April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Fresh from the Farm: Farming continues through winter chill

By Shelley [email protected]

As usual, this morning my alarm went off at 5 a.m.

I made my way to the kitchen to make my coffee and watch the weather on TV. Below 0 windchill! Yup, I knew it was going to be a rough morning on the farm. Thank goodness Ayana had a 2-hour delay, so I knew that I would have some help.

The first challenge of the day was just getting dressed to go out. I have mentioned this before, but it truly is a struggle. Once I get all the clothes on, its a little difficult to bend over to get on my boots. OK, so it's always difficult to bend over to get my boots on, but it's even more difficult in the winter.

We blanketed the horses last night, so they were in pretty good shape this morning. They came in for their feed and hay, and I broke the ice on the tank for them to have fresh water.

Fal (Falucious), one of our Alpine does who thinks she's extra special, is the only one we are milking. In fact, Fal has been milking straight through for almost 3 years now. An accomplishment for any goat to say the least. However, this morning she didn't take too kindly to having her udder wiped off before being milked. I probably wouldn't either.

I noticed one of our young hens had made her bed with several of the barn cats. Apparently they put off more heat than the other chickens. I had to chuckle. When that hen was a hatchling, those very cats tried to have her for lunch. I guess anyone can be friends.

Speaking of chickens, mine are actually still laying eggs along with one of the duck hens. Of course by the time I get to them they are like a rock and not of much use other than to give them to Delgado to play with.

Cassie Cow has been staying in the stall at night and going out in the morning. She had a wound on her udder, and before I noticed it had become infected. She has led a pretty comfy life the past few weeks as I doctored her. She wasn't real fond of the shots she got.

I have to give her credit though, I don't know too many 1,400-pound cows that will stand while you give them a rather large shot. We no longer have a cattle chute, so it was a free-standing job. During the day, while she was sick, we let her have run of the yard. I think it entertained the guys working on the bridge. They said they had never seen a cow -- or goats either -- that wouldn't run off.

But as usual, there is always one in the bunch that has to cause trouble. Since we are done breeding for the year, I lock up any does that come into heat just in case one of the bucks decide to escape. The only fence that will actually hold a goat is a fence that will hold water 25-feet deep!

So Jam, a very young doe, came into heat yesterday. I penned her in the barn with another young doe. As we were feeding this morning, Jam made her escape. Usually it's one of the bucks, but this doe is special -- at least in her mind. She climbed the fence just like a human, ran to the buck pen and climbed into the pen with five mature bucks. Needless to say, "things" didn't take long. I have only had one other doe do this. But, like I said, there's always one in the bunch.

While the cold is difficult to deal with I must admit there is true beauty in the winter. I look down into our woods and see the ice glistening off the trees. The creek has a sparkle to it as it runs openly in some places and under ice in others. The white ground has a pureness as it travels through the trees. In the early mornings I can hear the call of the owls. I love to watch my animals as they forage through the woods. Winter is a challenge, but it certainly has an abundance of beauty to go with it.

God has truly blessed me with my little farm.

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