It’s snowing, gusting 40mph outside, and feels like 3 degrees… the tractor’s warm, the chicks are sleeping and the cats are sprinting between buildings.
Basically, it’s perfect.
Especially now that I’m inside.
This morning I was feeding our gorgeous goats on the stanchion… (trying to get them trained.) Both gals are getting bigger, their bulges especially pronounced on the right side where the babes typically hang out. Eyes closed, I was able to feel the bumping of tiny goats inside both girls.
Salix and Ari (the goats) are sweet, they are beautiful, and getting used to our routine. During our recent “Members Meet and Greet” they stood calm and let many little kid hands pet their first goat. The goats are due to kid this next month. Being a mix of Alpine Saanaen and Oberhasli, and bred by a Nubian buck, I can’t wait to see what goofy perfect kids they have. If you need an endorphin fix before winter is over, you’ll have to visit the tiny goats when they decide to arrive. I might just start sleeping in the barn. (Haystacks, mangers, in between the sheep, under the heat lamps with the chicks… there are so many good options) I went to the grocery store a few weeks ago, and the woman at the checkout sweetly asked “Were you in a barn today?” (I looked down at my clothes guessing what gave me away…yes…) “You smell like cows.” ( …and sheep?… ) “no. just cows.” I love Maine.
In the world of other exciting tiny warm and fluffy things… we’ve just moved our 50-some chicks into the barn. These gals are set to start laying in June, so we’ll be able to provide visitors with a consistent source of delicious eggs. Ken Hagar built beautiful new digs for the baby flock of layers. Seven weeks old now, they actually look like… chickens. Feet, feathers and sass. Come to the farm and you’ll see the Plymouth Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Americaunas and Silver Laced Wyandottes in the barn. We can place bets on who is the second rooster… I’m confident about the Plymouth Rock… but the Americauna rooster is eluding me. Winner gets to… eat either of the roosters if they get too sassy. Just kidding…?
Apparently it’s February. Which means that my fingers are clumsily numb and typing, my eyes are watching clouds of snow devour the barn, my sweater is full of hay, and my head is months ahead. We’re starting onions for spring planting… AND hiring for Teen Ag 2013! Check out the Employment and Internships page for full descriptions and applications. Scope out our facebook page to see how much fun we had last year. Two of last year’s crew members have been coming back, visiting and working on the farm sporadically this winter, selling the hay they harvested and stacked for the winter. So… I think that’s a good sign for the years of Teen Ag to come!
Our flock of sheep are due to lamb beginning in May. Before that, we’ll be shearing the whole bunch in preparation. When the grass gets growing i’ll be happy to send them out to the fields, where our Teen Ag Crew will manage their pasture rotation.
Cows. Cows. Cows. So I learned something about cows. (Actually all the time… Our farming partners at Green Bounty Farm never leave the farm without teaching me something… or a lot of somethings) We have a herd of their Angus and Belted Galloway yearlings wintering at the farm right now. Unless it’s raining they’re usually posing near the rock wall behind the barn… so on snowy days like today… well… they get snowy. And, as I learned, it’s a good sign when the snow stays atop their backs instead of melting. Pity them not. It means they’re well insulated and gaining weight the way they ought… they’re thick enough that they’re not leaking hard hay-earned body heat. So that’s something.
Basically, you should:
Come into the barn. Read some Annie Dillard to our pregnant sheep. Soak up some animal joy on these cold days.