After a very slow start to winter, it has finally arrived! During both of the last two snow storms, I went out to try and get some nice wintery photos, but found it was snowing so hard, it actually made it hard to get good photos. The snow in the air was so thick and moving so fast, the camera struggled to focus on what I was asking it to focus on!
Nonetheless, I did get some fun photos. I love that both of the species I raise are so comfortable with winter. The yak, especially, are made for it. Their coats are so insulating, that they build up these huge snow blankets that they periodically have to shake off.
In the foreground of the above photo, that crackled white stuff is snow on a yak standing in front of the one I was trying to photograph! Look at how thick that is. I imagine it is quite warm and insulating, though probably a bit heavy. When they shake, the whole thing pops off in sheets. It's something to behold!
Even the littles seem completely unfazed. As usual, when they see me, the first thing they ask is, "did you bring food?"
The elk seem just as at home in the stuff, though the snow does not seem to build up on them in quite the same way as it does on the yak.
I am so happy to finally be getting a bit of winter. I moved North for a reason, you know! Plus, I am not ready to move into maple season yet. I need a post-holiday lull before going full tilt again! Well, I guess it's time to bundle up and feed and enjoy this winter weather while it lasts.
It was still really cold when I got up this morning. Not quite as cold as this image of my weather station shows, as that is the low from overnight, but it was still close. It was still showing a -22F wind chill, so I decided I would really bundle up this morning.
Honestly, I overdid it a bit. I was sweating like crazy, but every time I tried to pull down the balaclava to cool off, my face hurt from the cold!
I really wanted to make sure everyone was all right, especially Big Guy. I looked and looked and looked for him to no avail. After an hour of looking, I was getting a bit concerned (and frustrated!).
I figured I'd do one last drive by of the far side of the pasture, and then I saw him.
You see him, right? It was that antler tip that caught my eye.
How about now?
His muzzle was a bit frosty, but he had clearly found the perfect place to spend the night, and he looked pretty bright-eyed despite being unwilling to get up for some breakfast. I left it there for him and figure he'll help himself when he's ready to give up him warm spot.
I had a bit of restless sleep last night fretting about this guy, and I'm so happy to see him looking so well this morning! Yay!
We had our first hard frost last night. It was a bit of a surprise, kind of like the frost earlier in the week. For that frost, I was in bed ready to turn out the light when I saw they had suddenly posted frost warnings. Despite not having harvested my dahlia flowers for a few days, I sure wasn't getting out of bed at that point to do it! Fortunately, it was a spotty frost and the dahlias lived to bloom another day... well, five days to be exact.
Fortunately, I noticed the change in the forecast earlier in the evening last night and was able to go out and harvest the last few flowers of the season. Nothing like picking flowers in the dark!
It was a good thing I did so, too! This morning was white with frost. My boy looked out the window and exclaimed that it almost looked like it had snowed. Well, then the sun started to peek over the hill and I had to get out in the yard with my camera. Water drops and ice crystals are quite possibly my two favorite things to photograph! That dahlia at the top of the page is perhaps my favorite shot of the morning, but it's really hard to choose when nature gives you so many beautiful subjects.
This little blanket flower will never get to open to its full glory, but it's beauty was noticed!
The cosmos was especially spectacular. Each petal was fully lined with crystals and so was the center. Amazing.
Obviously, since I went out and picked the dahlias last night, there weren't many blossoms left to photograph, but some of the buds were worthy of a bit of attention.
I loved the little tufts of ice on this coreopsis! And the line of crystals on the blade of grass next to it was the perfect frame.
My carrot greens were challenging for composing a great photo, but the way each leaf was lined with ice meant I had to take a few photos nonetheless. I'm hoping, by the way, that this frost has sweetened up those carrots. The few I've pulled up so far were beautiful but a bit bitter. Hopefully, Mr. Frost has worked his magic. :-)
Here comes the sun!
Yes, nature is an amazing thing, isn't it? I love the change of seasons. About the time I get somewhat bored with one, a new one comes along to wow me, and what a wow it was this morning.
I love winter. I love snow. It's one of the reasons I pushed for moving to New Hampshire. But I also love spring, summer, and fall. Every season in its time. The great thing about four distinct seasons is that right about the time you start getting tired of one, it's about time to start moving into another. It's just been the last week or so that I've started catching myself longing for spring. It first happened while spending an hour excavating a gate so I could move Piggy into a different pasture. And then there was today.
It's been much warmer the last two weeks with plenty of days in the forties. And then - suddenly - we're back in the single digits... with a wind. Don't let that bright blue sky fool you. It was miserable out this morning. The moaning of the wind through the cracks of the windows in the house was epic and I was NOT looking forward to going out to feed this morning.
I put it off as long as I could, but we were still registering near zero wind chills mid-morning, so out I went. This is my DANG it's bright and cold scowl-y face. Wowza! The wind was howling!
As usual, the critters didn't seem to even notice, but they were awfully happy to see me. The only good thing about the cold was that after a week of slugging through deep, heavy, slushy snow, it had frozen back solid and I could walk on top of it again. Yay!
The ice in a few areas was getting a bit silly though. This patch almost got me yesterday and I practically pulled a muscle to keep from going down, but today I realized I had yak poop stepping stones and made good use of them coming and going. Thanks, yak. :-)
Speaking of yak... that wee one is now in a pasture with a hay feeder that she can't crawl under, so she's staying a lot cleaner! Look how fluffy she is! I just love to pet her.
Of course, that does come with a slight occupational hazard. They say yak fiber rivals Merino wool. Perhaps a yak wool sweater is in my future!!
Temperatures are headed back up to the forties tomorrow. Come on, Spring. I'm ready!!
We woke up to snow this morning. It wasn't a surprise or anything as they've been forecasting it all week, but it still is a bit odd waking up the day before Halloween to measurable snow.
The first thing I had to do was go out and put some hay out for the yak. I've been wanting to get around to it for a few days, but it was quite cold and rainy the last few, so I figured I'd wait for the precipitation to turn to snow. I have no issues working in the snow!
The yak were pretty excited for the hay! I also turned the newly made two steers in with the herd. There was some tussling. Okay, there was a fair bit of tussling! Interestingly, a lot of it was between the steers and the cows! Multiple times I saw Mr. Bull come and break them up because he apparently thought it was getting too intense. Herd mechanics are fascinating!
In this video, you can see Mr. Bull breaking up the fight between 93 and 418, our golden bull... err, steer. It's interesting to me for two reasons: first, 93 and 418 were very close before I separated the herd upon the arrival of the new group, and second, it was 93 who seemed to be instigating and actively seeking battle. You can clearly see Mr. Bull separating the two and standing between them, keeping them from going at it again.
Again, I find it interesting that 93 was so adamant about picking a fight with 418. They always hung out previously. In fact, I often wondered if 418 was her calf from a few years ago. Here they were the day 93 was in labor this June. It almost seemed like she was laying her head on his shoulder!
Anyway. Hard saying what all the fighting was about today, but Mr. Bull was having none of it!
After I hayed the yak, I went to go check on the elk. They were all grouped up in the upper reaches of the pasture and seemed pretty happy to see me. 603 let me pet her multiple times and that included parts of her face, too! Previously, she only let me touch her nose, but I almost was able to touch all the way up to between her eyes! Of course, she was grinding her teeth at me the whole time, which is an aggressive gesture for elk, so I'll only be trusting her so far. I still never go in the pasture on foot when they are near.
I missed catching a video of it, but while I was there, 604 stood up to nibble on some tips of the hemlock trees and managed to dump a ton of snow on herself! She wears it well, wouldn't you say?
The wee ones are experiencing their first cold weather, but they have thick furry coats and didn't seem bothered at all! Just another day being an elk, I guess!
And, of course, Big Guy was there, watching with his deep, penetrating stare the whole time I was out there. Always watching. Man, I like that critter!
We're getting there... a little at a time. Starting a business sure keeps you busy! I always feel like I am so far behind. My to do list is starting to resemble Santa's list in length. There's probably enough on there to keep me busy every single day for the next two years, but at least I'm never bored.
After being on the farm for about 18 months now, the plan is starting to come together for what I've envisioned for this place. After following my husband around from state to state for his job for over 15 years, living mostly in suburbia, it is really great to be on some land again. I've spent every day since we first looked at this place thinking about what I want to make of it. My plan is finally starting to firm up in my mind, and I can't wait to bring it fruition. Since we've moved in, we've done a lot of maintenance/upgrades to the place, but we've also planted our orchard. Eighteen trees of all kinds just waiting to blossom and be fruitful. It will be a few years before they are really producing, but just the idea of it makes me swoon. Apples, peaches, cherries, plums, pears, nectarines, and apricots! Oh my!
And now spring is coming again! The crocuses are popping up and the buds are starting to swell. The maple taps are slowing down and I'll be pulling the taps soon. I look forward to my first real garden space in almost ten years (!?!). To say I am excited to begin this season is an understatement. How far I will get with expanding our menagerie this year is yet to be seen, but my hope is to get our hen house set up and rolling for chicks this fall. I am leaning toward raising rabbit and guinea fowl for meat, so I hope to at least move forward on that as well. You can follow the progress here and on Facebook/Instagram. I am always looking for a better way to do everything, so there's a lot of experimentation and research that goes on around here. I'll try and keep you posted with the goings on and, if you have questions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for stopping by and I can't wait to get this thing rolling!