Sunday, November 09, 2014

November chores and shifting gears...

 November has brought plenty of activity here at the ranch as we shift gears into winter.  The birds have mostly migrated and left the prairie very quiet. I miss the sounds when I go out walking.  We've been moving livestock to winter pastures with the incoming cold weather that is swooping down from Canada.  It was a gorgeous day here today in the 50s, but now that night has fallen, the temperatures have too.  We are expecting to go into the single digits all week long here.  Brrrr.  We've been so spoiled by a mild fall so far.  I guess it's time for a change.

We gathered up the ewes and put them through the gate into the hayfield.  I love watching sheep  go through a gate like water pouring through a funnel.  The ewes have produced a really heavy wool fleece.  They're fat and fluffy!   Toodles said to me, "Gram, they have their snow pants on for winter."  Yes, they sure do!

 The calves are all weaned now and are learning to eat hay and a little corn from a feed bunk.  Some are good eaters and some are struggling to eat differently.

 I dug all the rest of the potatoes from my garden and weighed out about 100 pounds.  I ended up throwing quite a few nice sized spuds over the bank because the voles got under the straw and gnawed on so many of them.  Pooh!

 I pulled up all the rest of the carrots from the veggie patch too.  My goodness, they did so well.  I didn't weigh these, but I did fill two grocery sacks full of carrots and stored them in the garage fridge.  They should last quite some time there.

 The grandgirls helped me snip the stems off the carrots and wash them up in the lawn.

I had cut the parsley all down with the first frost we had back in September, but look how much it grew back!  I whacked it all down and brought it in the house to dry on a sheet on the kitchen table.  I'll have lots of parsley to share. Did you know parsley tea is a good-for-you tonic?

 Early this morning, before the crack of dawn, Hubs and I took the Rangers out to the North pastures to gather up the cows and move them cross country to the River.  It took a long time until it was very light with all the cloud cover we had.  The cows were eager to go.  I think they can sense when it's time to go to winter pasture, and they are so happy to get a fresh pasture to graze.

 Time for a drink at the dug-out before moving on to fresh pasture.

 The grass is brown now but it's still packed with nutrition.  There was so much regrowth this fall with the moisture we had that there will be some green pickings down below the dry grass for a short time.  The cows were happy to get to their destination after about a seven mile walk through the plains.

This was my view from the side mirrors.  Two different perspectives -- moving forward and looking back.

Many little, but necessary chores are completed.  All the livestock water tanks have their heaters installed, the chicken coop is cleaned, the firewood is in, the gardens are cleared and the bicycles are put away in the old bunk house for the winter.  I even had the chance to paint a granary door and wash a few windows on my house before the cold snap hit.  The jeans are mended and winter coats and hats are pulled out of the closet and hang on their pegs.  Tomorrow we are expecting snow and deep cold so I plan to find some cozy indoor things to do like baking bread and maybe a batch of cookies.  We'll stoke up a fire and sip coffee early in the morning.  I love a fireside mug of coffee.

We will be selling bulls tomorrow.  It will be opening day for our new way of selling bulls -- private treaty instead of at a full-blown bull sale auction. Many ranchers have already stopped by to look at the bulls and make their picks so the phone lines will be open early in the morning -- first come first serve!  We are looking forward to trying something new and seeing how it all shakes out. 

I want you to know that I made that Fire Cider and it's pretty good stuff.  You can read about it here.  It turned out to be a very good thing to have on hand.  When I've begun to feel a little blah or feel a sniffle or the aches come on, I just take a tablespoon of it and chase it with some water.  I haven't been sick yet.  I really think that onions and garlic can't be beat for keeping the body healthy and strong.  They can really fight off colds and flu (at least for me).  I like to chop a clove of raw garlic into bits and swallow it like little pills along with a glass of water when I feel a cold coming on.  Nips it in the bud every time.

The lemon infused vinegar was also a successful little project.  It smells SO much nicer than just plain white vinegar, and I'm enjoying using it for cleaning purposes.  I use it for cleaning windows and for everyday jobs like mopping, deodorizing, and cleaning off the stovetop.  I'm sure there are lots of uses for it too.

How is your November going?  What are you doing to prepare for winter?


  1. Hello good Jody! I love your ideas! Thank you!
    Aw, the animals are bracing themselves for winter, too. I always enjoy your cold weather posts and YES to a mug of Joe by the fire! Take care, friend.

  2. Great shots of the landscape as you move livestock to Winter pastures and a good sense of your preparation for colder weather in your post - very interesting.

  3. I love the picture of your rearview mirror, seeing the plains behind the cattle. And the sheep like pouring water. I've never seen it in real life, but that's exactly what it's like in the movies!

    Going to give your cider a try. I had a good year last year re: colds and the flu, but have already been hit by one bug this fall. Bleh!


  4. I love reading about you settling in for winter. I love reading about all of your chores. It calls to me as it is such pleasant work.
    So glad all of the things you made are good. Have a great day getting ready for winter.

  5. I was thinking of you when I heard the forecast. It sounds like you're all ready for winter -- so much to do! I chuckled when I read about sheep snow pants -- children are SO fun!

  6. Ha! All I've been doing is raking leaves. I'm feeling like I better not complain about that job after reading everything you're doing to get ready for winter. I did trim back the lavender, too.

  7. My husband told me about the "Alaskan hurricane" activity that was supposed to send temps downward 40°, and I said, "That's Jody's country!" But you are prepared. God bless your whole crew and all the animals, too.

  8. And I though I had a lot to do to get ready for winter! You've been busy. I love the sheep in snow pants.

  9. Hi, Jody. I love your new banner photo (probably shows how long I've been out of the loop ...) The cows are so pretty; I love their faces. And thanks for your posts -- the "feel" of them is always so healthy to me, because you talk knowledgeably about hard work, outdoor living, healthy food, just good, homey things to do. It is comforting. Our November turned cold rather suddenly just yesterday, and this morning at the market it was under 30º, and breezy. Pretty cold for these Southerners :) I love the look of the sky this time of year. It makes me pensive and contemplative in a good, satisfying way.


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