Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Weather Preparations

With the onset of winter weather expected this weekend, we're making a few preparations to ensure that our animals are ready for the cold and wet conditions.  The sheep handle this kind of weather remarkably well - their wool coats are terrific insulation.  Similarly, our guardian animals (dogs and llamas alike) can handle the wet weather just fine.

There are, however, a few things we try to prepare for before the rain (or maybe snow) starts falling.  First, if we have young lambs (as we do currently), we make sure that our pastures include some sort of shelter.  This could be trees or shrubs, or it could be topography.  Our prevailing winds during a storm are generally southerly, so a north-facing slope will provide some wind protection.  The pastures that our sheep are in this weekend offer all three types of protection.  Second, we make sure we have plenty of fully-charged deep-cycle batteries on hand. These batteries power our electric fences.  Normally, the batteries are charged by solar panels, but the limited sunlight over the next 3-4 days means we'll have dead batteries on occasion.  Third, we do any necessary hauling into and out of our pastures before the ground is too wet to drive on.  Today, I pulled our small water trailer out of the pasture.  Finally, we try to anticipate high water, high wind, or other problems that might cause problems for our electric fencing.  We shore up fencing where necessary, and check our fences more frequently during the storm.

As grass-farmers, we rely on the type of weather we're supposed to get this weekend.  I'm looking forward to real winter weather (and to the grass and new life it will bring next spring)!

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