Tag Archives: auburn

Snow Day

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Here’s a rare thing… snow on the Farm! Our little town of Auburn is known for being “above the fog, below the snow”… but, once in a while, Mother Nature ignores our silly human sloganeering and sends a genuinely white Weather Event our way! The very occasional nature of such storms makes them extra-special, as everything familiar is frosted in ice and magically transformed overnight.

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Here’s the Harvest Party field, where we were celebrating on a warm end-of-summer afternoon, barely a couple of months ago! The tipi canvas is packed away for winter, and the chicken coop is snug and warm in the distance.

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And now, to the chicken house, where some of the more adventurous birds are outside — pecking for scratch in the snow and vying for a warmer foothold on the coop’s little ramp.

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This was quite a persimmon year — there are still plenty on the trees, even though we’ve eaten persimmons, dried persimmons, frozen them, given them away… this variety gets sweeter and softer after a frost, and the wild birds are enjoying what’s left on the tree!

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Nobody is home in this bluebird house; it sits under a cozy blanket of snow, waiting for Spring. It was built by Ron Brown, a longtime family friend, and founder of the “Bluebird Chain” — a series of more than 5,000 thousand numbered bluebird boxes that he built and distributed in the area to provide habitat for the Western Bluebird. (There’s a sweet article about Mr. Brown here.)

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The bees are warm and snug, too, in their field…

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…but a closer look reveals minute tracks in the snow in front of the hive: marauding Scrub Jays, who like to stand in front of the entrance, tap on it, and snack on the guard bees that venture out to see what’s going on. You’d think they would find plenty else to eat, what with the juicy persimmons and a whole hillside of glowing red wild Toyon berries… but bees are a nice source of protein, and the hive is such a convenient dispenser! And you do have to admire the birds’ ingenuity… nonetheless, we cover the hive fronts with wire fencing to deter the jays.

And speaking of wildlife… I love the way the snow keeps a record of all the feet that pass by — it’s a reminder of just how many creatures, great and small, call this place home.

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Filed under around the farm, beekeeping, chickens, Winter

The Homestead Radio Hour: April is All About Chickens!

I think we’re just gonna go ahead and declare April as Chicken Appreciation Month, or maybe Time To Get Yourself Some Darn Chickens Month! We — Phyllis and Julia, the Homestead Radio gals — are excited to be presenting the talk “Country Chicks, City Chicks – Raising Chickens in Your Backyard” at The Union’s annual Spring Home & Garden Show. The home show and talk are free. Come on by this Saturday, April 28, 3:30 to 4:30, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley, Northern Mines Building, and bring your poultry-related questions!

And, if you missed this month’s episode of The Homestead Radio Hour, you can listen to our feature on Backyard Chicken-Keeping right here — we had so many listeners call in with some great chicken questions and tales. Too much fun! Just click on the player below, or follow this link to the KVMR podcast page.

We’ll also be out at the Auburn Old Town Foothill Farmer’s Market this Saturday morning, 10am to noon, at the KVMR radio table — come on by and say hi!

(and if you need one more reason to think about getting chickens…..
all together now: awwwww!)

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Filed under chickens, farmer's market, homestead how-to