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Latest Happenings: Chickens Running, Rising Creek Waters and New Windows

I've been cooped up inside the house for too long due to all the rainy weather we've been having lately. When finally there was break in the weather the other day, my daughter and I ventured out to the community barn.

We love watching what goes on over there in the community barn / garden / chicken pen.  A dozen or so homeowners in the area participate together in caring for this area and the animals.  A side benefit in having this shared resource right next door is that it provides us newbie hobby farmers with examples of how it's done. This week, we noticed they had moved the chickens over into the garden.  The chickens obviously love being able to pick through the remnants of the last season's bounty, while also helping the gardeners get a jump-start on controlling weeds and garden pests.  The chickens are also fertilizing the garden with their droppings.  

Chickens have a unique way of running that I just can't stop watching. I've got about a dozen short videos on my phone now of the chickens racing toward me. Their tails waggle back and forth and they lean forward as they dash forward. They're obviously excited to see if I have a treat for them. 

Next we went into the barn to visit with the horses. I think they've been rolling in the mud.

The barn cats periodically come up to our house and meow in the evening. I feel kind of bad that we don't let them in, and so we grab a flashlight and lure them back over to the barn with a small bowl of cat food.   Both cats are named "Barney".  Their fur coats are thick this winter, and so they do keep warm enough. Both are rather chubby, so obviously they're getting enough to eat from the barn volunteers and from catching rodents. I think they're just looking for affection, which they do get plenty of that too from all the neighbors who visit the barn animals.

Our own cats have settled into our new place. Grey Guy, who used to escape outdoors pretty often when we lived in the city, has become a lazy house cat now. I think he's scared to go outside.  Pretty wise of him, it's a whole new place with all kinds of dangers for a house cat who doesn't know his way around.

As far as renovations on the old farmhouse, we did complete another big project. We replaced 29 windows in the house.  The old single-pane windows had been sealed and painted shut, and many of them were cracked or broken. We installed windows with dividers in the upper pane in order to retain the charming style of the house and what was here previously. We set aside the old windows (and the storm windows, too), for use in a greenhouse.  I've seen on Pinterest many examples of how others have built greenhouses out of old windows, and I'm going to give it a try.

Speaking of new windows, I've been watching the creek from the upstairs office window.  The water has risen due to the rain and also all the snow melt in the lower hills.  With the leaves gone from the trees, I can actually see the water rushing.  We recently purchased flood insurance, just in case.  One corner of our dining room sits within the flood plain.

We recently attended the homeowner association meeting, as well, to stay informed about what's going on in our community and to visit with more of our neighbors.  We're fortunate to live in a community where everyone gets along and cooperates.  This week, I also had a couple of over-the-fence visits with my neighbor, Brian, who is helpful with advice on such topics as determining the best spot for planting my garden (the weather here is a bit different - so finding the right spot for tomatoes can be challenging).  Garden seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  We're really looking forward to spring's arrival.