“The low temperature of the week, according to our home thermometer, was -12. Barbara got frostbite on her toes while grinding grain. Andy and Peggy, in the office trailer, were bundled so thickly for their desk work I barely recognized them. On the bright side, this cold is festive, right? The ice on the skating pond has been phenomenal. And it has forced us to finish all the deep-winter preparations that can usually wait until January or February.
This week, the barnyard was a mixed-up nativity scene, as we settled everyone into new quarters. The dairy heifers were in the north half of the covered barnyard with two bulls. Now they have the northwest quadrant, with one bull. The milking cows were in the south half, alone. Now they have a trapezoidal southwesterly zone, with the other bull. The young pigs have come down from the sugarbush hill, to occupy the rest of that space, and are happy to be under a roof, with lots of straw. The sheep are in the east barn and will start lambing in February. The young laying hens in the greenhouses were the warmest animals on the farm during the cold, clear weather. The old hens are on the compost pile, which generates its own heat. The horses are on pasture until the beef cattle eat their way through some of the hay stored in the second covered barnyard, but they seemed to know the cold weather was coming, and grew thick, warm coats this year…” (Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.)
- Essex Farm: Calving (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)