“That storm hovered over us like a marsh hawk, didn’t it? It was the heavy, wet stuff. The skid steer got stuck on the farm road. The horses got out, and no wonder. When I went to check on one of the dairy cows on Wednesday night, the electric fence lines were coated with an inch of ice, dragging them down into the drifted, heavy snow. Mostly, we got lucky. The other animals were either in barns or were content to stay hunkered down in the hedgerow. The cow I was checking on did not calve in the heart of the storm. And our power stayed on, though everyone in the village had to go without all day yesterday. No power would have made things much harder. It is no fun to milk 19 cows by hand, now that we no longer have those giant milker’s forearms and hard, muscled hands. Ice walkers are a key accessory today, and everyone is carrying a shovel around, clearing paths and doorways before the piles ossify into permanence. Special thanks go to Amy and Jori who braved the storm to make the Wednesday delivery to New York City.
For the friends who are following along at home, yes, Pancake is still in the greenhouse. His relationship with Mary is evolving. Until now Mary was maternally indulgent, no matter what Pancake did. Then, this morning, as he was eating and she was yet again cleaning his face (he has the cleanest face in pig history), Pancake bit her, and Mary snarled and pushed him back. He is still getting fed by hand four or five times a day, but he should start eating on his own soon, and once he’s weaned he’ll go live with the piglets in the covered barnyard.
We’re still wrestling with where to put the sheep this winter….” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.