I suppose every season has it's positives and negatives but winter especially is a time of great contrasts. The temperatures may flirt with the 60's one week while plummeting to below zero the next. The snow may fall gently and silently as daylight wanes or a "Noreaster" may come roaring through with howling winds and piles of snow. The bone-chilling cold that produces frozen ponds for the kids to skate on produces frozen water pipes and rock solid water containers here at Lil Bitty Farm. The snow that provides so much fun to kids to sled on produces lots of shoveling here at the homestead. But I wouldn't really want it any other way. I think living in Hawaii would be rather boring.
Yes, the cold does make things more challenging here on our little farm. A little over a year ago Ryan and I installed a water line to the barn so that I wouldn't have to carry water from the house for the animals. Well my new "frost free" hydrant is not turning out to be very frost free. Guess I'll have to come up with some modifications for next year. In the meantime I go back to carrying 5 gallon buckets of water from the basement. At times it has been so cold that the pig's food freezes in their trough before they eat it. Consequently, chipping frozen pig food out of their trough has not been unusual this winter. But that is coming to an end very soon - because they are coming to an end very soon. I take the two remaining pigs to the butcher Monday morning. I felt sorry for the pigs in this cold weather because they don't have a "winter coat" like other animals so I took the time to install a heat lamp for them. But for the most part it appeared as if they could have cared less about the heart lamp. They gave very little evidence of needing or appreciating this artificial heat source. They seem to get along fine, no matter the temperature, as long as they have dry straw to nest in and each other to snuggle up to. Maybell the beef heifer and Thor the goat seem unfazed by the cold as well. As long as they have their "winter coats", dry bedding, feed and unfrozen water they are snug as a bug in a rug.
Even though winter is producing record setting cold, I am preparing for spring.
In between Christmas and New Year's I had some extra shop time I could devote to other projects so I decided to build 7 raspberry supports for the garden and 4 bluebird houses. The raspberry supports, made of locust wood, are simple devices that go in the ground to help support the bramble plants and keep them from going where they don't belong. It will also make picking the luscious berries a lot easier. The blue bird houses will sit atop the fence posts as an invitation to more blue bird families to come and take up residence here at Lil Bitty Farm. The colorful blue bird is a delight to watch and a wonderful partner in keeping unwanted bugs and insects at bay. I'll send pictures of both as spring makes it's entrance in about two months or so.
Until then - stay warm my friends,