It has been two years since we have been able to enjoy the early winter season without unexpected encumbrances. At this time last year about all I could do was to sit quietly and look out at the landscape while my right foot remained encased in a large boot, whose sole purpose was to aid in the recovery of a very severe sprain. Blessed by lots of help toward a good recovery I am no longer so constrained! Winter has us in its grasp, but we have no need to complain. To date we have experienced two major snow storms, the first of which was a significant blizzard. We missed the worst of that storm; all of our buildings are intact (unlike a number of barns in western Wisconsin that succumbed to the combined weight of snow and wind and which result in the loss of life to both farmers and livestock). The sheep remained dry and warm in the barn. With plenty of good hay to eat they did just fine. In the midst of the storm our crazy chickens (the ram’s co-residents of the barn for the winter) decided it was time to begin laying, six weeks after they began their annual molt.
We sat out the two days of the blizzard and successfully managed to slog our way to and from the barn. Once the winds subsided we could dig our way out to the road. The following morning dawned still, quiet and cold. We were blessed with a lovely hoarfrost: Mother Nature’s award for being able to survive her sometimes evil temperaments. Below is the scene that greeted us that morning looking out to the dunes to the east.
We have had more snow since the blizzard. At least it has managed to soften the rough edges that the intermediate week left on the landscape. Yesterday we strapped on our snow shoes and trudged out to the back of the pastures in search of a Christmas tree. This year we selected a good sized Balsam fir growing between the pasture #3 and the large hay field. The area from which it came is a narrow patch of rough, rocky ground of poor fertility. It tends to be an area of deciduous hardwoods, but of late the firs and cedars are moving in. They are creating a more significant windbreak between the two fields. The result, in late spring, is an area of #3 sheltered from all but east winds. It is thus a spot that the Black Flies love and hence make life miserable for the sheep if they must graze there. When I have the chance I try to open up the woods for some air flow. Our Christmas tree was double as tall as we could use, but the space created by its absence should help let some breeze through. The top of the tree is now in the house awaiting decoration; the bottom half is temporary winter shelter for the birds near one of our feeders.
The sheep await their Christmas apples this evening. It is a treat they eagerly anticipate, that we have on good authority. Pussa accompanies us to the barn for morning chores, checks to make sure all is in order and then returns to the house with us when we are done. She will sleep through the day awaiting the arrival of Christmas Eve. So, to family and friends, wherever the season may find you, we wish to send our Christmas greetings. As always we dream of a more peaceful world for the future.
And to family and friends i kære Danmark, vi ønkser glædelig jul og godt nyt år!