Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In The Meadow We Will Build A Rainman?

To date, this has been the most unusual winter of my life.
As far as the record books go, it has been the warmest.

It's nice to not have to suffer the polar vortices that beat down upon us the past two years...
especially in the morning, when heading out by the light of the moon.

Along with these warmer temperatures has come tons of rain.

I can't even imagine how this amount of rain would translate into snow if it were colder!

For this we are lucky... although I have to admit I am getting a little tired of 
trudging through the mud.

But here we are in the midst of winter...
and winter is all about trudging...
at least here in Central PA.

I cannot complain however...
as many in our country are suffering with horrendous winter storms this week.

One upside of the warmer rainy weather is the life that remains in the garden.
Swiss chard has made a comeback...

and kale continues to produce...

new lettuce has emerged from Summer's leftover seed...

and the herb garden is bursting with rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley...

not to mention a ton of Sorrel that remains green.

Have you ever tried sorrel?
It's quite delicious and I would highly recommend adding it to your herb garden.
It grows leaves that are similar to spinach, although lighter green in color.
It has a sour flavor often described as lemony or that of green apple candy.
It can be added to salads and soups, or sautéed with vegetables.
I sauté it with onion and butter and serve it over salmon....yummy!

The downside of the extra rain is the extra work.
With so much time spent seeking shelter,
the animals' houses need to be cleaned more often.

I spent an hour yesterday morning cleaning the sheep houses.

Sheep have a habit of eliminating while they are laying down...
and so their houses get foul quickly when they are spending time indoors.

I cleaned out all of the soiled hay and replaced it with fresh clean pine shavings.

Then I added a flake of hay to each house for nighttime munching.

I had a curious audience for most of the work.

Once fresh hay was loaded in the feeder, they were no longer interested in what I was doing.

As for the chickens...
their houses also take a beating during rain storms,
so frequent cleaning is necessary as well.

These girls are keeping egg production up in spite of it being winter....
three dozen eggs/day is their average right now.

My what dirty eggs!  Don't worry, they get cleaned up and repackaged.
I owe this to the lights that come on in their houses from 5 PM til 9 PM...
extending their daylight hours.
Every winter, reliably, this practice prevents decreased egg production.
In fact, my hens lay better in the winter than they do in the heat of summer!


  1. Interesting little tidbits of life at BeeHaven . . .
    Wondering if you too experienced the weather change from rain to freezing rain/icy snow pellets . . .
    An all white world outside certainly made the inside of our home much brighter this morning . . .
    First snow cover here . . .
    Short lived . . warmer temperatures on the way

  2. December in Virginia has been rain rain rain rain rain.... Getting a bit peeved by Mother Nature.

  3. It poured all night long....and this morning it is even soggier!! We are soon going to need to build an ark! At least we have the animals to fill it!

  4. I think rule of thumb is 7 inches of rain = 1 inch of snow..Of course you have dry snow and wet snow so I'm not sure how that works...Cute sheep pics..I'm sure everyone loves their clean beds..I know, I always do..

  5. and all of that has mostly missed us. we've had a bit of rain but nothing near what was forecast. it is the weirdest winter of my life too. my fig trees are budding. i keep looking for asparagus. the sheep are too funny!

  6. your girly-girl sheep continue to be just the cutest things. meanwhile, i live in NE ohio, and one of the pittsburgh-area tv or radio station weather people said last week (christmas eve or the day before) that all the recent rains we'd had by then would have been 35 inches of snow. and we've had several rains since then ... --suz in ohio

  7. I know exactly how you feel about trudging in the rain and mud everyday.(I love my Muck boots!!) I live on a farm in northeast Georgia. We have had very warm humid days(yesterday the high was 81) with lots of rain. The plus side to this not-so-normal weather is that our pastures are green and lush. Of course we feed hay twice a day but the donkeys and and goats prefer the pasture grass. As far the garden, the strawberries and blackberries have blooms and the lettuce and spinach is growing like wild! Craaazy days!

  8. Look out, we in east central Wisconsin got sleet, freezing rain and blizzard condition snow - 9" worth and much like trying to move wet cement. It's likely headed your way. I too am done with mud, we have a lot of hills so it's step-slide, step-slide, I would be ever so unhappy to land on my backside in that mud! I guess that's the upside of the snow, it covers the mud.


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