After two days of whipping wind (60 mph gusts) and rain, yesterday we had snow flurries. My heart dropped. I’m not ready! I have a two page, two column, typed, single-spaced FALL list of everything I need to do before winter!
Even as I felt a spurt of panic, though, I had a small wave of yearning. A part of me longs to jump ahead to deep cold, when life on the farm contracts to the small, snug barn… and expectations lower to keeping the animals warm, dry, fed, and watered.
The bold coyote has complicated my life this year, and I cannot relax my vigilance. A few Saturdays ago I was walking the dogs down to the barn and we spooked the coyote from the weedy edge of the driveway. It was 11 AM. Stash was torn between growling and fright. Eighteen-pound Toby (coyote snack food) barked and strained at his leash. The coyote looked at us scornfully and withdrew.
Most early mornings and late evenings when I take the dogs out to pee in the dark, we hear a coyote howling under the stars.
Thus every morning I have a lot of extra work, moving the sheep fence, moving the hard fence for the geese…
… and dumping and refilling their swimming troughs.
After keeping the chickens in the barn for a month (they thought it was winter and stopped laying) I rigged up a makeshift temporary enclosure with a scrap of old rusty welded wire I picked up for free. It works, but I have to take it down and set it up every day.
I will be happy to be done with this extra hour or two when the farm is buried in snow. (There will still be hours of work; just different. Inevitably I will be thawing my frozen “frost-free” water hydrants.) But in order to be ready for the snow I have to get through my list.