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There is always a trade off

November 22, 2010

Still snowing…and now the cold (for us) air is approaching.

We have lots of gray days here in the Pacific Northwest, but days like these are really gray.

The snow is about the best insulator I have found for crops still in the garden.  We’re still harvesting beautiful bok choy, with the snow I don’t need to harvest it before the freeze.  About half the time though, we get cold and dry weather with no snow cover, and that means many crops have to be harvested, and all my root crops have to be hilled with soil for freeze protection.

As much as I like the snow for garden insulation, it makes every other chore on the farm harder.  And it creates chores that require immediate attention.  Like the electric net fencing, which does not fare well in our heavy, wet snows.  Last week, we barely had 2 inches of snow and the fence was flat.  The sheep were tooling around by morning because overnight the fence was flattened.  So each day this needs to be checked.  The snow doesn’t always stick to the wires, it just depends on the temperature, but I still have to check.  Another chore not on the list.

All the snow needs to be shaken off.  The best way to do this without harming the fence, is to grasp the vertical plastic strings and shake off the snow.  Well, actually the first thing to do is unplug the energizer… .  Resist the temptation to grasp the horizontal electric strings which could damage the fine wires and weakening the fence for future uses.

Other chores that need doing now, are feeding the cows.  I don’t have to spend much time hilling the root crops with the snow, but instead of simply building a paddock and moving the cows to the next stockpiled grass, I have to haul hay to them.  And with them eating dry feed, they need water everyday now.  No four-day stretches between water trough filling now, and by tomorrow I will be chopping ice.  Trade offs.

Hank the chore cat.

On a lighter note, Hank is still here, he leaves now and then for a day or two and gives us a start when he isn’t in the barn in the a.m.  But I have been plying him with a daily raw egg for breakfast.  Hope it works 😉

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Tammy permalink
    November 23, 2010 5:30 am

    I thought your cows stayed in for the winter? How do you make that transition? I’ve seen your posts of barrels and things to help your watering chores take less time but they probably don’t work in freezing temp. How do you manage that? Very interested!

    • November 23, 2010 5:43 am

      Tammy, the snow will go away soon, we aren’t in an area that stays snow covered all winter or even frozen for that matter. So once the snow goes away I will continue grazing my last stockpiled pasture before I bring the cows in. Unless of course it stayed this way then I would bring them home. Otherwise it’s easier this way for now. I don’t have to worry about their water too much, I’ll just replenish their trough, ans with a large round (4″ or so) limb in the trough it doesn’t freeze as fast as if the surface wasn’t broken. As for the chickens, their water will freeze overnight and thaw by day.

  2. November 23, 2010 6:46 am

    It sure enough would stick here this morning at -30*F.

    • November 23, 2010 6:48 am

      Linda, I am soooo glad it doesn’t get that cold here! What’s cold for us is summer to you 🙂

  3. November 23, 2010 8:22 am

    Beautiful snow. Our weather report for this afternoon is a huge big bad wind brining in more snow. Then it is suppose to very cold but nice on Thanksgiving day. If that does happen we are hoping to start combining the corn.

    Hank is really a pretty boy. I hope he hangs around better. If I were a cat an egg would do the trick! 🙂


    • November 23, 2010 12:28 pm

      Linda, now it’s finally done snowing and is just cold, so at least the wind has stopped for now which feels much better without the wind chill.

      We keep hoping Hank will stay, he is such a good cat – we still can’t believe he is 7 and still catting around.

  4. November 23, 2010 10:11 am

    I love snow but we never get too much here. I complained about the 3 inches we got last winter – nothing compared to your snowfall. Lovely pictures on your blog! Stacey x

    • November 23, 2010 12:30 pm

      Stayathomemummy, thanks! The snow sure is pretty, makes everything look like a greeting card – until it melts. 😦

  5. November 23, 2010 10:41 am

    Trade off are accepted here as well. Althought I’ll admit I dislike the bitter windchills that sometimes come with winter here in MT, we simply remind ourselves it’s only for a season.

    All the animals have good shelters, plenty of bedding, feed and water and we have plenty of firewood to keep our home cozy and warm :o)

    Wishing you and your family the Happiest of Thanksgivings, we sure have a lot to be thankful for on our end :o)


    • November 23, 2010 12:31 pm

      Kelle, we are thankful too, it doesn’t last too long here. And when people complain about the rain, I just look the other way, I like the green surroundings all year round.

      Have a great Thanksgiving and stay warm and cozy 🙂

  6. November 23, 2010 10:47 am

    Loved the snow covered spruce tree’s, we are freezing at night off and on but most of the time, its still rain here mainly. What a cute photo of hank, I understand the chore cat, my little girl called purdeta has to follow us everywhere we go.

    • November 23, 2010 12:35 pm

      JADOTF, usually we have rain this time of year too, with a few cold bursts each month. But I’ve seen winters too where we had snow from mid-November to March so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it isn’t one of those years!

      Hank, is such a trudger- he has escort every wheelbarrow and hay bale to its proper place. And of course, he is always underfoot! Goofball!

  7. November 23, 2010 12:50 pm

    I am inundated with the white stuff myself, but at least it is good for the aquifer. I just discovered the “roofrake” it has been a tremendous improvement over the standard shovel in keeping roofs clear of snow, I highly recommend it to anyone who has not discovered it yet and lives in snow country

  8. November 23, 2010 1:02 pm

    That second picture with the pines is just absolutely BEAUTIFUL!

  9. Jennifer Krieger permalink
    November 23, 2010 2:30 pm

    That picture of the trees is a beaut!

  10. Eliza J permalink
    November 23, 2010 4:32 pm

    Great blog and beautiful pictures….I am not looking forward to Winter weather in the Northeast…I’m rather tired of gray November weather already.

  11. Linda Zoldoske permalink
    November 23, 2010 4:34 pm

    I appreciate your posts so much! So much information I didn’t know! Thanks!

  12. kay keen permalink
    November 24, 2010 10:11 am

    The snow is so pretty, I know it is a mess, but We really need it, Thanks for the blog really enjoy them all. have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Thanks kay

  13. kay keen permalink
    November 24, 2010 10:16 am

    The snow is so pretty, I know it is a mess, but we really need it, Thanks so much for sharing this I really enjoy your blog , hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving, Kay

  14. Norma permalink
    November 25, 2010 4:53 pm

    Wow, looking at your beautiful snowy pictures is a treat for me! I’ve never seen snow for
    real and can’t image the day to day living with it.
    Here in oz it rarely gets below 10 Celsius in the daytime in Winter.
    Presently, we are having 30 each day with the cicadas singing. Some Summer days can get over 40. Can’t image Christmas with all that, but it is VERY pretty.
    We worry about heat stroke. Give my guinea pig frozen water bottles and always nag my children about carrying water, and the signs and symptoms of it.

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