Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lessons From a Snowy Day ...

I'll soon be starting my fifth year on the farm, but "The Beginning Farmer" still describes me pretty well! Today's snow event (7 inches of snow and wind to drift it into pretty piles for me) reminded me of the various things that I've learned over the past nearly five years. As I was talking with the pigs about it this afternoon (you can see from the picture how intently they were listening) we decided that I should share some of those lessons learned from snowy days. With that in mind I've put together a list in no particular order ...

  • 100% of the time 50% of the weather predictions are incorrect. This is really nothing exclusively farm related, but last time they were predicting a snow storm I prepared for the worst and instead we received some much needed rain. This time I didn't really even think of the possibility of snow and we received more than I expected.
  • Snow makes some animals (and people) just a bit squirrelly. As I was outside various times checking on everybody I saw pigs dancing in the snow, calves chasing each other, and chickens sticking their toes in it like they are testing the water to see how cold it is.
  • Firewood piles become covered with snow and make a wonderful spot for drifts to accumulate. Actually this is a lesson that I've learned time and time again and really never done anything about. Each time it happens I think to myself, "I should really make a covered area for wood for just these situations." This year I even bought the materials (they are covered in snow right now).
  • Just because it is cold enough to make frozen precipitation does not mean the ground underneath is frozen. Ahh ... I remember the time I had a tractor and a truck stuck in the snow/mud together just like it was yesterday. This is one lesson that I've actually done pretty well with and I try to plan my big tractor work when the ground is solidly frozen.
  • There is a benefit of having no trees and shrubs. There are not any big trees or bushes up on the hill where the house and farmyard is. This allows the snow to just blow and blow and blow ... and it usually ends up clearing most of the drive. Of course now that there are more buildings there are more drifts.
  • Snow and mud are just two more reasons to have the hog feeders adjusted properly. I feed outside year-round so if the feeders are not adjusted properly there is a lot of feed spilled. On dry or frozen ground it usually doesn't matter because the chickens do a pretty good job cleaning up, but feed that falls on the snow is just lost!
  • I'm never prepared! Maybe as the years roll by I will become generally prepared for various weather events, but the way it is now it seems like I'm always scrambling to find a comfortable home for everyone to ride out the storm. 

1 comment:

Mary Ann said...

We're only hobby farmers, but I can commisserate... and it's no fun in mid-winter.

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