Winter Solstice Farm Journal

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

It's 4:49 PM and the sun has just set in a gap between the clouds - dark red and huge on the horizon. We have had 9 hours and 6 minutes of daylight today - some of it clear and bright and this afternoon increasingly cloudy and drear - singularly appropriate for the shortest day of the year. It will be dark in about half an hour the cloud cover hiding an almost full moon. What does it say about weather to come when the solstice and full moon land so closely together? Drear at the least, stormy at the worst.

We've had our first Christmas celebration with two more family gatherings to go. So far, an altogether pleasant experience. I still have gifts to finish and everything to wrap, but it is all good.

We lost a cow this week to toxic mastitis. Stan was a bit bummed, but he said it gave him a stall for one of the outside heifers, so now they are two. It is a fact that there will be a certain number of losses. On the up side, we've had so many heifer calves lately that we had to sell a couple and it came down to deciding between two cows that are both high producers (one had a 23,000 pound year as a first calf heifer) and high end in the component side (butterfat and protein). The one he kept is a big beautiful baby, mostly white and looking like a stuffed toy with her fuzzy winter coat. Sorry, no pic.

I wish for you all a pleasant holiday week filled with warmth and fun and family. I'll be stitching and wrapping and baking and praying for peace.

blessings to you all
Kathleen

The evergreens whisper
their songs in the storm
echoes of angels
calling us to the tide
of Birth and rebirth
bidding us heed the plea of
Peace on Earth.

May their songs whisper in your heart
all the year long

Thumbnail by Kathleen
Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

Yes, peace to you and Stan and everyone else here on the Farm Forum too.

Glad to hear of the new litle heifer :)

Fayette, MO(Zone 6a)

Oh yes, I knew it was the equinox. I tried to get up earlier than usual on a Saturday.. Not a dairy farmer, nor do I have sheep or goats anymore.. But, wanted to check the livestock before the weather blew in that we have been expecting. I work 10 hour shifts 4 days a week away from the farm and this time of year I do a lot of checking on the livestock after dark. I still try to hold to my rule of checking on every animal every day, regardless of the weather.

I had also decided to feed the cattle and horses closer to the barn this year.. That has made for a mucky muddy mess.. I did get the big bales of hay out and moved the big hay rings without getting stuck.. I am always wondering with this kind of weather, should I wait till it gets colder and the ground freezes up some and also wait till after the rain and snow to move some of the hay rings off the leftover hay in the bales and make some bit of a warm dry spot for them to bed down. ? But, I opted to move the hay out to make sure that I had plenty of time in case I did get stuck..

Tonight, setting here with pelting rain hitting this side of this old farm house and the windows rattling , I am glad that hay is out and everything is well fed.

We had Christmas with our daughters and their families a couple of weeks ago.. They will spend Christmas Day with their In-laws... Next year will be our turn..

Hubby and I will spend Chritmas Day at a dear Friend's home.

Merry Christmas to All..
KathyJo

Prophetstown, IL(Zone 5a)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Everyone! Its been a wild week here weather wise: dense fog, ice storms, snow followed by thunder and howling winds...Christmas Day is supposed to dawn cold and clear.

My cuckoo marans - the seven of eight that survived - are laying rich dark brown eggs....so pretty....my other girls are on an extended vacation...could be the nutty weather. Betty, Barney and Fred finally called an edgy truce but Betty is still Queen and demands...everything, lol. I'm hoping to secure the fence in the southwest pasture next Spring, set up a canvas shelter for them and let them nibble away.

Plans are underway for a new vegetable garden space fenced and closer to the house - I'm thinking raised beds and a bit of hoop trellis a la Monet's Garden - my plans are like seed catalogues - way over the top.

DH and I are taking a cruise to Alaska in May - an early anniversary event for us..

Just me and the husband for Christmas...well, the dogs, chickens and goats too.

Wishing Good Health and Happiness in the Coming Year for All

Catherine

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