Pleasant Valley Farm

  (Tionesta, Pennsylvania)
Real Family Farming in Tionesta, PA
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Christmas Snow

The snow is falling gently outside, and we're not expecting weather above freezing, so it looks like we'll be having a white Christmas here at Pleasant Valley.  The big storm that blew up the East Coast spared us, so we only have about 4 inches here.  In my opinion, just enough to make it pretty, but not so much we're digging out or unable to travel. Most of the animals are spending their days inside where it is warm and dry.  Although the horses love to kick up their heels when we let them out at chore time, Dixie will be pawing at the barn door wanting to come back in if she thinks we're taking too long!  The only critters outside now are the sheep.  Although they have access to dry shelter under the barn roof,  you will see them outside with an inch of snow on their backs.  Wearing a wool coat all the time keeps them plenty warm!  The pigs are snuggled up in their nests of hay most of the time.  Although they still have access to the great outdoors, the frozen ground is tough for them to walk on, so they stay inside most of the time in the new, improved and very dry hog house.  The chickens also don't want to be out in the snow, but because we have a timed light in the hen house, we're still getting plenty of eggs.  The only animals besides the sheep who still love to be outside are the rabbits.  They spend as much time out playing in the snow as they do in their hutch. I can see them from my kitchen window and they seem to enjoy sprinting through the snow and playing.

For those of you who stopped in to see us at our farm stand, you probably noticed the black and red sleigh.  It is more than just a decoration, and we have enough snow to take it out now.  My little Morgan mare, Sara, is able to pull it easily.  I wanted to start a Christmas Eve tradition of taking a sleigh ride last year, but it rained ant there was nothing but mud last year.  This year is looking a lot more like Christmas!


White Stuff Already?

We've had a few good frosts and freezes here, so I've accepted that the peppers and basil and such are done for the year.  However, I was not ready to wake up this morning to 2 inches of snow on the ground!  Even with the wet ground, as I write this at 5 PM I can still see snow around the bases of the outbuildings.

The change of weather, especially the cold and wet combo, is hard on the critters too.   We still have 3 cows out in the field, and the smallest is only about 5 months old.  He was looking hunched up, like he was cold, so we decided to bring these cows in out of the weather.  The 2 older cows, Happy & Louie, have been with us since early January, so they spend a good amount of time in the barn earlier this year.  Little Buzz, the baby, hasn't been in the barn before, but was a bottle baby when we bought him, so he had been used to being handled too. Once we got them to come through the gate from the main pasture into the barnyard, Happy took off at a run and went straight into the barn with the two boys right at her heels. We shut the door and then had to put collars on the three of them  Although none of them walked right up to us, we had them tied in their stalls without too much trouble.  In no time at all, they were happily munching hay and enjoying being out of the wind and rain.

Even with the weather turning nasty, there is still a never ending list of things to keep us busy here.  More animals inside always means more stalls to clean!  I spent a bit of time with Ponyboy, our Miniature stud colt, grooming the piles of burrs out of his tail. Dan and I have been painting & reflooring the pantry and are in the process of putting everything back where it should be.  Our house is over 100 years old, and anyone who has lived in such an old place knows the Old House Dwarves...Dusty, Drippy, Mousy, Drafty, Damp and some others I'm sure I have yet to meet!  So winterizing as best as we can afford is always an ongoing project as well.  Also, in my expanding quest to be as food self-sufficient as possible, I ordered a pasta making machine and had a chance to use it yesterday.  I was very pleased with the results and spent time today bagging up the noodles that didn't get used for last night's dinner.  I hope to spend more time with it and even have some for sale in the near future in the farm stand.  Being in the kitchen sure beats being cold and wet outside these days!

Despite the cold, I'll be in the stand as usual on Saturdays until November 28th.  Our pasture raised lamb was processed more quickly than anticipated, so if you are interested, stop by or give us a call as we have very limited quantities this year. 

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