As much as can be done before the snow

As much as can be done before the snow

Flurries beginning

Changing the clocks back to "normal" and having and additional hour of light in the morning is wonderful - it makes getting up much, much easier (which is a challenge for me at the best of times). Losing an hour in the evening does make it difficult to plan out our day though. My list making becomes more specific. It's gone from just putting things on a list, to categorizing items to what needs to be done in the daylight, and, during this transitional time of year, decent weather becomes a major factor. No-one wants to move fencing in cold, wet, flurries.

Rolling up the last of the electric fencing for the winter.

Many of the activities are reversing what was done in the spring. In spring the fences get put up, raised, and fixed. In autumn, the fences get rolled up, put down, and frankly, left for the following spring. Window barriers that were taken out to let more air, light, and sun in, one by one get closed back up to prevent drafts, snow, and ice from entering. 

It's also firewood time. In earnest now. If our firewood dwindles, we are in big trouble. Heat is kind of important. It's a time of preparing for the inevitable power outages for, not only us, but for the animals as well. Ensuring that there's enough water for all of our sheep, chickens, dogs, and ducks to eat is important. Although the sheep can eat snow - to get fresh, clean snow means assisting them into the now unfenced pastures. I don't want them eating dirty snow.

Each time there is a natural disaster in the news, floods in BC, mudslides, wildfires, ice storms, droughts, my heart breaks for the farmers that are trying to have their livestock survive as well as themselves. It's a big source of stress - making sure your animals are okay, no matter what the conditions.

More often than not, Tim and I joke that we live half the time in the 1860's, especially when one of us gets up at 4am to put more wood on the woodstove, or is forking 200lbs of hay down the hay chute in the 140 year old bank barn where all the animals live. We are rooted in modernity too. In the milk house the milking system is completely shut down, the milk-come-water tank is filled for emergencies, heating tape is plugged back in. The thermostat driven electric heater is turned up just a bit to get through the uncertain, fluctuating temperatures.

The poultry gets some treats of zucchini.

In our pantry, the unused zucchinis are brought down to the poultry for them to enjoy. Candles are lined up in jars beside wooden matches, and water is stored in containers for washing hands, flushing toilets, and for house animals. 

A common topic of conversation in northern countries is "hibernating". Some days I feel like sleeping through the entire winter like our ursine cousins. But when asked if I'd like to live somewhere that doesn't have winter, my answer is always no. I'm not sure if I'd appreciate the explosion of life in spring if I hadn't just come out of the dreary depths of winter stillness. The gratitude of the first flowers poking through snow, and the first Mourning Cloak butterfly floating on the spring breezes may not seem nearly as magical if winter didn't remind me that they exist but only for a brief time.

The sheep come in much earlier this time of year, not wanting to be caught in the dark.

In some ways I see winter as a re-balancing of the natural world around us. The soil needs to rejuvenate, the trees need to sleep, and the grasses need to rest.

At least Tim and I share the need to rest with good company!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.