This winter was terrible. Plain and simple. I'm having a hard trying to describe how winter felt this year. Torturous. Barren. Unrelenting and engulfing. It was just so cold, so snowy, and so dark. Winter is always an introspective time for me. Much more so this year. Many changes, many endings and beginnings. I am more than excited for the coming spring and a little brightness.
With the end of winter came lambing and kidding. After Rosemary's triplets there was Polly with a single buckling. Four buckling kids all wiggly, healthy and cute. Not as many ewes were bred as I had hoped. Only three of the eight I had expected were actually pregnant. A total of 5 lambs were born, two sets of twins, all girls. The one new mother of the bunch, Cricket, had a really hard labor and one extremely large lamb. While mom did recover and baby was ok for a couple days, she mysteriously died one night. It was a bit devastating, especially after another couple of deaths within the month. A virus took out Luna, one of the merino ewes, and then 2 weeks later, the same day Cricket had her lamb, my little fighter, Nugget, the crooked lamb that I had bottle fed in October was killed by a goat. I know death is a part of farming, and especially lambing, but I have been lucky enough to not have many unexpected deaths in my farming career.
I recently took 18 fleeces to the mill for spinning. It came to a total of 144 pounds of raw wool and mohair. The blends coming back will be a 30% mohair/70% targhee wool sport weight yarn, a naturally brown merino wool in worsted weight, and colombia, targhee, and rambouillet wools blended into a worsted weight yarn which will be SO soft. I kept Stella's silver coopworth fleece for hand spinning as well as Rocket (tan romney), Rue (coopworth), and Leia (kid mohair).
Now that the snow is melted and things are greening up, I can focus more on planting and creating growth. The flower area is tilled and ready for planting. I've started a bunch of carnations and mums and ordered a load of other perennial root stock that I am anxious to get growing outside. The berry patch is just starting to wake up. I'm currently putting down plastic mulch and cedar in the walkways to get ahead of the weeds this year. The front herb garden survived well, as did all but one fruit tree. A pear tree whose bark was eaten around by voles.
I am worried about the vole pressure. They seemed to have an absolutely phenomenal winter and have maybe tripled their numbers from last year. I may have to get more cats.
I decided I'm going to be making short videos marking the progress of the farm from time to time through the year. Here's the first one: