Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Longest Month

For well over a week, I really…REALLY...thought we were almost done with February.  I know I mentioned March in a blog post and I informed our Winter customers that our special February lamb sale was coming to an end.

Do you have ANY idea how bummed I was to find that there was more than a week left of the longest/shortest month?

I know I am not alone in my dislike of what is actually the shortest month on our calendar.  There have been many posts in cyber-world about how to deal with the dark, cold, depressing and distressing month.  But, honestly, it doesn’t help to know that  everyone else is struggling, too.

I’ve written about mid-winter before.

Cold temperatures mean all the tiny seedlings must be covered and heated
By the time February rolls around, we’ve placed (and received) all our seed orders for the upcoming season.  It’s really hard to wait to get going on starting all the tiny seedlings that we will need for the year.  However, experience has taught us that there is absolutely NO reason to get too excited…that frost-free date comes fairly late in the Spring here on the hill.  Only the most hardy of crops can be started now. If we go crazy starting seedlings, we will have long, leggy, overgrown seedlings to plant out that will never produce like sturdy, healthy, smaller seedlings will.

Any excitement of the sheep shed has become routine and maintenance.  Oh, I’m not complaining.  Routine and maintenance are a very good thing…particularly in the barn.  Any type of “excitement” also means there are problems. Problems are definitely NOT good.  I’ll take the seemingly boring routine any day!

The plants and soil are planting or weeding

I would love to be able to put in some long hours in the hoophouses.  Really!  The hoophouse is my favorite place to spend some quality time in mid-winter. But, with the frigid overnight temperatures and the gloomy/grey days, this is difficult at best.  Overnight, everything in the hoophouses will freeze solid.  SOLID. If it is sunny, everything will thaw by noon and I can harvest, remove spent crops and even plant things. On cold/grey days this never happens...and I find myself feeling like I am wasting time doing other things elsewhere.

The weather has been fairly uncooperative this season, so I feel like I am really running behind.

This February has been complicated by a number of unique situations.  We have never had two bottle lambs at once.  While the whole “pet lamb” thing always takes an amazing amount of time…two babies create twice as much mess and can be doubly concerning. But, at present, they are thriving.  Then there is the Boss’ recovery.  When just one person is responsible for most of the chores, it honestly seems like NOTHING else gets done. But…we’re getting by…really.

Icicles forming on the wisteria on the front porch

Then, there has been the weather…while any weather complaints I might have would pale in comparison to THREE snowstorms in a row both in the Mid-West and the Northeast (our agricultural brethren have my deepest sympathies), ugh…the little bits of snow/sleet/wintry mix have not been pleasant at all. All the precipitation has added to the already somewhat overwhelming MUD issue.

 As I write, we are under a Winter weather advisory that is bringing freezing rain and wind to our hill.  Icicles make for great photo ops…but, combined with wind can mean serious power outages.  Oh, did I mention that I bought CHICKS yesterday?  Chicks that must be kept warm?   That means that we are spending serious time praying that the power stays on! Living on the the end of the power the wind...and the ice...yes, electricity is ALWAYS a concern.

Thankfully, there are only a couple days left of February.  That small flip of the calendar page will have no bearing on the weather, but let me tell you…it will DEFINITELY have an effect on the outlook here on the hill.

                 …oh…wait…that means that the Market starts in just…37 days...

                                                   …(I am seriously NOT ready!)

 OH…MY….GOODNESS….maybe February isn’t so bad after all!   

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