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Go Bandits


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Go Bandits

January 8th, 2009  · stk

NewsBrief: [Go Snow Go] After a record-setting month of snow, the white stuff is finally starting to melt. • [Masked Bandits] The Hutton House girls catch another two raccoons.

Go Snow Go

Hutton House - It's been nearly a month since snow first fell and it's only now, beginning to melt.

After record snow dumps in mid-December, temperatures remained below freezing or slightly above, until after the New Year. At one point, Scott was certain the weather feed - which reports from the nearby Nanaimo airport - was wrong, as it showed an unbelievable -18°C (-0.4°F)! That's very cold, considering we're less than a quarter mile from the ocean.

The snow was so light and fluffy that it was impossible to make a snowman, though Alex made up for it by sledding down the road and driveway.

Temperatures did - gradually - climb to just above freezing, but continued snow flurries kept accumulating the white stuff faster than it was melting.

While we were fortunate to have a "white Christmas", to be honest, we were so sick of *cough* used to the snow by then (shoveling, getting stuck, school cancellations, etc.) that it was no longer "special".

Yesterday, with temperatures climbing to 5°C (41°F), the snow began to melt with earnest.

"A couple more days of this," said Scott, "and we might have a snow-free driveway."

The December snow measured over a meter, which has happened only twice before during December, since 1947, when Environment Canada began keeping records.

"We had 116 centimeters of snow at the Nanaimo Airport," reported David Jones, a climatologist for Environment Canada. Agency records shows 111 cm. accumulated in 1964 and 107 cm. in 1968. Even in December 1996 - the most recent winter dump - snowfall reached only 95.2 centimeters.

"This has been the second-highest monthly total at the Nanaimo Airport," Jones went on to say. (The highest was February 1975, when 122 centimeters fell.)

Masked Bandits

Hutton House Hen House - The chickens are also glad that the snow is melting. It means they're gradually getting more of their run back, each day. (They're not keen on tramping in the snow and Scott kept a small area snow-free for them).

One benefit of the snow was seeing tracks of all the critters that had been about, during the night. For a while, it appeared the raccoons were hibernating, but just the other morning, Scott spotted raccoon footprints. Now that temperatures are rising, they're venturing out and eager to fill their hungry bellies.

Tracking the prints, Scott surmised that the raccoons walked around the perimeter of the chicken run, looking for a way in. They moved some stones away from the edge of the fence and paced back and forth.

The distressing part was that they were successful in breaching the fenced-in run. There were raccoon prints INSIDE the chicken run! How had they gotten in? No matter, really, as the result is the same.

Fortunately, the girls were all safely tucked in for bed, holed up in their coop. "Chicken" wasn't on the menu - at least - not that night.

Retribution came for the seven chickens just this morning, as they caught another two raccoons in their cleverly-devised trap! Sentencing was swift and merciful.

For those keeping score at home, the tally is now: Raccoons - 1 and Chickens - 6. (Note: The chickens caught a raccoon just before the snowfall, which the Randsco rag didn't report ... being Holiday season and all.)

"Brawk, brawk," said one chicken, when asked about the capture.

"Brawk Obama!" squawked another (apparently excited about the United States Presidential nominee).

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Updated: 1-Feb-2009
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1.flag Gary Comment
We would love to have had a white Christmas but I guess after a month of the white stuff you do tend to get fed up of it.

Lol @ Brawk Obama!

2.flag stk Comment
Yeah ... there's still snow in patches. I'm ready for summer!

Someone noticed the "brawk obama". :x
3.flag Patrice Comment
So happy to hear your chickens are fighting back with traps of their own. We lost far too many of our hens to the darned bandits. They scoffed at the electric fence along the bottom border. :|
4.flag stk Comment
Patrice - The hens started breathing easy, after capturing six raccoons. They thought they had caught the entire marauding family.

Not so! The other evening, when they were turning in for the night, they heard rustling in the trees, high above. Sure enough, a raccoon was coming across the tall pines, just about ready to drop into the run!

(We're gradually coming to the conclusion that the only defense against these wily creatures is a run that's securely fenced on all sides, including the "ceiling". ;