Monday was the last perfect morning before the high winds and rain of Hurricane Sandy came to Vermont. The sun was out, the clouds were beautiful, until 10am, and it was a steady 58 degrees.
During these last few hours the hens took advantage of the secret jungle path and dust baths they had created this summer. They had one last fling before they were cooped up during the storm. The wind gusts started at 4:15pm, but until that moment the flock and the herd ran free and grazed and did what ever they wanted to do.
The Speckled Sussex have the ideal camouflage to hide in the bushes and eat unsuspecting spiders and bugs before the really nasty weather came in.
Two of the other Sussex Sistas enjoyed their favored dust bath area.
I took a chance and left my brussel sprout plants up and didn't cut them down before the arrival of Sandy because they are still growing delicious orbs and I didn't want them to stop. Are you leaving yours up or any other crop? They did survive the high winds and they are the first things I saw early this morning.
I am planting many more next year as they are drought resistance and chicken proof!
I hauled out more buckets and containers yesterday morning to fill with water for the flock, the house, the dogs and evacuated guests, should the worse happened. I now have lots of water to fill the duck pools for a week or more.
I worried how the new community garden would withstand the extreme weather, so after church on Sunday, I drove down to take a final look. I noticed that the "garden fairies"had returned to the Rowe Community Garden and kindly raked a ton of leaves and deposited them on the garden. I was going to spread the huge piles of leaves around and distribute them to the other areas of the garden but thought better of it. I had a feeling they were going to blow all over the village with help from Sandy and I thought they had a better chance of staying on the garden if left in a giant pile. (I made the right decision. They were still there this morning when I drove by.)
When the flock was let out of the coop this morning they ran to the porch hoping for treats. They had lots to say about the wind and all the noise last night.
They got their treats and went on their way to graze and look for worms and bugs that surfaced in the soggy garden.
Rudy & Agnew waddled down to the asparagus patch for better bug hunting. Then they paddled around in the many puddles that dotted the meadow by the house. They don't seem as affected by the storm like the chickens are. Ducks are much more mellow.
I jumped into my vehicle, it was still raining off and on, and headed down to check on the herd.
Our disaster plan had changed on Monday, when it was decided to let the herd have a 25 acre field somewhat away from the trees and streams. It was a bit too close to the giant power lines for me, but the herd seems to have a sense for when power lines are falling (from the barn fire), so it would be the better choice for this particular wind event. I wasn't able to stay with them during the storm, like I did during Hurricane Irene as my vehicle would of been stuck in mud out in the middle of the field where they stayed during the night.
As I got closer to the fields I saw the herd still grazing and then I saw the rainbow.
What a beautiful sight!
The cows were fine. The moms were washing their calves. The water had drained off the field quickly and there were no downed trees. I saw some bent fencing, probably from deer running out of the woods, but that's the only damage that happened. The side road was clear from large debris, just small branches and lots of pine cones and pine needles.
I went down into town and looked at the community gardens, the 3 rivers and took a quick drive around to a few farms to make sure neighbors and livestock were ok.
All day the skies have been dark and there have been downpours of rain on and off.
A sign that Sandy is still around.
After every shower there was a rainbow.
My thoughts are with all the people and farmers who have suffered losses during this storm.
If you have a chance to volunteer to help those that are affected, please do.