Winter around here has the usual hum of daily chores but not as much grunt work. There isn't a garden to hoe and tend, animals being birthed, goat kids to raise up, lambing jugs, or milking chores. It's pretty much a daily maintenance of feeding, watering, minor repairs and checking on the animals. There's a whole different cadence to winter and a lot more time to write.
Speaking of writing, I'm really excited about the response from Birchthorn. I already got emails from publishers about it! I will have more out later this week or next, as it is completed. Right now I am rewriting and adding more to the old stuff from a few years ago. It's like seeing an old college roommate that needs to work out more, still the same but couldn't hurt to have some editing. I say that with love.
Right now the horses are a little rounder than they should be, but that's because they mostly eat, roll in snow, and aren't being harnessed or ridden as much. I do get Merlin out twice a week but mostly it's for the cart and not the saddle. He is barefoot and scrambling up icy hills (and it's all uphill around this mountain) is just not a risk I am willing to take for either of us. But he can work up a sweat in the cart and its parked out front for that very reason. Jasper can't sit still and jogs around the paddock and gets harnessed, too. But not as much. His role really is to be Merlin's friend now. Not a bad deal for any pony.
Besides the horses the sheep and goats are also spending their time eating or sunning themselves. They sit out on the hay they deem better as bedding than food and chew cud. I am hoping at least two of the ewes are pregnant. Most of my sheep are around five to seven years old, which means plenty of possibility for lambs but not as much promise as their younger days. Bonita is certainly pregnant and her little one is due around Feb to March. It's a big window since she shared a pen with a buck for 21+ days in the fall. They could have made bacon day 1 or day 21, or anywhere in between. Yesh down at Common Sense is pretty sure she's well served though, and I never question her goat sense.
The poultry is okay, but slow in egg production. None of the ducks, chickens, or geese are laying eggs or sitting on nests (that I know of). I used to provide 14 hours of light via Christmas Light Timers in the coop but no loinger do so. Not for any reason of import, it's just that I'm okay with giving them an off season. So many people around here keep chickens you can't throw a hoe without breaking an egg these days. I am hoping Cyrus and Saro hatch out a spring clutch. Goslings are adorable, and a great trade for the Poultry Swap in May. If I can trade Toulouse for a Bourbon Red Hen, that would be quite the good outcome for this farm. My two Toms, Lucas and Bob Fedel, are the same as always. Lucas still peeps in my windows and Bob Fedel still limps around. He's been limping since the day I got him. Though he went from barely able to walk to a slight gimp. He flys, perches, and gets around just fine and seems in good spirits. Especially when I get the cracked corn out...
All in all, things are good here and the animals and I are well. The same usual ups and downs persist but I am keeping my head (mostly) above water. This weekend is a workshop I am truly looking forward to, Cold Antler Confidential and it'll be a packed house! It's entirely sold out with only three spots left for the April session. Even if the spots don't sell it sure is encouraging to this woman, to know there's a hunger for heartland. To know others out there feel the way I do about this life, well, it makes sore arms worth it. May I be honored with many more.
P.S. An anonymous donation for workshop passes was made to the farm by a very kind spirit. If you would like to come to any workshop I listed but can't afford the fee, let me know via email and I'll do my best to hand them out to eager hearts.
P.P.S I called about setting up the Makin' Bacon class, need to see if the Salem Kitchen can get us a three-bout block. I even got some emails about pork belly donation and that is grand news! I will also see if I can have some ready in time with the next pair of pigs I pick up. Ever onward.