Saturday, 23 March 2013

Spring (has sprung a leak)?

Our snowy little abode in late March
It is day two since the Equinox and while the calender indicates it is officially Spring, there are no signs of Winter's passing yet. Contrarily, I look outside and see small frozen mountains of snow nestled up against the hedges, house and outbuildings from one of the multitudes of winds we've endured this season. When you think about it, the first snow came along in early November and has not abated  since. In fact, I heard somewhere that we got upwards of 6 feet of total snowfall this year - that's a lot of snow! It has made many aspects of maintaining the farm more challenging these past few months, especially on the cattle side of things.

Just the other day when going out to feed the cows, I had to borrow the tractor-snowblower from Michelle's dad, Fraser (yet again), just to clear the road through the pasture enough to put out some bales. By the time i finished blowing snow, went in for a quick lunch and returned to put out some hay bales, it was almost as if i hadn't blown the snow at all, with snow quickly filling the voids. The winds and drifting action have been incredible this year! And it seems to be blowing from all directions, so snow has accumulated in every nook and cranny possible. The massive amounts of snow coupled with the general shortages of hay have forced us away from our bale grazing regimen as well. However, overall, we are impressed with how the cattle look, all things considered. One has to be willing and ready to adapt and change things up, if necessary, out here. The cows made it through a really tough winter and are looking forward to fresh grass and the first signs of spring as much as all of us. Afterall, they are very close to calving (3rd week in April), so some warmer weather would be welcomed! Soon enough.
Luring out the ladies with hay.     
Having a slurp of water.

Temporarily cleared of snow!

Before i gripe about these snowy climes much more, I need to acknowledge that we REALLY need the moisture it represents once it thaws. Last year's drought took a major toll on the water table, the pastures and hayland. It will be very nice to see the creeks and rivers fill up and the the wonderful ways in which the land can truly spring back into shape with a dose of the right medicine. Here's hoping it melts at a slow enough rate that the much of the moisture stays here rather than quickly over-swelling our rivers and flooding our friends and counterparts to the north and east!

Beehives enveloped in snow
One area where the snow has actually helped our cause is with respect to our the apiary. Our bee-hives are buried under about 5 feet of snowdrift. They are actually very content this way, especially with a long, cold winter like this one. The snow acts as an immense coat of insulation. And it is porous enough for them to breathe through. In fact, the heat the bees give off forms a little cave near their entrances where they can continue hauling out the less fortunate (ie. dead ones) and allow for more airflow. That said, looks like it is time for me to dig them out very soon here, as the forecast finally looks to be such that they might be able to get out for a cleansing flight and take a their first crap in several months! That will feel nice, I'm sure.

We've got big plans cooking up for the looming spring. Michelle has been busy planting seeds for the veggie side of the farm, I have been searching for some bred heifers and a bull to expand and introduce some new genetics into our cattle herd and polishing off my maple sugaring gear. We officially have 8 inch high tomato plants along with a bounty of herbs, onions and other wonders quickly growing, awaiting the transfer from the house to the warm embrace of real sun in the greenhouse. As you can see in the pictures, there is a ton of snow out there snugged up to the greenhouses! For local people, we still have a few spots left in our CSA program, so let us know if you or someone you know might be interested. For everyone else, we have big plans for delivering delicious food to you with our diverse other product line, so stay tuned.

Well, time to stop procrastinating, get the shovel out and liberate that greenhouse! Here's hoping for a windless week so i don't have to do it all over again sooner than later. Thanks so much for your ongoing support and we look forward to hearing from you soon. All the best from us to you this spring!
So much snow!!
A cross-section of of our winter
Merle guarding the greenhouse