Winter Comes Again
Don’t have to say much about what happened in February, but we were part of those who lost power. We lost power for about 3 days, but were fortunate that our water never shut off. Just when we thought we were in the clear, a pipe broke. Overall though, we came out mostly unscathed and able to cover the losses of spoiled fridge food and fixing the pipe that burst. If you found yourself coming out ahead from that winter event, please consider donating some money, food, and/or supplies to your local charities to aid those in need.
We prepped to what we thought was good before the storm and events after. But like many, we did not expect a state-wide failure of electricity and water to that extent. It is a massive failure, an embarrassment for the state and more importantly should not have happened.
We had purchased several square bales of hay to serve as bedding and food for the sheep. Since we still had water, our main concern was keeping it liquid even as it froze up multiple times during the day. On top of all that, we had a baby lamb born right before the snow fell. We eventually had to bring the two ewes with their babies into the garage and bring in an expectant ewe who was due any day (she gave birth during the event). Though the garage was cold, it was above freezing the whole time and with the hay bedding they were able to make it through.
We normally have two groups of sheep, each with one mature ram and the ewes. For this event to help stretch whatever warmth we could for them we merged the two groups. Of course the rams head butted each other until Thor emerged the victor once again. They quickly settled into their status and the fighting was minimal after a half hour post merging.
We’re still dealing with the damage over winter from the feral hogs. The melting snow revealed one dead, large feral hog near the fence-line on a neighbor’s property. Good news is some of the torn-up areas are getting some pioneer plants moving in. We also scattered wildflower and grass seeds a while ago, so hopefully some will pop up during spring.
The Garden Replanted and Planted
With the heavy snow and ice, once again the garden was covered in a blanket. However most things that were planted came out okay, notably the spinach and carrots, most of which emerged prior the snow. Once the snow melted we replanted bare spots for the carrots. We continued planting spinach, but have now transitioned to slightly warmer vegetables that can handle 50F or warmer soils, mostly brassicas. Soon it will be warm enough for corn. But we may hold off on corn until at least mid-March to see how the weather shapes up. The wheat (pictured below) and barley suffered visible damage, but most came out of the event alive.
The soil is very moist from the melted snow and couple rains during the month, so this will help aid the growth of many of the spring plants. We also expect this to aid the field greatly, with us completely out of the drought situation, for the moment, hopefully baring any more sudden winter blizzards so the grass can grow, the sheep can finally go outside in early March.
Three Little Lambs
With our pre-storm prep, we were able to come out of it with no losses of sheep. We also gained a new member, Avani’s first daughter:
With Mjolnir, Bjorn, and now Sigeumchi, we seem to be finished for the winter season. All single births, first time that’s happened for us; usually we get a mixture of twins and singles. But, our priority is to make sure the lambs and mothers are healthy and good, if singles end up doing better, then that is where the road will lead us. We expect the next batch of births to occur in the summer, probably late in July or August or so. We’re also on the look-out for a ram lamb to buy, it’s time to swap out the founder ram, Thor, for some new genetic diversity.
We’re also feeding the sheep a new protein source, cottonseed meal. Due to the snow storm, many feeds are low in inventory. Soybean meal was out of stock, and given we have lactating ewes we needed a little something to keep protein levels good. The cottonseed meal we got has 40% minimum protein, less than soy, but still good as a supplement. We’ll be mixing it in gradually to get the sheep used to it. Stay safe and have a merry month, spring-time will come soon.