Some nights are not fun nights

The wet snow is pulling down large limbs.  A huge branch fell on the studio.  It only hit the porch with no damage to the building as far as we can tell, but the tree is forever changed.  We’ll see in the morning the extent of the storm’s impact. The heavy winds and bitter cold have yet to hit. I am shaking inches of wet snow off sagging dogwood branches as I travel the property tonight in the dark. The sheds are collapsing under the weight already, and we’ve been out there for an hour shaking off wet snow from the tarps. I came in to warm my hands and eat some chocolate, before heading out again.

I am ashamed to admit it, but with the sagging tarp roof, some of the hens got wet.  Worried, I turned to the chicken forums where the general consensus seems to be that as long as there is no chilling wind, they should be okay.  I am heading out to hang tarps now around the pen, which is something we usually do every winter but it’s been in the 70s and, well, I used the tarp for the ewes then didn’t put it back.  Yes, I broke a system we’d set up. This behavior is quite defeating for those around me; they find it puzzling and frustrating. When I was a child, my Dad would call it robbing Peter to pay Paul.

On the up side, chickens are relatively hearty animals, and I did fill their crops tonight with plenty of grain, as well as give them fresh straw to rummage in before they flew to the rafters to huddle as a group.  I am still concerned though, and will check on them through the night (since I’ll be up anyway to let the new dog out).

New dog?  Um, maybe. She’s here on a trial basis at the moment. Just to add a whole new level of stress to the day, this newly adopted shelter dog (picked her up twelve hours ago and have ten days to decide) is now launching her German Shepherd/Husky chest and paws up onto the kitchen counters to see what’s available.  Oh my goodness I am coming unraveled!

I hate it when I feel like a bad farmer, but I know this is part of the process for every farmer.  This is how we learn where the holes are. Four inches of wet snow, followed by freezing temps and ice, on top of a string of soaking rains and just after a string of days in the 7os makes for, well, a challenging dance with the environment to say the least.

On a good note, the ram and ewes are on dry beds of straw, and the ducks decided to hole up under the house. The cat is sleeping on his heating pad, the other dog is in his crate fast asleep, and the children are in their beds. Some of the night is in order, more to follow.  Off to tarp the walls!

To morning, sunlight and thawing!



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