Now it feels like the weather is just messing with us, swinging from what feels like spring,
back into deep winter conditions in a matter of hours. We had a couple of days of sun, the pastures started looking a little green, and now we’re back under a couple of inches of snow and the thermometer fell below twenty several nights this week. These conditions have been tough for our new arrivals on the farm, but the lambs and chicks have been holding up so far. We have added about as much heat as I think we can in the brooder house, and the tiny chicks in there have found the warm spots and are staying pretty comfortable. The lambs have also found cozy hiding spots to keep out of the wind and snow, and as long as they keep well fed, they can withstand these difficult conditions. We have been paying some extra attention to getting newborn lambs dried off as quickly as is possible, trying to cut down on the time that they are out in the wind while they are still wet. The mother ewe usually does a great job licking them off, but we have providing a little extra drying, and we’ve hustled them inside the jugs and out of the weather.
We started setting up seasonal electric fences for the beef herd this week, even though conditions and the weather gave no indication that the grazing season might be only weeks away. We have been working to shift the balance of fencing from seasonal temporary fences to permanent high-tensile fences, cutting down on the amount of fencing that has to be put up every spring and taken down every fall. This lightens the spring work load a bit, at a time when there are so many other projects to complete that we are always looking for extra time and workers just to keep up with all of it. However, those permanent high-tensile fences are a big investment, and stay in place for many many years, and we need to be sure that we know exactly how we want them setup before we build them. This often means that we are going to invest quite a bit of time and effort into a fence location before building the high-tensile fence, clearing brush, grading and leveling, and trying to get everything in a condition that can last for the next ten or fifteen years.
the greenhouse, and now we are just waiting for the magic of germination to happen. Alex converted two old refrigerators into germination chambers this winter, and we have been using those to encourage more robust germination whenever possible. The greenhouse is filling up, and with snow still on the ground, it seems like we may run into a little bind getting veggie beds tilled and prepped in time to get our beautiful starts in the ground in a timely manner. We had some pretty intense wind here at the farm on Wednesday night, and the plastic cover on the hardening-off house next to the greenhouse was mostly torn off. Our veggie starts typically move to the hardening-off house for a bit before planting in the fields, so the repair of that building is another project that we are hoping to get taken care of as quickly as we can. The work continues next week, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it all goes.