As I write this mid morning on Wednesday, winter is doing it’s best at one spectacular last fling. Lots of snow falling, a strong north east wind blowing and the temperature falling slowly but steadily with the prediction of -18C overnight. What do we have ? Seven or eight days ’til the vernal equinox ? The equinox, the start of
the spring season; and with it comes the promise of new growth, new birth, rebirth, a fresh start for us farmers. This will likely be the last of the wintry blasts and though we are probably in for more snow storms they will mostly be short lived and the snow will be gone quick. Friday is going to be warmer so a lot of today’s snow will evaporate then. We have over the past week had a very large amount of the over winter
Chickens are doing better now that the day length is increasing and the weather has mostly been warmer the past week. We have been leaving their door open most days and on the warmest, sunniest days the chickens will wander about outside. The number of eggs laid each day has been increasing though the lay
rate is far below what it could be.
Horses are still doing o.k. and they are putting on more weight though still a bit thinner than they should be. They are not that keen on winter, and would rather be munching nice green grass in a sunny warm June pasture. We are looking at another team for the heavy work and we’ll use our current older team for very
light work. More on a new team next week.
Cows are doing o.k. too though the milkers are a bit down on their milk production. Again the cold weather and not the very best hay. We have had to bring the cows into the barn as they wrecked a gate and their fencing at the one spot. Everything is frozen in and the electric fencing is ineffective with the snow
cover and cold.
The major work done for the vegetable growing department was to recover most of the greenhouse roof with new plastic. The next step is to clean up the greenhouse, build new tables, new trays for growing seedlings and during the next warm spell gather more compost
for our seed starting soil mix.
Maremma or to give the full breed name, Cane da pastore Maremmano-Abruzzese, is a sheep dog breed whose origins are in those northern regions of Italy. They are bred to guard sheep from predators such as wolves, coyotes, other dogs, foxes, hawks and eagles and people trying to steal from the shepherds flock. We
brought home a 14 week old Maremma puppy on Sunday. He has been living with sheep since he was 4 weeks old and as soon as we got him home he was put in with our sheep. He of course seen them as family, as he should. He will bond with the flock and they will be his family to protect. The sheep however did not immediately see it that way though they are slowly coming around to the idea. They are very wary of dog like critters. It is part of their DNA and they have been spooked too many times on pasture over the years by coyotes looking for a warm and woolly meal. We did have to separate the puppy from the lamb he is pictured with as he chewed on the lambs ears. This was likely a puppy thing but not great for this lamb which is an orphaned lamb being bottle fed and still not doing near
as well as he should be. The pup really likes to snuggle with the lambs and sheep but for now the sheep will keep some distance. It is working though.