Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gorgeous January Weather!

Usually in January, we'd have at least a couple feet of snow and we'd be looking forward to temperatures around -25 C. (about -18 F.): really, really cold.  Instead, in this odd year that began with flooding, we have very little snow and yesterday it was melting and dripping!  Global warming?  Once in three-hundred-year weather pattern?  That's a whole other blog post!  This kind of weather is actually bad for perennials, trees and shrubs.  Plants that are hardy for us need their freezing period and snow is our best insulation.  Warm weather with patchy snow cover, inevitably followed by very cold weather, is damaging to root systems and drying for stems and branches!

However, the critters are all enjoying this weather immensely.  Sometimes I feel bad about keeping animals in the winter here.  Heck, sometimes I feel bad about keeping us here in frigid weather!  Wouldn't we all be happier in the warmer climes of southern Ontario or the coast of BC.  But, that's not where we live, so we are really going to enjoy the balmy weather predicted for this week!

Doodles getting some sun.
We took the goats out for a walk yesterday.  A little romp, a chance for them to enjoy some natural food.  Goats love leaves and even like the brown, fallen leaves that are exposed right now.  They nibbled in the tomato field, chowed down in the willow shelter belt and really enjoyed the corn field.  We like to leave a certain amount of plant material in place for the winter: it acts as snow fencing, trapping and keeping the moisture of snow in place.  The added bonus this year is that is provides a little treat for the goats!  The dogs, of course, were with us and got some great exercise.  The house cats, Blondie and baby Doodles, hung out by the front door, sunning.
Busy in the chicken pasture.

The chickens have been basking in the sun and enjoying their natural dirt baths since there is no snow.  Usually this time of year, in extreme cold, they would spend most of the day in the coop with heat lamps on!  We try to supply them baths by providing large cat litter boxes filled with peat, diatomaceous earth and wood ash.  Natural is better, don't you think?  Even the barn cats are getting out for a little sunshine! Love the harmony here at Aagaard Farms - cats and chickens mixing to enjoy the sun.  I sometimes find it unbelievable that the barn cats seem to understand that the chickens are off-limits and everyone seems to get along well.  Well, except Grizzly Bear, who just can't seem to grasp the concept that the barn cats have a place here, too.  We'll keep working on him!  Peace and harmony, that's what we like!
Barn kitties and chickens hangin' out!


  1. Strange indeed. I am seriously worried about anything fall planted or young seedlings. Roots exposed to drying here for sure. What is the staked material in the picture?
    Happy New Year.

  2. Happy New Year, Clayton! Good to hear from you! The staked area was our tomato field, which didn't quite get tidied up this year. We were looking at our fall planted garlic on our walk - a little worried about it, too!

  3. Love that photo of walking the goats, you don't see that very often. I've been a bit worried about trees and perennials too as we just aren't seeing the snow cover this year. Every time we get a bit of snow the weather warms up and it melts. It's been great for walks but makes me nervous how the garden will fare.

  4. It is worrisome, isn't it, Marguerite. Of course, here, I run the risk of suddenly going down to -25C or lower! How cold can it get where you are? Absolutely root damage possibilities....