Wednesday, February 26, 2014

long winter

Now the legislature is rushing money out to help people with huge heating bills, especially those who use LP gas.  This is one of the things they can be sure is right to do.  Nobody should freeze in this wealthy country.  On the farm, this winter has been savage and tiring, too.  Our new hog farrowing facility is not completely finished and we have been able to use a fuel oil heater in there on a temporary basis, rather than rushing into the gas-fired heater which will be the permanent installation.  We are out there each cold night at three or four making sure everything is working alright.  This winter teaches, among other things, that we need to link the geothermal in there with some additional solar heat so that the fuel truck visits us less often. 

Much time and fuel is used in clearing the yard of snow every few days as the wind constantly blows it full again.  Each episode ties up one of us for most of a day, getting us back into working order again.  The snow piles here are huge.  Each midweek, it seems, when we must deliver animals to the processor, features its own snowstorm or blizzard.  Diesel fuel tends to gel in the sub zero temperatures. 

Most of the non farrowing livestock depends upon bedding and windbreak to tough it through the winter.  Cold stress is a heavy burden on health, for them and for us.  Feed use nearly doubles.  We will applaud the end of winter. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Now we have warmer weather for a few days, with temps collapsing this weekend, but not to their typical (for this winter) lows below zero.  The soil is showing up in places as the snow pack compacts and melts back.  This will soak up the heat from the late winter sun and enable a good runup in temperature the next time a warm front comes through.  Ever the farmers, our thoughts turn to new baby animals and seeds.  The longer days and warmer temps invite long snowshoe tramps across the fields and pastures.  It is our annual awakening!