Wild Things Farm

  (Crab Orchard, Tennessee)
Farm life adventures of the Happy Hoer
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Weird, scary weather

Today is a very unsettled day here around the Cumberland Plateau.  Last night at 9:30 the temperature was 39 and this morning at 5:00 it was 60!  Wind blowing, occasional lightning and thunder, sun......  I figured out why!  The "winter-to-spring" button is broken and someone is beating on it!

Gotta keep smiling, and make sure the path is clear to the cave!


Old Man Winter

I never really thought about just how hard winter is on "everyone", but since I've been a farmer, I've come to realize that  it's really hard on all the critters that live outside during the winter.  They all need extra attention this time of year; the cats, dogs, cows, chickens, horses; everything needs water, which is FROZEN this time of year.  That's a chore in itself.  For the chickens I keep two waterers; one in the shop to thaw out, and the other one to use for them to actually drink out of.   My dogs all have nice warm houses, and the cats sleep in the warm loft of the shop. 

What prompted this particular blog is that Buckshot, one of the horses on the farm, cut his foot today.  It's a pretty bad gash, and he was limping and kicking his foot.  I cleaned out a stall for him, he got doctored, and we put some nice clean sawdust in the stall for him,  and he immediately laid down when he was settled in.  I think he appreciated the dry, warm spot to be when his foot was hurt. 

His buddy Whitt is still in the pasture, with a full bale of hay, but he is hollering for his buddy every few minutes.  Horses sure are tribal.  It's funny how they fight when they are together but miss each other when separated--are they like us humans, kind of?

Winter is hard; it's a time of reflection and rest.  But, there are still chores to do and animals to care for.  Take care of any animals in your care.


Mid-winter in the Holler

I subscribe to the Old Farmer's Almanac newsletter and today's newsletter was on the subject of Groundhog Day.  The newsletter stated that this day traditionally marked the midpoint of harsh winter weather......yuk!  I was sure hoping we were over halfway by now.  Mr. Groundhog isn't going to see his shadow here today because we're just coming out from under several inches of snow, then enough frozen rain to make it nice and "almost" crunchy enough to walk on--that means it's really hard to get around the farm on foot  to feed critters.  It's a really good aerobic workout though!   I did snap a few really cool pictures of the water frozen on the trees though.

wintry scene

Even though the temps outside are in the teens and 20's at night and 30's during the day, the greenhouse gets a toasty 80 degrees during a sunny episode.  I may move a chair in there for some vitamin D during these short days.  I can tend the onion seedlings while I'm at it!  A couple of weeks ago I started onions, swiss chard and lettuce just "playing in the dirt".  Everybody seems to be doing fine even though they're not being babied at all.   As soon as the ground is suitable, these babies will be out under the hoops!  Meanwhile I go back to my quilting project......Happy Groundhog Day, y'all!


Goat Cheese, chickens, Great Danes, and cold weather

chicken tractor

You might be wondering what in the world do goat cheese, chickens, great danes, and winter have in common?  Well, the goat cheese is something I've been wanting to try for quite some time but just haven't done.  Yesterday, a friend and I did our grocery shopping together (it makes it more fun to go with somebody) and we split a package of goat cheese.  Today I made the most awesome salad for lunch with spinach, a thin slice of onion, about 4 sliced up mushrooms, a small handful of walnuts, 1/2 apple sliced up, and about 2 TBS of goat cheese crumbled over the top.  I like honey mustard dressing, so that's what I used.  It was very tasty.  The cheese has a very strong flavor and is somewhat salty; I'm anxious to find a recipe to use the rest of my half package.

The chickens have to do with winter, as does the great dane.  I've got a light bulb on in their roost (upstairs part of the tractor pictured above) to keep them warm during these frigid days.  I've also had to swap out their waterers twice a day because they have been freezing pretty quickly.  Chickens drink a lot of water and take extra time during frigid temps! 

Today it reached 33 degrees; the first time it's been above freezing since New Year's Day.  I know other parts of the country get that cold every year, but we usually don't get that cold for that long.   The great dane is very old (his name is Buck) and he shivers and chatters his teeth (he does it in the summer too), so I feel sorry for him even though he has a nice warm doghouse.  I've been letting him stay in the house during this really cold weather, along with Reuben the Catahoula, Angus the Boxer, and Cooper, the bad-haired terrier (he's a shelter rescue).  We're all snug and cozy in the house waiting for warmer weather---oh, and waiting for eggs too!  Yep, that's why I got chickens :)


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