Have you started to notice the days getting longer? When we ended the work day yesterday at 5 pm, Karen looked outside and said "Well since it is undeniably light out, I can go take the laundry in!" Welcome February. Time to get busy, time to fit all the things back in along all the edges, time to stretch into the lengthening days. Time to get excited. Is it true that we have only six or seven weeks until we start the greenhouse? Chopping up an onion, I start itching to feel again the odd shape of a tiny onion seed dropping out from between my fingers, over and over and over again.
What's happening over and over this month is freezing and thawing. The pipes froze and unfroze and so did the parking lot. Early in the month, blustering wind ripped the "skin" off of our new hay house. Goodbye, protection for the cow's feed! Time to fit a tarp over it, clamber over the bales and weigh it down tightly on each side, and do it over again when it inevitably blows off. Back to the old way, try again next year at a "better" solution.
After the hay house skin ripped, the deep freeze froze the cow's "frost free" water line. (Say that ten times fast). We tried all our tricks - (hint: boiling water and blankets), and when our tricks didn't work, we realized just how far from the source the frozen blockage must be. We decided to haul them water the old-fashioned way. Warm up a hose, fill up a tank, hope the cows drink their fill before it freezes again! What this means for us: lots of de-frosting all the pieces of the watering system in all the ways we know how (point a multi-fuel heater at it, put it in the bathroom overnight, hang it a certain way where the water drains and doesn't freeze in the hose ...) As always, we're watchers of the weather. The cows, for their part, remain their deeply grounded cow-energy selves. Slow. Moo-y when they want more hay. Happy to stand close to each other when it's cold. Curious to lick us with their rough tongues while we fill their water tank.
That's January. When we can't get all the way down to the root of the problem, we find another way around, like a carrot does when it hits a hard spot in it's targeted path through the soil. We take that same old sweet potato soup and add some exciting toppings for intrigue and flair. And in February, we'll gather our energy to spring up farmin' full steam.
We hope you enjoy the winter bounty,
Your Farmer, Zoe
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Rebecca, John, & Sunny)