What the Heck?
January 14, 2017, 10:43 pm
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January 14, 2017

We are having a very crazy winter. Usually we are buried in snow and most things are frozen solid. Sure we do get a usual “January Thaw” but this year is nuts! This view from my living room window, shows the snow all melted and the effects of an inch and a quarter of rain. We went from frozen to mud in just two days!

Our pond is now full. The pasture however, does not usually contain a river. It is making things difficult. Traversing the mud just takes the fun out of everything. Even the dog is a muddy mess, as well as, my boots…and we won’t even talk about the breezeway.

Maple syrup season is just six weeks away for us in a normal year. This year however, is far from normal. It is making me second guess too many things. I have decided to continue to do what is normal without paying attention to the weather. I get peace of mind that way. But I will say…it sure makes sled riding a whole lot tougher!

Settled In
January 11, 2017, 11:21 pm
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January 11, 2017

Tonight, after chores, I walked through the barns just to look at the animals. Stalls are cleaned during evening chores. I add fresh straw when needed. Usually I am on the run, feeding, cleaning, bedding and headed off to the next job…sometimes the one that pays most of the bills. Tonight, however, I took time to pause just to reflect on my simple farm life. I do love it so very much.

These pigs are almost ready to leave for freezer camp. They, of course, don’t know. They are just fixing their bed like every night. They had a good day eating, playing on the tire swing and rooting around. Now, it’s time for bed. They will continue to enjoy a stress free life. They are warm, fed and comfortable. I make sure of that, it’s my job, no…it’s my passion.

The results of my labors can be seen in my fields, my livestock and my smile. I appreciate this farm life. I thank God that he has let me find my place in the universe. I get to enjoy every single day surrounded by my animal charges and embraced with the love only a family can provide. So, talk about being settled in … I sure am!

Piling up the Benefits
January 5, 2017, 2:03 pm
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January 5 2017

Yesterday, in a bitter cold windy day, I pushed up the manure pile. I use this dry stack area to compost all of our manure. I dump wheelbarrows until I can’t close the gate. I then push the piles up and mix it in a bit with the skid steer. Yesterday, the steam rolled out of the pile as I disturbed it, with a fog that I couldn’t see through! That pile is working hard, let me tell you.

The pile is a mix of animal manures and lots of straw, old hay and some sawdust. The whole thing breaks down and turns to rich compost. The rotting action does slow a little in this cold time of year, but it still works like a charm. By the time I have to push up the wheelbarrow piles, the main pile will have shrunk down by a few feet. I root around in there with the skid steer bucket, somewhat turning the pile. This action seems to make the pile decompose much quicker.

I would not do quite so much mixing, if it weren’t for my big orange shovel (AKA skid steer) That thing makes quick work of all manure management issues. I have quite a bit to manage, so I welcome the help it gives me. This pile and many like it are the basis for my farm’s fertility. It’s free for the gathering, just one more benefit that piles up around here.

It’s That Kind of a Day!
January 4, 2017, 8:10 pm
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January 4, 2017

After some warm wet days, the temperature has fallen into the basement again. The mud however, has not frozen yet. Stepping into the quagmire made for interesting¬† pant legs. They froze like a couple of cow bells. I couldn’t get my zippers to move, but it was good to take them off. I’ll beat the mud off once it dries out. Some WD-40 won’t hurt either!

The wind blew sideways. The air was cold. I wore an extra shirt, but the animals didn’t seem to mind at all. The sheep were most especially oblivious. They laid on the grass, chewing their cud the whole time that I did my chores. The rest of my barnyard critters just watched me going from place to place not caring for one minute that it was bitter cold outside.

We have had a nice winter here in Northeast Ohio so far this winter. Although we have had some snow to plow, much of our winter snow has fallen in the form of rain. You don’t have to shovel rain, but you do have to navigate all that mud!