The kids, as in generations previous, are cheering for the snow.  They’ve got a few sleds out.  They’re checking the ski reports since they invested in season passes this year.  They complain about how hard chores are now.  All is normal and well.

The Mangalitsa hogs are proving once again that they really do thrive in austere conditions.  Their winter potato and turnip diet has begun.  The swallow-bellied Mangalitsas on the right spent yesterday digging turnip for their dinner.  They chose to bed down where they’ve been sleeping for a couple months now–around the empty feeder.   The blond Mangalitsas are enjoying a few potatoes a day.  It is truly amazing how these pigs can grow on frozen potatoes or the turnips they dig out of the ground.  They stay healthy and happy on very little. 

The goats have a different opinion.  They prefer to not dig in the snow for dinner.  Today is the first I’ve seen them out of their shelter a a couple of days.  The sheep, on the other hand, only go for shelter in a blizzard.  Their wool coats must be fantastic insulation because they sleep outside and don’t complain about an inch of snow on their backs.  They’ve all been out wandering the whole back of the property for the last month or longer, and just now moved into the pasture by the house.  Among goats, the Boers and Spanish are hardier.  They don’t like to have their feet in snow, but they make out just fine.

The puppies love the snow.  Lilly and the four of them romp and wrestle.  They live outside full time, sleeping curled together in their dog house.  Cold doesn’t seem to bother Great Pyranees dogs.  Last winter on super cold nights Lilly would sleep in the hay, but otherwise they stay busy all night.  Joe described the system as “puppy outposts.”  The puppies wander the yard and bark at anything “unknown”–and some things known, just for exercise.  Lilly then sounds the alert and goes to check on things.  The puppies show a natural inclination to be guardian dogs, but Lilly does appear to be training them as well.  The kids are sad to see them go, but a few more still need new homes and are for sale.

We almost made it this year.  We aren’t digging carrots and potatoes this time around, but the brussel sprouts are still in the garden.  They’re frozen, so they’ll be OK for a bit.  Our goal was to have everything in before snow settled.  We were so close!  Keith cut sprouts for supper last night, and they were delicious–just like out of the freezer! 

Winter mode is maintenance time here.  We expect some piglets soon, and put chicks in the brooder yesterday, but mostly the animals eat and sleep and we all rest a bit.