In Maine winter is cold, winter is white, winter is quiet ~ I love it! For us winter is a time for slowing down. Some chores are harder and some are easier – but the in-between time is much anticipated after a busy “rest of the year”. During the summer months we see a lot of people; either through farmstays – airbnb, fairs & festivals (CGCF, ME Bread Fair, fiber frolic, Laudholm Craft Fair) open farm day , open creamery day, and visits to the farm store
But in winter life becomes quiet … a time of rest, a time of rejuvenation, a time of introspection, a time of planning & dreaming.
The animals quiet down too, they slow down too .. their “world” becomes smaller and they spend most of their time eating hay and growing babies.
I thought it might be nice to share some of our routine, the animals world and life for us on a quiet lane in Whitefield Maine.
Water is a big deal in winter (it is in summer too but in a different way). We heat our house with wood so there are always 2 big pots of water on the stove during the winter. I take the heated water out to the animals twice a day, along with cool water from the tap. On VERY cold days (below zero type of cold) I will often bring warm water out more often. But in general twice a day is enough to keep the water in the 5 gallon buckets melted & drinkable.
Sometimes I get the bucket a bit too close to the stove – OOPS!
Carrying the water from the house to the barn changes with the weather and the amount of snow on the ground. Some time it is the metal wagon, sometimes the blue sled & other times it is the wooden sled … and then there are the times when it is just me and my arms carrying it out there.
The animals winter area is much smaller so in order to keep them exercised & moving I place the water as far away as possible so that they have to walk to get it .. a “twofer” refreshing water & exercise!
Hey – Hay! The sheep & goats eat hay in the winter, lots of hay! We buy hay from other farmers during the summer since our pasture isnt big enough to graze and hay. We buy hay in square bales and big round bales. We are moving more towards the round bales but still keep about 200 square bales around to supplement.
I fill the “vermont cart” with loose hay I “unwrap” from the round bales and wheel it over to the feeders.
We have wooden feeders for winter time use. They are GREAT! They do need to be cleaned after winter storms, but it makes feeding all the hungry animals so much less stressful.
Winter is beautiful, winter is fun & winter is cold ~ but we LOVE it and in my opinion the animals do too.
Denali is using this winter to get to know the animals at a safe distance … sometimes not so distant and it seems these two are developing a special bond all their own!
In some ways it seems winter is long yet there are so many signs that speak of warmer weather, or longer days and stronger warmth from the sun .. until then lets enjoy WINTER!