Monday, 22 December 2014

...From my Cold Dead Hands

This has been such an easy winter so far.  It is slushy, ugly, grey, everything in weather that I dislike, but managing the weather conditions has been effortless, if annoying.

Last year was a challenge:

And I get a lot of advice that includes the words "Snow Blower" or "Tractor" or "ATV".  In a civilized, modern world, it seems that shovels should no longer be needed, yet I am stubbord.  I won't give up my right to shovel my lane.  For me, it may be that the appeal of the shovel against snow is similar to guerrilla tactics against a massive lumbering army.  A shovel is nimble and can be maneuvered almost as a direct extension of the arm's movement.  When snow drifts are halfway up one's thighs, one can stab the shovel in the top layer and chip away.  ATVs and snow blowers get overwhelmed pretty quickly as the little flakes of snow become a deep mass.  Tractors are very handy because they are built to overpower the elements, including snow and soil, which are forces that generally require massive horsepower or very fit, well-nourished muscles.  While the snow shovel remains my guerrilla implement in the winter, the force of the pig's snout and the digging shovel are a pretty strong combination for summer, in the absence of horsepower, mechanical or from an actual horse.

Horses would be the final frontier in potential animal acquisitions for us.  We have, however, added goats to our collection.  They are penned in the greenhouse, beside the two pigs, whom the goats probably find absolutely disgusting.  We let the pigs out the back to dig in a fenced off future garden patch, and the goats we bring out the front door and out in the open range.  But because they aren't penned in, they could wander all over if they wanted to, and they could get attacked by predators, so we stay out with them and watch them munch on grass, dead leaves, flowers, cedar and pine trees.  They have been bred, should give birth in May, and will produce nice milk throughout the summer.

The December market at Memorial Centre is finished now, and it was a good month.  We have seen our stand slowly become a little hub of regular customers.  There is an occasional lineup and it is great to be at a market that keeps you moving, thinking and talking (especially when it is below zero and your feet are cold).  Thanks to everyone who helped extend the season all the way into Stollen season.

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