Snowshoeing is for the Birds

We got 28″ of snow yesterday.

In the past nine days, we’ve enjoyed 43 hours of NOT having our power out.

Of course, it’s snowing again today and Dave is gone for 12 hours and the birds need to be fed and watered.

This is a job that is substantially easier for Dave (6’2″) than for me (5’2″). Trudging through over two feet of snow, I needed to make the first pass carrying a five-gallon bucket of chicken feed. It would be the second pass, however, that would prove the real challenge–dragging the running hose from the basement, through the snow, to the coop (about a 100 yard trek). So, today, I thought I’d enlist the help of some snowshoes.


Try it, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Slogging through thigh-high snow with chicken feed was fun and everything, but the party started to take a nosedive when I arrived at the coop door and couldn’t even get TO it, much less OPEN it. Without any tools available to me, I set the bucket aside, dropped to my knees, and started digging with my hands to free the door enough to get inside.

I was able to move enough snow to open the door about a foot. As I squeezed my heavily-padded body through the opening, I realized that I’d forgotten about the snowshoes. Halfway through the door, I was stuck—my feet were jammed under the coop door and my body was stuck on the other side.

And that’s when the GIANT PILE OF SNOW fell on my head and dropped down the back of my jacket.


The door in question. The missing hunk of snow above the door is what ended up melting down my back.

I maneuvered until I was free, reached out and grabbed the bucket, and brought it to the birds, only to discover that they were totally fine on their food supply and I could’ve skipped this part altogether.

I dumped the superfluous food on top of the already-there food and made my way back out. Realizing that shoveling a path inside the coop for the hose would make my next task slightly easier, I grabbed the garden shovel* from inside the coop and dug a path (of sorts) repeatedly clacking into the buried snowshoes in the process.

Once the “path” was shoveled out, I trudged my way back to the house and into the basement to retrieve the hose. Wearing snowshoes in the basement made for high comedy as the complete absence of snow turned them into dangerous, floppy, Stumble Machines. Nevertheless, I got the water turned on, grabbed the hose, and started back to the coop.


The scene of the crime.

I tried to follow the tracks I made on the previous journeys, but managed to run into similar resistance regardless. At one point, I simply sat down in the snow and yelled my frustration at Dave  the sky.

Finally back inside the coop, I dumped out the slushy, muddy water that was all the birds had to bathe in and filled their tubs with fresh, clean water. I repeated this inside both hen houses so that they would still have a place to drink and take baths despite the fact that the sky won’t stop falling.

I learned two things in this process: a) my gloves aren’t particularly waterproof and b) that watching ducks enjoy a tub of fresh water makes snowshoeing through two feet of snow worth it.


Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.48.44 AM

* Not meant for snow.



About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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7 Responses to Snowshoeing is for the Birds

  1. Christy Atkinson says:

    You just made my day! Your posts always make me laugh! You have a gift for writing, I can always picture what you are trying to convey. I’d actually forgotten about ApplewoodFarm because it’s been a while since you’ve posted anything. Glad to hear from you again! I’m sending you warm thoughts from our farm in Texas. Take care! Christy

    • Thanks, Christy! That’s so nice of you to say. We’ll take all those warm thoughts anytime… just need to figure out how to convert them into snow-melting heat! Enjoy Texas!

  2. carolpeckham says:

    So happy you’re back (even if the goats are gone). Love your blog, Snowshoes definitely overrated as footwear.

  3. avwalters says:

    We missed out on your most recent snow dump–but then we get more than you on a regular basis. I love your take on livestock maintenance. Next year, I’ll be in that same boat, as we are getting chickens. I’m figuring I’ll carry water–with chickens you don’t need quite so much, and, I’ve done the hose-from-the-basement thing.

    • Yes, chickens are much easier than ducks! We really have no business keeping water fowl without having a natural water source nearby… we create our own monsters around here.

      • avwalters says:

        Isn’t it the case that we always create our own monsters? I try not to. The tree and seed catalogues arrive and I resist the urge to indulge in what will not grow here easily. Oh, but my inner ear hears the call of Santa Rosa plums, and figs (dammit), remember figs! It’s the plight of one who sent too long in Northern California. So, I do understand the lure of ducks.

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