A very exciting and challenging week. We had a temperature Tuesday early morning of minus 23.7 C. I can’t recall when it was previously his cold, though I am fairly certain that it has been more than 20 years ago. It is a challenge to keep the house
heated at these temperatures and a real strong wind from the west has made it nearly doubly so. We are reasonably comfortable so long as we bundle up a bit, keep the fire in the cookstove well stoked and make sure to have a couple of electric space heaters going when
we are in the house. Still it can be hard to get the temperature over 15 to 18C at times. Cold again, but a little less so Tuesday night, only -18C, and Wednesday morning, still -18C at 8 am but scheduled by the forecasters to go to -8C. It actually made it to nearly -7C. The wind dropped away overnight and by Wednesday at 8am was almost calm though it
picked up again to a moderate breeze later on. Thursday and the temperature is supposed to soar to a balmy -5C or so. Spring is here … or maybe around the corner … or maybe coming … or more likely not, until March the endth at the earliest … , if I don the optimist’s hat. For an interesting, informative perspective on
temperature look this up: http://profmattstrassler.com/2014/01/07/happy-chilly-new-year . We do obsess over temperature sometimes.
The chickens are not really the happiest these days. Most days lately I have kept their door closed for the day. They don’t go out anyway and it does help to keep it a bit warmer. Wednesday being a touch warmer, sunny and with a slight wind, I did leave their door open. Occasionally a hen would come to the door to look outside or to peck at the snow but no one went so far
as to put a foot outside so I might just as well have kept the door closed. The laying rate in this cold weather has dropped way down to about a third some days and then the next day it might be up to 65 %. They will return to their normal high lay rate once the warm weather returns to stay. Egg size has increased as the hens age and some of them have been larger than the
Muscovy duck eggs. They could be categorized as extra, extra large, and we will likely soon see some eggs which will be too big for the carton.
The sheep on nice days will come out, with the single goat, and come up to where the horses are fed. They will look for scraps of crimped oats, of which
there are few, and they
don’t spend too much time there before moving on to lunch, along with the horses, on the horses hay. The horses don’t really mind too much and will tolerate a sheep coming within 2 or 3 feet of their nose. They will stay for quite a while, until early to midafternoon, and then go back to the barn for their own ration of hay, away from the horses.
Aerron always feeds the horses first and gives them maybe an hour to pick away undisturbed before releasing the sheep. The sheep, on those days with extreme temperatures and howling winds, usually decided to stay outside and even if they went out the stay was very short. Basically out, reconnoitre
the situation and right away retreat to the shelter of the barn.
The garden is looking quite covered with snow and the kale is looking very tired now as it has suffered greatly from the effects of cold winter winds and the very low temperatures. Kale would do so much better if we were to protect it in poly-tunnel type structures so that it would
not be exposed to the drying winds. Another item on our “to do” list, and one near the top, because, there are many other vegetables that can be kept through the winter if protected even though the structures are unheated.
Finally: We will need to replace our team of horses this spring and retire “Wimpy” and “Marie” to doing only occasional light work. This will take a while and we will do enquiries of people we know who have an ear to the ground regarding horses. We are looking for a team that has been in harness but it does not really matter to us if they are well trained or not, we’ll soon sort them out. We
should like them as young as we can get, younger is better from the point of view of the length of time we will have them with us. But we will consider a team aged 10 to 15 years. Most important to us will be those sorts of traits that are difficult to describe to someone, our experience will guide us and we will just know after a little time with the horses whether or
not they are for us. So if by chance anyone hears of a team for sale please let us know.