The year is tiptoeing toward its exit, white and hushed, and here on the farm, it is going happily, peacefully. Amy, Cory and Stephen stuck around for Christmas, and Kelsey and Travis came back just in time to help get things buttoned up before the snow storm hit. This year’s infrastructure improvements mean that storm preparation is not the stressful race it used to be. The beef cattle are in their new covered barnyard now, and their hay is stored in the old metal barn right next door to them, so we no longer have a mad rush to haul hay to them before the farm road becomes impassable. Now we can snowshoe to them if necessary, and, with a pair of hay elevators and a generator in place, one person can get their bales to them without breaking a sweat. Even better, we have a frost-proof automatic watering system set up, so no more freezing the fingers while fiddling with wet hoses. Heaven.
Up in the farmyard, the dairy cows are in their covered barnyard too, enjoying both an automatic water system and big round bales of our late second cut haylage. The winter dysentery is all cleared up, and the cows who were struggling with a bit of mastitis are better, so milking is once again a pleasure instead of a chore. The sheep came up to the barn the night before the snow hit, and are tucked into the base of a pile of loose straw, next to the sows and the dairy calves. I am glad to have them close by. Cold is coming and that makes the coyotes hungry.
There was one sad casualty of this year’s warm fall: the winter leeks rotted in the root cellar, which was 10 degrees warmer than usual, and we threw them to the compost pile this week. But the onions like warm temperatures and are holding well, and so is the garlic, so we are not going to get bored in the kitchen just yet… (Continue reading Kristin Kimball’s Essex Farm Note)