Bitter cold here in Virginia, with -1 degree yesterday, at 5 am, and 6 above zero early this morning. I’ve been busy working on the garden & growing plan for this year, plan A, plan B, and also taking care of the goats and poultry.
For the most part, animals here are doing okay in the snow and cold, but they don’t get to range with snow on the ground.
Not that any of the birds want to come outside when I open the doors to the coops!
Even the guineas have spent less time out in their outdoor run, in contrast to their usual fussing at me to let them out. (If you’ve ever heard a guinea, you would know what I mean.)
And the goats and donkeys are not happy in this weather, but are doing okay, except for one extremely old guy who is having a tough time. He’s blind and today he was limping, so I took Guy into the only really warm farm space, the greenhouse, just for a temporary stay to get him out of the weather.
Normally I would not do this, but there are no plantings right now except for a few pots of parsley which have been placed on high shelves, so it’s okay for him to stay in for just a bit until we get out of single digits. There’s a run in on the farm with good shelter, actually three, but the other goats push him around so much that he doesn’t get the same protection.
Guy’s major goal in life is to eat grass (that’s his job here on the farm, too) and he’s now busy nibbling on the fresh green grass sprouting up here and there through the gravel floor of the greenhouse.
After the storm in December blew out a panel, freezing many of the herb plants, I said uncle to starting plants until after we got closer to spring, but now it’s time to get seeds started. I use a tool called a soil blocker to make soil blocks from a mix of peat and farm soil I dug up last fall.
Easily found on Amazon or garden sites, I recommend it highly as a speedy way to start seedlings. Each one inch cube has a small depression for the seed. It makes life much easier all around to seed plants in soil blocks for easy transplanting.
This month a lot of thought is going to future plans. What works, what doesn’t. Every place, every farm is unique and what may work on one, and in one locale, doesn’t always translate. And farms are businesses, after all. This year will see quite a few changes and I look forward to them.
2014 promises to be an interesting year.
January 24th, 2014