Since we don't have a hay field,we have to buy feed hay and bedding hay for the sheep. It's a far cry from the chapters in the "Little House" books where Pa is out in the sunshine cutting his hay and putting it up for the animals for the winter,and in the case of "The Long Winter," used as a heating source to keep them from freezing to death.
We called one of our local farm,Top of The Hill Farm, in Wolfboro. We got their contact from Colonial Acres Farm,where we purchased the sheep.Admittedly,we had been buying our hay from our small local hardware/farming store where we buy our chicks and chicken feed,but a few weeks ago they ran out of feed hay,and we needed some,so we pulled out Top of Hill's business card and gave the Frederickson's a call.
Thankfully,they did have some feed hay left,so we made arrangements to go over and get some bales. Rick hitched our trailer to the truck,and Zach,Richie,and I piled in to the truck. It was a family excursion,which made it really cool.
The first thing you notice about Top of the Hill is....it's on top of quite a hill. I would liken it to more like a small mountain. I loved their set up-greenhouse,barns,lots of acreage,and a gorgeous view of the lakes and mountains. Rick noticed the farm equipment first (of course!) The second thing you noticed was how cold it was! Being that high up,there is usually a good breeze blowing,and that day it was pretty bitter,coming off the lakes. It must be nice in the summer,though,to keep the black flies and mosquitoes at bay.
Alan (Dad),Erik(son) and Anna (daughter) were all outside doing various chores. The chickens were walking around the yard,the cattle were talking amongst themselves,and there must've been a hundred songbirds in chorus. We chatted with Alan a bit,then drove the truck over to the barn to load up the hay. Erik went up into the hayloft and threw down the 20 bales we wanted. Rick and Zach loaded them into our trailer. Alan was apologetic-he had had surgery recently and couldn't lift anything heavy for a while. Anna was busy with the cows. Alan proudly told us that Anna's steer won Grand Champion Market Steer last year at the Fryeburg Fair in ME,and her Spring heifer had won in 2012 in as well. I stood by,chatted with Alan,and just took everything in.
Once we were loaded up,we asked Alan about his beef (they sell grass-fed beef and pork!) and we went into his garage to look over various cuts of meat. We bought a slab of bacon and a London broil.( Both wound up being the best we have ever tasted).
The hay was a dollar cheaper a bale and better than the ones we had been buying.Plus,we it felt better helping out a local farmer!
When we got home,it was time to unload the trailer:
The Ladies were waiting:
The chickens have begun laying again,and lately we have been averaging four- five eggs a day. Hopefully we will be able to start selling eggs again soon.
We are still buried in snow. Thankfully a snowstorm that is hitting MA today is staying to the south of us. This March has been much colder than normal,and I think everyone is ready for some warmer days. We have been getting some sap,but nothing like we should be. I doubt we will even get half a gallon of syrup this year.
I needed some cheerful color,so I bought a handful of daffodils to bring some Spring into the house:
I enjoy watching the birds out my kitchen window. So far I have seen Robins,Cardinals,Chickadees,Mourning Doves,Slate Colored Juncos. We have also had White Breasted Nuthatches,like this little guy:
Today Zach is home recovering from the flu. He was very sick on Monday night into yesterday,and spent most of the day sleeping. Today he feels better,but is very tired and is still running a fever,so we kept him home again. Rick was just outside walking the dogs,and The Ladies were calling to him. It's so cool to hear them bleat. They chat with us every day! Time to go feed them and the chickens.