It turns out that the chickens aren't really fans of snow, and by this point they're pretty much done with it. Yesterday was beautiful and sunny, if not quite warm, so I encouraged them to get out and enjoy the yard (I had an ulterior motive; they haven't been laying and I though some sun and activity might restart the works). Two of the hens made the snowy traverse across the yard (pictured above) to reach the clear ground under the hemlock trees opposite their run, and once there they quite enjoyed themselves. Only when it was time to come home to roost they couldn't bring themselves to step back into the snow, and Leah had to go and carry them back across. We noticed the problem when the more timid of the hens, who never left the run, started making all kinds of noise; whether they were concerned for their friends' well-being or laughing at their predicament I can't say.
In any case, the hens aren't the only ones looking forward to spring. I ordered some seeds a few days ago and spent a couple hours this morning reading about gardens and dreaming of greenery. Then this afternoon Harvey and I planted a few seeds; I just couldn't resist.
We're nearly finished reading The Long Winter, which has been our constant companion for a little over a week now. I tell you, while our own winter obviously pales by comparison to the Dakota winter of 1880-1881, we were felt as chilled as Laura as we read about her blizzards and listened to our own little snowstorms blowing outside.
There were moments when we went outside and were surprised that it wasn't forty below here!
Right now it's nowhere near there, but warm and raining. Already late this afternoon there were a few little bare patches in the yard. It'll be a while yet before we can get at the garden, and the hens at their new grass, but our wait won't be nearly as hard as the Ingalls'!