As last snow departs, we both miss the beauty and welcome the change.
Feeding hay on snow-covered ground works well for plants, livestock, and machinery. Snow provides insulation to plants, keeping fescue and clover protected from freezing temperatures. As long as ruminants receive hay and water, they are quite content in cold weather. Machinery rides well on hard surfaces and the ground is not torn by heavy loads. The landscape also takes on an unusually serene and inspiring tone when covered with snow, very distinct from other times of the year. As we seem to be realizing less snow than in decades past, interludes of mid-winter serenity are particularly precious.
On Tuesday morning, Kathy and I brought the cow herd in and separated out the bulls. Their 45-day tour of duty had been completed, and we will find out in April, with what degree of efficacy. Now they head back to solitary confinement, to be amused only by each other, without charms of the fairer sex to distract and entertain.We strive for a narrow calving-window (45 days), so all calves are about the same age, requiring about the same management. We don't want calves who are two-days old in the same herd with calves six months old. Once calving has been completed, we resume moving the herd quickly around the farm, and don't want to leave two-day old calves behind inadvertently. So, the breeding window is brief or "narrow". Cows have two chances to be bred during that time, and it they don't conceive, then they are culled for other purposes. Building a good cow herd is a long, slow, and expensive process.
Working in winter conditions builds appetites. This one was recently rewarded by a repast of: ribeye steak, hand-picked Carolina rice, and mushrooms & green peas. So good and so satisfying.
This Sunday, Susan and I will look forward to seeing our friends and customers at the Hyde Park Market, whom we have missed seeing in recent weeks. Beth & Bob will be braving the elements that day at Findlay to participate in the chili contest.
The answer to the riddle about the defrosting sump pump is it took about 48 hours, at best guess. Part of the issue was operator-error, in that the heater was turned on low rather than high. Therefore, anybody who ventured a guess is a winner, and we look forward to including your prize with your next purchase.
In the flowing melt,
Drausin & Susan