January had some cold days. And some not so cold days. There was a thaw every week which threatened to flood the cellar each time. And then there was some very cold weather which helped us bring the cellar to it's sweet spot - in the 30's with humidity in the 90s. But it didn't really seem like winter until just this past week.
When we weren't keeping an eye on the cellar or feeding hay to the cows in the Snyder Farm barnyard, most of our attention was turned towards looking at what happened last season. Ellen spent some time devising a new survey and then compiling the (many) results into a form that we can use to guide future decision-making. Abbe spent much of her time making sure all of our financial record-keeping was up-to-date and correct from 2018. Karen kept the products stocked in the cellar, and I spent much of my time figuring out membership, production, and equipment stats. We are nearly done with all of this counting and re-counting (keep an eye out for a bright-shiny pictorial wrap-up that we will send you in mid-February) and look forward to turning our attention to in-depth planning for the season to come.
And, just when we thought we might dodge a bullet and never get any snow during any actual winter months, the weather forecast turned exciting; Cold and then snow, then ice, and then much more cold. Since it was a planned vacation weekend for me, I taught Ellen how to plow (with no snow) before I left, handed her the keys, reviewed what to do in an emergency, and high-tailed it up to the Green Mountains. While I was enjoying some r & r, Ellen turned the key, cleared the first snow of the winter, fed the cows, and made sure the cow fence wasn't damaged by the ice. Then, declaring victory, she went home to make a fire and take a nap. Just like a farmer in winter; Counting, re-counting, feeding cows, plowing snow, eating roots, hunkering, and reading by the fire.
We hope you enjoy the winter bounty,
(for Karen, Abbe, and Ellen)