Animals in winter are amazing. The photo above is of one of our Angus cows, Roseanne, sunbathing this morning. It was 18 below, and all were calm and happy, munching hay. We had a litter of piglets on January ninth, when it was twenty below. We were really worried about it, the sow who had them is our old favorite girl that hardly ever has babies any more, so we were really surprised that she was even pregnant! She's a pet more than a working animal now, she just hangs with our boar, so we never know quite when she'll pop out a bunch of babies. It's always exciting when she does!
This time was no different. Willa, our 8 year old daughter and I, sat there with the piglets, keeping them covered in hay and warm next to their mama. Willa made sure all were nursing and off to a great start. Now they are chubby little beasts that doing great! It was such a nice experience to have, Willa and I, tucking in the pigs and helping our big mama Swirl keep them warm and safe.
I think that has been the biggest joy this winter- seeing our kids grow into our farm and their roles here. It has been so cold, but when you are moving, you are warm. Our kids are outside every day. Our tractor broke for a while and we had to roll the big round bales out of the barn by hand. It took all five of us, but the kids loved it! It is refreshing to have kids around to remind us of what is fun, and take our minds off what is stressful.
It's also neat living up here in the Northeast Kingdom because there are so many farms around here and amazing farmers, who have become our friends. It makes a difference being part of a community. Farming can get lonely, but not up here. We are so fortunate that we lucked into this great farm and all the people who live and farm nearby. This morning, after we argued with our truck and finally convinced it to start, Dave and the kids went and helped a friend milk their cows, sheep and goats. It feels great to me that the kids still want to see other farms and that they are so immersed in this life we are building.
Now it's almost March and the spring planning has begun. Next week we receive our first delivery of the year of Golden Comet chicks. They will add to our flock of hens. So this summer we should have an abundance of beautiful, delicious eggs! The meat bird chicks will follow soon. We are really excited about the chickens we are raising this summer. We can't wait to have all the animals out on grass. Our farm is growing so much and it is really cool to see it flourish because of all the animals. Our grasses and pastures are changing, we are making better hay, and it is all thanks to the animals. We have many more pigs, too. The rest of the piglets should be born in the next few weeks, and the cows are starting to show signs of preparation for their calves. I don't think it will be twenty below for much longer. We have a Jersey Heifer that is going to calve this spring and the kids can't wait to milk her. We can't either! We are looking forward to a sunny and bountiful spring and summer. We hope to see you all at the Farmers' Market or for a visit to our farm!