I can't explain what it was like to walk in to the barn this morning and not find a dozen frozen rabbit water bottles, chickens too miserable to come out of the coop, horses with frozen nostrils or sheep with a solid block of ice instead of fresh water. After the brutal weather of last week, it felt like a warm summer evening as my boots crunched along the snow. All of the animals looked relaxed and calm. Though they certainly don't mind the cold as much as we do- they still feel the effects of below zeros temperatures for days at a time. I didn't find our special need rabbit Nemo buried under 6 inches of hay-- he sat on top munching on a piece instead.
Of course, they're calling for rain today after yesterday's snow and ice (just enough to make for terrible travel conditions), which means winter mud- a sludge that will paste itself to every surface on the farm and create near quick sand in front of the coop. The mud and the date on the calendar reminds me that spring is not too far off. So while the push of the winter cold is easing (at least momentarily), springs needs are becoming known quickly. We have so, so much to do- and I'm spending hours organizing the season. You wouldn't believe the amount of spread sheets that are involved in farming. Cash flow analysis, expense reports, purchase orders, and planting schedules- to start. But I'm hopeful by doing these things now, we will hit the ground running once it's thawed. I'm starting to get jitters about marketing too, we're placing a couple ads to hit our sales goals for the year. We're expanding the CSA quite a bit, so that means higher pre-season costs in seeds, chicks etc- and the need for more organization.
The pre-spring season always feels both promising and nerve wracking. You do so much work to lay out what your year will look like- but the truth is it will all change as soon as the actual planting begins. The weather, our effectiveness in plowing, equipment breakdowns, sales- there is no way to accurately predict the season. And that's the trick, you have to make peace with the lack of control and do your best to prepare for as many of the potentials as possible. Pressure, and relief. Pressure, and relief.