Okay, I admit it, I’m ready for spring.
This winter has been tough enough that I’m seriously considering moving south. Tennessee is looking better every day. I still want to be far enough north to have winter, but would prefer a slightly shorter version of it.
As you can see from the picture of our swing-set, the snow this year has been incredible. I’m kind of sorry I didn’t build the Windy Woods snow gauge I had thought about last summer. This would be a good winter for it, as the snow has been incredible.
I stole that picture from Kristen’s Facebook post earlier this week. It’s a good illustration of just how deep the snow-pack is. The winter of 2013-2014 has had unusually heavy snowfall.
That brings up a point that I saw in a blog post on Cornerstone Acre’s Facebook page, we’re going to need higher fences than we had originally planned. The snow is so deep, and so packed, that if we already had goats, they would just step over the fence now.
When we walk the trail, we’re now so high above the ground that our heads are hitting branches (if we don’t duck) that used to be several feet above our heads.
We’ve also learned a hard lesson about chickens. Get them earlier in the year if you want layers thru winter. Since they hadn’t yet started laying before the days got short, they never did.
I’m kind of wishing now that we had just dressed them all out for dinner last fall, as there has not been a single egg produced. I’m not looking forward to doing that, but it is something I feel I need to learn how to do. One of the reasons for choosing the Buff Orpington breed was that they’re a ‘dual purpose’ breed. So far, they’ve only been a drain on our resources.
Additionally, we’ve lost 4 so far this winter, or has it been 5? Looking at the bright side, the chickens that made it through are of hardier stock, that we will need for them to survive Michigan winters. I definitely want to breed the survivors.
I think that I’ll make that part of my flock management strategy, only breed birds that make it through the winter. So, until the bird is at least a year old, all eggs produced are on the menu.
The extreme cold and heavy snowfall we’ve experienced this winter also means we’ve pretty much used up our laid in supply of wood. Word is that’s an issue all over the region this winter too, which means that it’ll probably end up being cheaper for us to finish out the year on propane, and not trying to find more wood.
I’m seeing prices running at $55 / face cord, which if my research is correct is actually about 1/3 of a cord of wood. I’m thinking we need at least 1.5 cords to get through the rest of the winter, which would mean spending around $250 on wood. It’s hard to make a call on this because we’ve never really used the propane to heat, so I don’t know how much of our tank we’ll use up in a month.