degrees F mid-December!) and it’s supposed to be back to balmy next week.  From 15 to almost 50 in one week—yup, that’s normal.  The new normal, that is.

Other signs of backyard weirding:

  • Rabbits stop hibernating; take up hula-dancing.
  • Juncos change nickname from “snowbirds” to “wintry mix birds”.
  • Geese fly north for the winter.
  • Husband stops complaining how cold it is.  (No, wait, not that.)**

Meanwhile, I’ve been putting the ducks in the coop at night.  Finally.  I’d only done it once or twice—for the November Nor’easter and maybe one other frosty occasion.  Somewhat arbitrarily, I decided that temps forecast around 10 degrees and/or exceptionally windy conditions would be the metric.  Having spent enough time in the outdoor pen cleaning poop, I knew from personal experience*** that hay bales and the deep litter system were keeping the birds toasty enough.  But we paid good money for that coop so why not use it on the bitterest nights?!   I mean, for the sake of the story, don’t I need to clean poop in the coop, too?

Hmm, are you sure this is how George Plimpton started out?



Eggs cracked by cold before retrieval from overnight pen.


*Just a slight exaggeration.  The water does freeze instantly on their feathers at these temps.
**Living in California all those years took its toll.
***OK, not overnight experience—there are limits to my participatory journalism.

Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes