Friday, March 18, 2011

Breaking up is hard to do

The last three days have seen rapid snow melt. This is the season Mainers call "break up" or "ice out," as well as the previously mentioned "mud season."

These linked terms refer evocatively to the time of year when our very substantial winter snow and ice covering disappears in the space of a few weeks, turns our soils to mud, forms deep pools in every hollow, and turns every rivulet into a torrent.

Much of the snow in southern Maine has already gone, and at lower altitudes than ours in surrounding towns there are already open fields. Wet soggy ones, of packed flattened grasses and herbs, but fields nonetheless.

We're high, though (500 plus feet), and we have deeper snowpack. It will take a while.

The creek in the first photo is in fact the top road this afternoon. The thermometer got up to 60 F, and the wind blew warm and long, and snow melted very quickly. A similar stream exits our basement every time the sump pump turns itself on.

This melting means that some of our fence posts that were pushed over by the snowbanks made by the various plows have nothing very much holding them up now, and so will need to have their posts reset and their wire hung. Here's an example.

There was also quite a bit of firewood shrapnel to pick up, especially where I'd dumped snow from the firewood pile with the loader.

The weather has been healthy for sheep, though, lots of sun and wind, and so I decided to put out a round bale for them to go at, instead of the usual square bale in the barn. I ran up to Beem Farm in Newport to get one. It was a big treat for them: different hay to eat and eating in the sunny outdoors instead of in the barn.

They'll waste a lot of this fodder, but their wasting will put some bedding down in their outdoor loafing area, which will protect their fleece from the mud, and it may keep them from testing those weak fences.

Until the ground thaws and we can get them fixed, at least.

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
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