With all the terrible weather happening in other parts of this continent or the world, it is a blessing to us that our mild fall has become a temperate winter. So Far. I should not be counting on this to continue of course but we do cross our fingers. Not just for our sake but the livestock who appreciate the milder conditions.
As we all know, the last two years have been extremely difficult. However, for farmers there were problems starting in 2019 that had repercussions in 2020. Too much rain made putting up hay extremely difficult and we, like many others turned to making silage. Ours was not made with any quality forage and it showed up in the 2020 calving and lambing. Fortunately, for my Katahdins, I had a nice supply of barley from 2018 still stored in bins as the 2019 crop never did come off due to early snow. That and alfalfa pellets kept the sheep going but the cows were sold in early March. With declining health, my husband made this final decision and he passed away in April 2020. Just as covid hit.
So being on a farm for the shut down was not that much of a hardship really and only when you needed to go out for household supplies and groceries, did it really hit. Kids were home schooled so available for help and the summer was starting to promise a bumper crop of hay. Lambing was not great just seemed that the sheep did not do well at all on the silage even with the addition of grain and pellets. lambs were lost and since it was not a good time for me, I welcomed not having to worry about feed for the coming winter.
Our winter continued to be mild with little snow a big surprise after the year before. Covid was taking a back seat, or so we thought. Farm work continued on and getting the lineup of equipment ready for the auction planned for June 2021, was made easy by the continuing easy winter. I did not have many lambs to sell and so promoting that part of the farm took a back seat. It was a time to look at much needed work to be done on fencing, roofs renewed, cleaning out grain bins and of course improving water bowls and handling system for the helpers I had. Tractors needed sorting and work done on most. Decisions to make on what to keep and what to sell. A Christmas we truly were thankful for what we had.
By the time lambing was done in March, the work on the equipment kicked in and the months passed in a blur. Lambing went much better than the year before except that there were only a third ewe lambs out of about 60 lambs. Of course the demand for breeding stock was high as anyone with a patch of grass had time now to look after some livestock and maybe even supply food.
Now with the sale well behind us and a settling down period gone through, we remain sheep farmers and with the addition of a very nice young ram from Mish Katahdins, are eagerly waiting for the next crop of lambs. Hay is home and not the greatest but at least green inside the bales. It was very dry and again the farmers stressed by the weather. My hay supply came from farms that put it up before it was totally burnt down and grasshoppers starting to infest the fields. Then after a few showers some got a meagre second cut. What will next year bring? I am not making any bets on that one just too many variables. The rain storms in BC turned to snow here and the usual comments on the conditions of the roads. So I don’t think we are that badly off here and just have to hope that some of this snow moisture will at least find it’s way into the aquifer’s or ponds rather than run off in the Spring.
Good luck with lambing for 2022.
Lynette Kreddig 2022: Inquiries and prospective visitor’s contact: LYNETTE.KREDDIG@FRANKLYNFARM.CA