The heading photo at the usual spot is showing much the same picture as last Monday and the conditions are similar. Just colder and a lot windier. We had a lot of ice around last week. Really it was mostly a frozen crust on the snow, but it was making it rather difficult to walk round. Horses, cows and sheep were alright as they had either weight or pointy feet to break up the frozen crust. But then of course when it warmed everywhere it became muddy if traveled on to frequently. For the first time since last September our laneway became impassable due to mud but we made huge grooves and a real mess of it before giving up. Now though, we are, like everywhere else, quite frozen up again so at least we will be able to drive in and out.
The animals are doing alright in this weather, a bit, or a lot uncomfortable at times but pretty healthy for it. The horses have all put on weight since the fall when they were a bit underweight. A regular ration of crimped oats and corn is helping a lot. The chickens seem alright but the egg laying rate has been quite variable and consistently so though the tendency over the past few weeks has been to fewer eggs being laid. Not really sure just why, as they have had plenty of light to give them their 14 to 16 hours of light each day and their quarters are reasonably comfortable. The changeable weather is not likely too good for them and especially the wet though we do keep them inside when it is really bad out like today. We have been extra careful to make sure that they have clean water all the time and plenty of food. It is a good thing for them to run out of food completely at a few times a week and to go hungry for a couple of hours but we are not doing that now figuring that they need extra just for body maintenance. They are outside as often as the weather allows. Very cold and wet and very windy are conditions for keeping them shut up. Especially for the flock in the more exposed location.
We got the William Dam Seeds catalogue in the mail this week so the 2016 growing season is now begun. We’ll be planning which varieties to get, counting out the seeds we have saved and planning the garden layout and the work to be done. We’ll have to try to do more repairs to machinery and tools as the weather warms in March. We likely won’t have much if anything actually seeded into trays until at least mid March at the earliest.
We have to see what changes if any that we need to make to our CSA structure. We may have to increase the share price but not certain yet, we may decide to get some meat chicken chicks and some turkey poults t o raise up for the fall, so that will require some careful planning and much work to make ready housing and pasture area.
Hopefully the winter will be generally mild. We have had enough precipitation though rains, once the ground has thawed in March, will be very useful.