The joy of the young over waking to a covering of snow does not last long in livestock farming. The reality of keeping animals adequately fed and watered in difficult conditions sadly removes the initial glow of pleasure of a white landscape at an early age.
Already we are struggling to water all the livestock out doors and indoors as the pipes freeze and the water troughs ice up. Jethro takes the water bowser out with him to some of the animals twice a day but even the pipes on this ice up and have to be thawed. The cattle are better off as in February this year we bought very large troughs which do not have to be filled daily as they have such a large capacity for water. Sheep actually drink less in these conditions as they eat some of the snow while grazing, it is the pigs who are always the thirstiest However they do not mind the cold and are happy living in their family groups sleeping and keeping warm in the straw filled arks. They lie in a heap together, often side by side, just like sausages in a pan.
The cold snap is early and combined with the dry summer and the fact that we have less grass than normal it is looking like it could be a long and tiring winter for both animals and men. You can imagine that we are all serious sceptics of global warming in this house.
An accident 2 weeks ago has put me on crutches so I am not able to help at all, and indeed all my jobs: Swift, the dogs and the chickens have been added to Jethro’s heavy workload. As the snow and ice reach right to the house I am banned from going outdoors in case of another fall.
Christmas will therefore be a rather funny affair too, a trip with a borrowed wheelchair to a local supermarket soon should see us get the last few things we need. I have not sent cards this year and luckily gave all the extended family home cured ham and bacon in October to freeze for the big day ahead. There will have to be a lot of IOU’s written for the members of this household as I cannot get to a shop and the sudden snow and ice have made things far worse, in that respect. The day the accident happened I had planned to go shopping in the afternoon… instead I was in the hospital. The road is now only passable in the 4WD and apart from booking Jethro to take us food shopping, after a return trip to the hospital, there is no spare time to take us to do anything else on account of the conditions. Annoyingly, I wont be able to drive for at least 6 weeks.
Still I can enjoy a quieter life too. I will be making sausage rolls later, something I can do sitting down, even if someone else has to put the trays in and out of the oven. This afternoon I shall be in front of a snug fire with my feet up watching Mamma Mia again, a present from last Christmas. And I get the chance to read books, lots of them, wicked! And when I have run out of good books there is some knitting started long ago to be finished, it was originally planned for a baby who is now 3, so if I can actually finish it I will have something for the next baby in the family whenever that may be.