Sunday, January 3, 2010

On theTexas Gulf Coast, the weather is very different

Where are our 70 degree days? Looking at the extended forecast on several weather websites indicates that this is the first January in years that we won't have any. And it may not get better for the next few months.

Usually about this time of year we can count on 3-5 days of 30-50 degree days followed by 2-3 or more 70 degree sunny days. It's a roller coaster of temperature changes you can easily get used to. However this year the temperature has been for the most part a steady 50 degrees.

And that's chilly for us!

I had counted on some 70 degree days! I had saved some outside chores for those days and it looks like we won't be getting them anytime soon. I can remember many years ago about this time going fishing for speckled trout in shorts....and loading up. That however is before the State put drastic limits. Now it's not worth going to for a meat trip.

February is another story! You can usually count on it being the coldest, with nasty sleet and sometimes snow. Not a lot of snow, but any is more than we want.

So, I sit and wait and use the time I cannot be outside to take care of tasks inside and to plan and blog.

Hoping the seeds that I ordered from Johnny's are in this week. I usually start those plants inside and now that we are building cold frames, will move them to the cold frame as soon as they sprout.



What a scare we had and thanks to the Guineas we would never have known what was going on!

I was in the laundry room taking care of our weekly laundry when my husband came in and asked if I would come out to the porch. He said there were a couple of small hawks cruising over the pasture in the back and within 100 feet of the house.

Our house lies fairly close to the Farm to Market road. We have surveyed off a full acre for the house with the rest of the property being ag. Behind the house, bordering our backyard area is a belt of trees that surrounds the homesteaded property on 3 sides. We have a lot of trees. On the other side of that is our pasture and our property line butts up to 400+ acres of farmland.

Cruising over the back pasture were a pair of smaller hawks and they were making a lot of noise! It sounded similar to when you step on a kitten's paw (by accident). They were flying low and even made passes over head. They were after something....

Knowing we had kittens from our farm cat mama's and the flock of BB Red Bantams we went into action! The Hawks were landing on tree's on the greenbelt and also tree's in our back yard. I am sure they were looking for a meal.

After gathering the chickens onto our covered patio (scratch entices them well), we watched for quite a while. They were quite pretty, their flight effortless and very aerodynamic. However, they wouldn't go away. They kept looking for their next meal and for a while, concentrated on something that was next to the 3 sided barn. Then they kept flying over the back yard, over the house to the front and back.

You could hear them squawking to each other for the longest, which allowed us to hear when they were coming.

And apparently the chickens and guineas knew that sound was danger as they took cover under low brush and tree's, huddling together.

After a while they became silent. One landed in the tree on the far side of the property by the three sided barn. I told my husband "We have a choice. We can either let nature take it's course as it's part of the food chain pecking order or you can go get your 22 rifle". He went inside and got his rifle.

He didn't have a clear shot to the one on that had landed in the tree so he walked slowly towards it but didn't get far before it flew away.

That was the last that we saw them and we stayed outside for 20 minutes or so, quiet on the patio to see if they would return.

The chickens and guineas calmly walked out from the porch and returned to the yard, heading for the greenbelt. I figured they knew more than we did and if they were calm, we should be too.

So, one more "atta boy" for our guineas! They certainly do a great job on bugs and snakes but even more important they alerted us once again to something on the property that wasn't suppose to be here.

We will be watching for those hawks......I guess this unusually cooler weather has made food scarce and that's why they were around the property....

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