Sunday, February 24, 2019

February Walkabout

The English language may need a new word for WET. Or, at the very least some new measure of degree. Because it is no longer adequate to say “it is wet out there”.

the wet weather gives Mrs. Cardinal a "bad hair day"

It is a sodden, slippery, mucky mess.  Springs have sprung where they’ve never been seen before . “Wet-weather” creeks continue to rise. The little drainage ditches along the side of the road have become whitewater rapids. And, there are ponds where there used to be hayfields. I fully expect to see Noah (and his Ark) floating downstream at any moment.

2018 was the wettest year ever in some parts of Virginia. And, it’s looking like 2019 is going to be more of the same. If this continues, some serious changes will have to take place. Meaning, we may have to give actual consideration to all those jokes about aquaculture. Maybe we should seriously consider growing rice. Perhaps tilapia?

There is never much to report in February. I spend too much time trying to overcome my loathing of the shortest month. I’ve tried for years to express exactly what it is that causes my issues but haven’t ever been able to pinpoint the source. I might be close. So, check out… at the end of the month. My new-ish website is where I’ve been posting some of the other stuff I write that isn’t farm-related. I hope you’ll visit and read. Or, come show me some Facebook love here: Barbara Womack-writer on Facebook (be sure to “LIKE”)

Back to February on the farm…

We have already established that it is wet. (and I don’t like it)

when it's not snowing or raining...
the wind is BLOWING
today it is supposed to gust up to 50mph!
In addition to all the rain, we have had 8 ice events since November. EIGHT! No wonder there are still branches down from that first storm. It hasn't been dry long enough to do a proper clean-up!
icicles on the apple tree
nighttime ice
chickadee on icicle feeder
through the front porch trellis
iced hydrangea
ice-encased morning glory seeds
maple buds and icicles
icicle feeder
redbud icicle

ANOTHER ice event

woodpecker in backyard

Let’s see…
CUTE twins

the creep feeder works!
big ewe can't get in and eat all the feed

Lambing season is done. I can’t say I am thrilled with the outcome this year. There are only 18 lambs. The fewest we have had in years. This is disconcerting (and disappointing) when demand is at an all-time high. But, the few lambs that we do have are hale and hearty. Although, I am “co-parenting” one lamb. His arrival into the world was fairly traumatic, and I didn’t think the ewe would survive. She did, but for some reason, she still allows me to “help” with her offspring. I could do without the extra treks to the barn in the dark and wet...but, oh, well…the 4H kids will enjoy feeding the bottle baby when they come by for their annual visit next week!

sometimes my bottle-baby
has a drinking buddy 

During the only 3 days (I don’t think I am exaggerating) that it wasn’t raining, we actually got some farm work done. First, we moved the pullets to the henhouse. They spent a couple of days in confinement and have now assimilated with the rest of the flock and we’re getting a fair number of pullet eggs every day.

these girls do not want to move
check out their expressions!

moving to the henhouse

loading hens before breakfast
Then, we culled the old hens and took them down to the zoo. For the record, it was indeed a one-way trip.  Ordinarily, we make a day out of the trip to the zoo, since the owner allows us free access in return for our contribution of “local food” for the big cats. But, this year it was just too cold and mucky (even at the zoo).

February hay

We spent Valentine’s Day hauling hay. (is that romantic, or what?) I really didn’t think we were going to find a dry day to get that job completed. Thankfully, the hay guy was able to get the wagon out of the barn and up to the road so we could pick it up. (the squishy conditions made it somewhat of a gamble) I am happy to report it didn’t start raining until after the barn was stacked to the rafters once more. And, perhaps the best part of all…we were able to unload (and stack in the barn) the entire load by ourselves.  I have to admit, I had some serious doubts about our abilities and endurance. It was slightly daunting to stand on top that hay wagon, looking down at all those hay bales and know that much of the work depended on ME  getting MY act together. (Karma and Tess both attempted to lend a paw)

from the top of the wagon
(see Tess at the bottom of the wagon?)

getting started

"helpful" Karma

taking the wagon back
(only took 1 1/2 hour to unload and stack!)

When you make your living on a tiny piece of land like we do, hand-work is a given. In many cases, there is no equipment available for small-scale agriculture. This has never been a problem. Just get in there and “gimme a hand”  Read this. My grandmother always used to tell me that I had capable hands. I believed her, and we’ve managed to get a lot of things done despite our lack of equipment and/or labor force.

But, for the past year, my “capable hands” (also elbows, knees, feet, and ankles…) have been failing me. They are weak. They hurt. All. The. Time. Nothing helps (yes, I know about turmeric, CBD oil, and all that stuff). I’ve done research, went to the doctor and have been waiting 3 months on a rheumatology appointment. (3 weeks to go!)  The possibilities are somewhat worrisome and the outlook uncertain. It would appear changes are coming to the hill, I’m just not real sure what they are.

 But, we got the hay stacked.

In other health-related news, the Boss’ six-month scan looked good. So, we can put that worry aside (sort of) for a bit and attempt to concentrate on other things. Like the Market…

There are 5 weeks until Opening Day of the Market.

Wait a minute…

5 weeks until Opening Day?

Okay, typing that sentence was a startling revelation! I don’t think we’ve made even one preparation. No. Wait. I did get seeds ordered. And, the first batch of broiler chicks arrived Thursday morning.
day-old broiler chicks

eight weeks to fresh chicken!


5 weeks?


Guess I better close this post and go do…something, anything…to get focused and ready for the 2019 Market season. I can’t believe it will be #22 for us! Is it just me, or does that seem like a lot? It is a lot. We've done this a long time! (no wonder I'm falling

Thanks for stopping by.

another rain/snow/ice event
made for nice photo ops

I hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

it was nice to see the sun...set

and a pretty "blue sunrise"
 Here are a few more sky shots for good measure...

Come back and “visit” again next month!