Taking a Break

Fringed Gentian
Fringed Gentian

I haven’t posted anything on my blog since last fall. It’s not because I can’t think of anything to write. A lot has been going on here at my small farm. Fences have been built, I started a new shed for the sheep (until I hurt my arm), garlic has been harvested and more planted. A new garden is in the works for rhubarb (30 root stocks in the ground) and currants. Corn, potatoes, onions, kale, and winter squash were harvested and are now being eaten this winter. My chicks are full grown. And now we are in the midst of a very cold winter.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing, too, just not on my blog. Since early October until early December I’ve been writing a very time and energy-consuming report on two wetlands: one natural and very much intact fen, the other a fen that has been extremely altered from its natural state. I spent several hours a day working calculations over and over to be sure they were right, analyzing those calculations, doing literature searches, drafting the report, and re-checking my field notes to be sure I left nothing out and didn’t say anything I had not also observed and recorded. After researching and writing from dawn until late at night I just didn’t have the energy to write about much else. This project consumed almost every waking hour for ten weeks. Even after I finished the report I continued to do more literature searches. Just in case because this is a controversial situation that has been fermenting for at least four years.

Now the report is finished complete with maps, executive summary, results, discussion, analysis, conclusion, and pages and pages of data tables. It has been submitted and the client who wanted it has said nothing since receiving it. Nothing for almost four weeks. I think this is a situation where the data and the interpretation of the data were contrary to expectations.

The flower at the top of the page is fringed gentian (Gentianopsis procera), one of the plants that grows in the natural wetland. Fringed gentian and many of the other species in the natural wetland have very specific requirements for hydrology and for soil and water chemistry. Finding these plants in the natural fen are indicators of a very stable ecosystem. And that can be a problem I guess when ideology trumps facts.

8 thoughts on “Taking a Break

        1. Only -18 this morning but tonight -20 or lower. We got about 30 inches of snow over 2 days in December which has made it pretty much impossible for the chickens to go out. And now the cold wave, the third one this winter, is keeping them indoors. Fortunately, they stopped laying eggs in November and the new ones haven’t started. The sheep are doing ok in this but I wish I had more bedding. The hay shortage has affected prices on hay and straw.


          1. I believe that… Friends of ours had to butcher their cows early bc it wasn’t affordable to feed them anymore… Only a few short months and it will be springtime… Thankfully!


            1. I’m counting the days to spring and hoping we get warm weather early unlike last year. I’m paying way too much for hay. They want $6/square bale. I’ve seen rounds going for over $40 each.

              I figured hay would go up in price. Most farmers here got one crop because of the late spring and then the drought. My pasture did poorly in the drought. I was lucky though since I have a lot of grass growing between my apple apple trees and in other places. I would cut two or three cartloads a day plus poplar branches to stretch out the hay and pasture until November.


                1. Hay is pricey this year. I don’t mind cutting fresh forage as it only takes about half an hour for a day’s worth of feeding. Cutting trees and brush is more time consuming especially now plus they cannot be the main food source just a way to stretch out the hay.

                  I kept my ewes and rams separated after August to avoid breeding figuring hay and feed costs would be too high. And now after three deep freezes I’m really glad I did. They were eating a bale a day and I imagine they’d be eating more if they were pregnant.


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