Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Time to Hibernate?

Sugarloaf Mountain is out there...really!
When the cold, damp, grey days of late November arrive, hibernation seems like a good option.

A very good option.  

Just find a warm, dry, cozy place and sleep ‘til Spring….yeah, I could do that!


 Well, I guess we could hibernate…but, it would make any sort of success next season more than a bit of a challenge. The “off-season” routine is crucial to THE SEASON.

Cold, grey days mean the woodstove is cranking
I know I have written about the end of the Market season before.  But, the cycle of life continues. Read this...
As the end of the Market approaches and the time changes, it gets a little harder to stay focused and upbeat about vegetable growing and harvesting.  Picking lettuce and greens with chilled fingers can be an arduous task. The dark, grey, cold days of November have us feeling a little dull and looking for a warm and cozy place.   I can really understand why some animals hibernate in the winter season.  

But, the final Market day of the season is always bittersweet.  It will be several months before we see some of the customers again. We will miss the cheery exchanges and the odd and random conversations.  On the other hand…it’s COLD, the days are getting shorter and shorter…and honestly, we are a more than a little bit tired. The conversation on that last Market day always centers on our activities, or lack thereof, during the Winter.  Many figure we must vacation, go someplace warm, sit by the fire, do a lot of reading…take a lot of naps….in a word…hibernate.

However…hibernation is not an option. There is much to be done even in the “off season”, although things move at a slightly more relaxed pace (most of the time).

After a little break for Thanksgiving, we’re back to selling farm products for the rest of the winter.  That means that we’re seeding and planting and (can you believe it?) weeding during the winter.  While the weeding seems like some sort of injustice when there is snow on the ground, the hens really, really appreciate the fresh greens in the middle of winter. I enjoy the opportunity to work in the sun and warmth inside the greenhouses and hoophouses on cold days.  It might not be a trip to the islands, but it is warm and I feel productive at the end of the day.

While the pastures and the gardens seem to be dormant…there are signs of life out there.  The garlic is looking great!  One warm-ish day during the winter, we will do a little weeding in anticipation of another great crop in ’13.

the chicks aren't CUTE anymore

The layer chicks are growing well and have lost most of their baby fuzz. It’s hard to believe that they will be laying little pullet eggs by the first of March.

While the Boss’ “to-do” list seems slightly less involved this year…check out the story of the ultimate henhouse he built last year.  Read this...  and THIS... …there are still things that need repair and revision.  Since I spent the last TWO “off seasons” painting the inside of the house, I am somewhat at a loss when it comes to the next “big” project.   With all the painting done, I suppose I should focus on organization this season. But, then again…

I bought the first of the lambing supplies on my trip to town today. I need a few other supplies, and we’ll have to get a load of hay soon. If Flo’s enormous girth is any indication, this year’s lambchop crop should be big…really big. (I DO hope that it’s triplets in there and not one ginormous lamb)  We only have about 6 weeks to the first due date. With the majority of the ewes due to lamb within a four or five day window…things may get a little dicey in the barn.  Hmmm…just thought of a few more supplies that we should probably have.

Despite the fact that staring at the computer screen for any length of time leaves me yawning or indulging in far too much caffeine…there is still bookwork to do, all those photos to sort, and more than a little reading/writing to do as I try to stay abreast of all the new and amazing things that one can do online.

                              …and the seed catalogs have started arriving…

So…this year…I’m thinkin’….we don’t have TIME to hibernate…

          Why…it’s only 129 days until OPENING DAY of the Market 2013!

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