Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Ready for Winter

During the growing season when the days are longer, the farm activities and animals are spread out over the whole farm. The steers are rotationally grazed through the back pasture, and there are two flocks of chickens there also, the meat chickens and a laying flock. Aegis Thor the livestock guardian dog lives with them to keep the chickens alive. There are meat hogs in the pasture south of the house and the milk cows are rotationally grazed through their area next to the hayfield. The horses are rotationally grazed also, through a series of four paddocks.

When we get into winter mode the back pasture is shut down to rest and the laying flock and dog are moved up close to the house. The meat birds and hogs are in the freezer. The horses are moved off of their pasture rotation and into a nearby dry lot where they are fed hay. The milk cows are on their winter lot and the steers are in the meadow in the woods, an area that is the most protected from the weather.

In winter the farm has a more intimate feel. All of the animals are pastured close to the house and we are hay feeding twice a day. The air is filled with the smell of the wood stove and the sound of Lane splitting wood. Nights are long and we bring the TV downstairs into the bedroom to snuggle up under the covers and watch movies, old favorites and those brought home on loan from the library, a luxury we have no time to indulge in during the growing season.

I used to dislike the cold and the short days. But now I find that with this lifestyle we have chosen I have become more in tune with the seasons, and after the busyness of spring and summer and fall, I am ready for the dormancy of winter. Ricki

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