Winter seems so magical, peaceful even. I think it can be attributed to all of the amazing scenery that snow creates. I love the way it dusts the landscape in a sugary-sweet, white blanket. But while winter does offer a buffet of eye candy, it provides less rest than I expected. Despite the continuing work required to care for family, animals and the rest of the homestead, we manage to find respite in these fantastic scenes captured in a camera lens (and sometimes even a cell phone).
Even though spring feels like a million miles away with all of this snow, we still have some new babies on the homestead! We had a handful of hens decide they wanted to go broody at nearly the same time winter decided to attack us full-force. Can you believe some of these little guys were breaking out of their shells when there was snow on the ground? Talk about a true test in survival to be born when the thermometer barely reads 17 degrees! I love seeing all of these chickens, at various stages of life, living and eating together without a care in the world! Maybe this is a positive sign for how easy it will be to move them to the coop with our others... or maybe it's just a trick to catch me off guard!
We still get more eggs than we know what to do with, despite the drop in temperature and daylight hours. I had myself a littel laugh when I compared the differences in size between some of the eggs my son collected (not all chicken eggs are the same size, if you didn't know - they are sorted by size & sold in uniform dozens in the store because it's more asthetically pleasing). I love that nature is not symetrical. I think it's all of the little differences like this that make it so beautiful.
One of the most rewarding things for me, personally, has been raising our own animals for meat and actually knowing that they are being cared for properly. They live such a good life with us, free to walk around and roam. And since we feed cand care for our animals, we know what goes into their bodies, in turn knowing exactly goes into our own bodies. Gone are the days of questionable antibiotics in our foods!
It was time to retire some hens, so my husband butchered, cleaned and packaged them. Into the deep-freeze they went! Even though these birds are old stewing hens, they still cook up, enveloped in flavor, and more tender than I would have guessed! Spending a day in the crockpot with a bit of liquid and spice transforms them into a savory meal that any (non-vegetarian) would enjoy!
Our LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog), Athena, loves living with her goat pals. I really think she believes she is a goat! It's not at all uncommon to find her climbing and crawling on things with the goats or even nibbling on some grain. Should I break the news to her that she is actually a dog?
Athena will have a lot more company in the spring. We have moms-to-be rooming with her in the barn. I'm looking forward to seeing some baby goats again!
It's kind of a relief that we don't have to run to town. I really enjoy know that shoveling this snow everyday isn't a requirement just to get the day started and head to work. Note: Don't let this photo fool you. Our truck is lifted six inches.
The front of the house is absolutely burried! You can barely see the stone wall that surronds our home.
Every once and again we have to bring an animal into the house for care. This poor little chick took a little swim instead of a sip of water. I think this poor fella is actually a genius in disguise. After all, he managed to get some foor-star housing inside with us and no fighting for warmth with countless brothers and sisters.
Did I mention about how much I enjoy raising our own animals for meat? I'm sure this is something my parents and long-time friends are shocked to read (and twice in one article!). Having a lenghtly history being a vegetarian since childhood, I was definitely not expecting to change my tastes and actually want to eat meat regularly.
I remember the day my husband "surprised" me with two handfuls of pigs (and I mean ten pigs, not one cuddly pig you can hold in two hands). While I supported his interest in raising pigs, I was hesitant since pork was my least favorite of all meats. In the end, I guess hubby knew best (Shhhhh!! He can never know I admitted that!) because my new favorite food is
How is your winter going? Share your winter experiences in the comments!