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It's Winter, what are you up to?

Posts: 442
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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It's Winter (well, if you're in the northern hemisphere it is), what are you up to? How goes the weather and your garden?

We've just had our first proper frost. The greenhouse-within-a-greenhouse-within-a-etc holding the chilli and citrus plants for overwintering is working so far. It isn't really warm enough for the chillis and they're not looking very happy, but they were only an experiment. The citrus were what I was concerned about, and they look fine.

The chicken water keeps freezing and I end up running backwards and forwards with kettles of hot water to defrost it. I shall spend some time this weekend insulating it, we don't get very cold here so hopefully that will do. Also the rats have moved in and are eating my chook feed, so I've been battling them. I lock the chickens in the coop overnight and open the run up- the resident cats then prowl the run, rather than the rats having free reign whilst the cats are stuck outside.

Been doing lots of cooking for the christmas hampers (everyone gets hampers of mostly-handmade food from us), this year I've made bacon jam, squash and apple chutney and have been practicing french macarons and marshmallows. Been making soap as well, again mostly for gifts.

Garden wise everything is soaking wet and muddy. We've eaten most of it now (I didn't grow much this year, my Partner hasn't been well so rather than planting I was running him to and from hospitals), lots of squash in the pantry but we don't have any winter greens this year.

Lots of things I should be doing, the house still cools down too fast and I need to work out how to get more insulation in somewhere. There's some cold spots in the sloped roof that need dealing with. The leaking roof could also do with fixing.
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I live in Maine so winter comes quick, but not this year. Last year our sheep came in off pasture on October 24th, and this year it was not until November not having to winter feed them for nearly a month was great. Now that that started however, it is just getting tucked in for the long winter that will bestow us. That is the way it is in Maine; four seasons; three of which means getting ready for winter and the fourth being winter itself.

I am in the process of clearing forest into land for more sheep, so this winter it will be a lot of logging in knocking down the forest in preparation for stumping and land leveling next year. Logging has always been the traditional work for Maine Farmers in the winter, and so it will be for me. I like it, chainsaw in hand, snow falling, and a network of trails leading from landing to stump. It is beautiful; working with falling snow that would be dangerous and miserable if it was raining.

Then of course there is Lambing Season which always lands in winter. When the first lambs hit the ground, which will be any day on any sheep farm really begins with the every-four-hour checks, a lot of lamb care, and basically a life inundated with all things sheep. But as with most things, while it is the most grueling part of the sheep year, it is also the best. Its like having the cuteness of hundreds of newborn infants without having to buy diapers for them all.

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