Winter’s Fun … eh?

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The last time I dropped by here I was preparing for an onslaught of rain, ice, wind and snow. I was lining our paths with straw and old bedding to give us some traction.

We were SOOOOO lucky! We DID get hours and hours of pouring rain. That’s very unusual for January in our area. It was raining so hard it was spooky. We had a creek’s worth of water running through our back paddock. It was all coming off the back field and the hillside. Instead of the predicted flash freeze … we got corn snow to top it all off. Perfect! Corn snow gives you built in traction. Suddenly the jennies went from a teeny tiny corner of their paddocks to free range everywhere. I was one happy camper that morning!

Darby is a very talkative jenny. (Don’t these shots make you want to brush her teeth!?) She lets me know when it is nine o’clock. She lets me know when it is four o’clock. She lets me know when the sun is going down. She lets me know when they are running and having a good time without me …

I’m sure most of the rest of our village also can set their clocks by her calls!

I know when she hollers (some might call it brays) she is calling me. ‘Cause when she has something to say to the others she whispers. 😉

One morning this past week I woke up to temperatures that were above zero. Bonus! Meant that it was time to clear out some of the old bedding in the Goat Cafe.

I only did one side as I wanted to leave some deep litter to still be providing some additional heat in there. I had to take some out as by spring it would have raised the floor too much! Dottie and MayMay waste A LOT of hay!

It was one heck of a workout! Many, many, MANY tractor buckets later I had it all moved to the compost bin. I happened to let our trucking company know that I needed the bin emptied soon … and got a text back that he’d be right there! Yikes! I got the last load in as he was backing in the far laneway. (We share our compost with friends down the road who mix it with their cattle manure to create fertilizer for their fields. A win-win situation!)

I really should have taken a shot of the newly wood chipped Cafe floor … but I’m pretty sure I just had enough energy to drag myself inside for lunch. I can tell you that Darby approved – and asked if I would pretty please put a new bale of wood chips in her barn too.

Upon which she had herself a glorious bath in the great smell of it all.

The chickens have continued to increase their laying habits. Many days I am bringing in three eggs in the morning. Lily however … has decided that her laying time is sometime in the afternoon. Wish I knew even within half an hour of when she was laying … as by the time I am finding them they are frozen.

I almost think she is doing it on purpose because we scramble up the eggs that are frozen and bring them back out as a warm treat for the flock. Wily bird! Tweedle Dee is making sure there is no Lily below her before showing her face! 😉

So, we’re hanging in here. Each winter I remember more quickly how challenging it is to keep everything running smoothly. Even on a little hobby farm like ours it is pretty much a day’s work to feed the flerd, clean the flerd shelters, move bedding and manure, grab some lunch and then get back out there to repeat it all for the afternoon rounds. I love the fresh air. I love the exercise. I love the quiet time with them all. I could pass on the stress of hoping they are warm enough and counting and counting again to make sure we have enough bales of hay and straw to get us through to spring. I think though that most of my neighbours – on farms big and small all up and down our road – would say the same thing. And all of us would conclude by saying we wouldn’t want to live any other way! 😉

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