Winter Weather Warning
I’ve given up on checking the weather forecast today because our snow total predictions depend on: is it cold? How cold is it? Are we looking at the European weather model or one of a dozen others? And are we going by what it says now or what it said an hour ago? If I wait another hour or two we’ll be back to the original forecast. So I just pile on the layers and head out to do chores.
We did the usual, hay to the sheep, fluffy puppy got some hard boiled eggs with his kibble, broke out the ice and refilled water buckets. Then the extra stuff because one thing the weather forecasts agree on is it’s going to be cold, snowy and the wind chills will be brutal.
Extra for the weather meant making sure the automatic waterers were thawed and flowing. To help that along we give the animals minerals, yesterday it was the bachelor cattle, today the sheep, tomorrow the cows and then we’ll start over again. They get extra thirsty and have a good drink.
We also filled the cattle hay feeders. We always use hay feeders to keep the hay clean until they eat it. Cows will waste an astonishing amount of hay by manuring and standing all over it before they use it for a bed. With the feeders there is some waste, mostly the outer layer that’s weathered and some unpalatable weeds. But that will be turned into cattle bedding once the feeder is emptied and moved to a fresh location to be refilled.
In a year or two the spot the feeder stood on will look like a crop circle, the mulch of old hay will shelter the hay seeds dropped by the bale that have been well fertilized by all the manure the cows supplied. The result is a almost perfect circle of verdant lush pasture. Keeping hay feeders on the move all winter is the easiest way to renovate a pasture.
Then we took a bale of first cutting hay and unrolled it in a sheltered corner for the cows so everyone will have a dry spot to lay on up off the snow.
All this for the cows was made possible, ridiculously easy even, because once we’d loaded 3000+ pounds of hay on the hay wagon to take out to them they arrived at the barn for their morning drink. Tom hurried and shut the gate behind them and we had a trouble free hour to drive through gates without a mob standing in the way, and leave them open for the return trip. We could drive through the uphill and easy to get stuck in spots without having to stop and wait for a cow to decide to moooove on over. Bonus was being able to unroll the hay without someone standing on it. Or digging in their head to toss it around like it’s a matador and they’re fierce fighting bulls complete with horns. Sometimes we must just live right.
Dinner is simmering away on the woodstove, squash soup made with a nice organic butternut squash I found this week grocery shopping along with organic chicken broth and apples. I slipped in a few sweet potatoes along with sage, nutmeg and garlic. By lunch time it’ll be ready to serve with fresh hot biscuits.
A load of laundry is hanging to dry so I’m pretty much done with work for the day until this evening when it’s chore time again. I have a book to read, a baby sweater on the needles and a quilt to finish quilting the border so I won’t be bored but if I do find myself with nothing to keep me busy I’ll just take a nap.
Stay warm! Candy
Blizzard Baked Beans
1 ¼ cup dry Navy or Great Northern Beans
1 chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrots
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Bit of pepper
Soak beans overnight in 3 cups water
Rinse and drain
Mix ingredients in 1 ½ quart casserole dish with 2 cups of water
Bake covered at 325*F for 4 ½- 5 hours, stirring occasionally.