Caribbean, Here We Come

What on earth were we thinking? Farming in Minnesota?

Normally October 12 would be a lovely fall day, with the temperature in the high 50s (a very comfortable day for us hearty souls.) Instead, it’s 28 degrees, with a wind chill of 15 degrees. (Here in Minnesota more important than temperature is the wind chill, the actual temperature our skin experiences.)

The sheep are still scattered over our 53 acres, grazing on the last of the grass, and can easily handle this weather. So what’s the problem?

The problem is water. Our black water lines run above the ground, and as we move the sheep from pasture to pasture, we empty and move their water barrel, refilling it by plugging into the water line at various points along the way. Mid-November Melissa usually drains the water lines, and we bring the sheep in close to the barn, where there’s a non-freezable water source.

That’s the plan, and we’re sticking to it. Too bad the water lines are now frozen. Our ewes went all night without water (they can go longer, so don’t worry.) Our lambs had two inches of ice coating their water. This morning, because I was out there with a hatchet hacking away at that ice, my hands are still so cold I can barely type.

Melissa just filled three big buckets, put them on the back of the four-wheeler, and is now out giving the ewes water. When she comes back, with icy hands and blue lips, I’m filling her full of hot lasagna.

Tomorrow the temperature will be in the upper 30s, and by Saturday, the upper 50s, and life on the farm will continue as usual.

But these two days of nasty weather have reminded me: Oh, yeah, winter’s coming….Huge snow drifts to trudge through, heaters in the sheep water that don’t always work, ice storms that coat the hay and ground.

The other day a woman farmer in the Caribbean posted on this blog. Ahh, the Caribbean…I offered to trade places with her this winter for a few weeks. For some reason, I haven’t heard back from her….

Farming in Minnesota? What on earth were we thinking?

3 thoughts on “

  1. This will sound like one of those stories about walking ten miles to school in the snow…but as a kid in the 50’s my job each morning in the winter was to chop the ice on the horse tank. And girls could only wear dresses to school each day. So me and my freezing knees would hike down to the horse tank and swing an ax that was about the size me!

    Thanks for the blog and thanks for the pig kissing photo!

  2. Holly, what a job that must have been. I, too, remember when girls couldn’t wear pants to school. Brrrr.

    We’re giving up and bringing the animals in near the barn, even though there’s food still out on pasture. This nasty weather is going to go on too long for Melissa to be schlepping water out there every day.

    Hay is being delivered this afternoon so the sheep will have something to eat. Not only did we have to feed hay in the middle of the summer thanks to no rain, now we must feed hay a month early. Can you say “profit margin all gone now?”

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