Friday, December 11, 2009

Four Seasons in Wisconsin

Some people claim that we only have two seasons here in Wisconsin - winter and road construction. I disagree. We do have four seasons - we begin with one or two months of mud season - you know, that time that comes after the snow melts - mud all over everything - that's usually when we lamb (see my post of April 12, 2009 for a mud story). Don't get me wrong, just because there is mud everywhere, that doesn't mean some days aren't nice, tulips blooming and all that springy stuff. I actually enjoy most of mud season - the lambs, the promise of new growth, fresh pasture, thawed hoses. Then comes the three to four months of mosquito season - can't go outside without bathing in some sort of insect repellent that probably will make me die young of some sort of cancer. Then we have a couple of weeks of real fall weather - cooler temperatures, changing leaves, the last of the garden harvest before the first hard frost, sheep eating the last of the pasture, rams behaving like gentlemen, not like the fools they become during breeding season. And then, finally, we have six months of winter. Endless cold, frozen water buckets, gates that are frozen shut, thigh high drifts (OK, I'm short, but thigh high is still too high in my opinion!).

Wednesday we had a foot of snow and blizzard conditions, now we have temperatures that drop below zero over night and we're lucky to get into double digits during the day. To top it all off, yesterday when I woke up about 7:00 am (I slept in because there was a two hour delay for school due to bone numbing wind chills), the power was out. So, no heat, no water (we have a 125 gallon fish tank that comes in very handy at times like these so we can actually use the toilet), no first cup of coffee - and, OMG, Nicholas couldn't play his Playstation! Fortunately, WE Energies (if you look at that really fast, it looks like weenergies - play along with me - think hot dogs, frankfurters) was very efficient and fixed the problem in about an hour and a half.

But, with all the complaining I do during our six months of winter, we do see lovely scenes like this:

And, because it is almost impossible to blog without including some sheep pictures, these are the two Dorset ewe lambs that we got from Don and Carol Battenburg this year:

And one of our lambs, a Polypay/Coopworth cross - I can't wait to see her fleece on the skirting table - she appears to have the finer wool of the Polypay, with the brown coloring of her Coopworth dam:

Hope your weather is warmer than ours - at least at the moment - it is supposed to get up near freezing this weekend. Hooray!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Blizzard of 2009

And I certainly hope it is the only blizzard of 2009! In fact, if we're lucky, it will be the biggest snow event of the winter! The weather guys started predicting this one several days ago - yesterday around 2:30 pm they switched us from "winter storm warning" to "blizzard warning". That means blowing snow, winds sustained or gusting at or above 35 MPH. The local school was shut down for today by 7:45 last night. The governor declared a state of emergency for the entire state (I'm not really sure what that means, but the National Guard was put on alert). UW-Eau Claire was closed today - no classes! (I think the entire UW system may have been shut down). That NEVER happened while I was there!

Larry started plowing paths to all the sheep around 7:00 am - Nicholas and I slept in a bit, enjoying the snow day. Then we all hauled hay to those groups of sheep who do not have access to big bales, like Edsel and his four girls:

Some blizzard shots:

Nature's Christmas tree:

And I had more written, but Blogger deleted part of my post, so I leave you with a parting shot of Bubba, our colored Coopworth ram lamb and, hopefully, future flock sire: