There is snow on the ground! We are officially into our first winter on the farm. The kids have been waiting impatiently for snow – they have a beautiful wooden sled (a gift from my in-laws, thanks Grandma & Papa!) that they are anxious to put to use. They want to harness our dog at the front and have him pull them over the snowy fields, which sounds to me like great fun indeed!
Things have been steadily changing around here. Jae’s been working hard at putting a thatched roof on the chicken coop, using phragmites, an invasive reed plant that is taking over cattail habitat around here. He collects the phragmites from the ditches nearby and bundles it tight, then secures it on the coop roof. He’s about half finished, and so far it looks lovely! Much more pleasing than shingles, with a much tinier environmental footprint to boot – and FREE! I’ll post some photos when the coop is complete.
There are two new residents in the coop. Casper and Carl are our new Chantecler roosters. A friend of ours purchased Chantecler chicks this past summer and had the misfortune of half her flock being boys, so a few days ago we did a trade – two roos for two hens. It works out well, as we had been discussing obtaining a rooster. I can’t continue to order day-old chicks from the feed store for many reasons, so the only sustainable option for replenishing our flock each spring is to breed our own chickens here. The boys wasted no time in establishing their dominance and have been crowing non-stop since they arrived. The kids love hearing the crowing and think the roosters are a pretty thrilling addition to the farm.
We’ve had another recent addition as well. Remember Zeus, the border collie mix we brought home in the summer? After many attempts to help Zeus fit into our family & life on our farm, we made the tough choice of finding him a new home. It just wasn’t working out to have him here, despite our best efforts. When Zeus left for his new home, we told the kids we’d get them a much younger puppy sometime in the future, and we’d take our time finding just the right dog for our family.
Well, we found her! Saphira is a beautiful rottweiler/lab puppy who came home with us just over a week ago. We looked at several different puppies before we chose her. Saphira’s parents were calm, obedient dogs who were very gentle with my children when we met them. Saphira herself has the most amazing temperament, the best aspects of each of her parents. She is just the sweetest little thing and has been a huge source of joy around here this past week. We started puppy classes with her on Tuesday and she’s already perfecting “sit”, “down” and “heel”.
I’ve been knitting like crazy trying to get all my projects finished in time for Christmas, and get hats on the heads of my children. Raina’s and Robin’s hats are complete (and cute & cozy too!), but I still have to make a hat for Lynden, one for myself, and one for Jae’s poor bald head. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
Our daily routine has changed so much since the spring, with winter setting in. In the warmer weather, the kids just ran out the door to play whenever the urge struck them. I easily accomplished my farm chores with Robin on my back or sitting on a blanket in the shade. When I was outside, the kids were outside, and all was well. Now, however, they complain of the cold and it’s much to blustery out there to bring Robin out to sit & watch me do the chores. So, I’ve been feeding the kids breakfast, helping them with their violin practice, and then occupying them with toys or craft materials while I run outside to take care of the animals as fast as I can. It’s been interesting (and stressful!) trying to find a way to care for everyone by myself without leaving anybody lacking. We’re making it work though, and I do so love my farm chores.
Can you believe it will soon be time to start ordering seeds? Here the snow is just starting in on us, and already I get to look forward to Spring’s gardens! I’m loving this farm life.