Farmstay U.S. Blog

Created for and by travelers and the farmers, these posts will cover a variety of topics related to farm stays in the U.S.

Archive for tag: snow

Snow Day!

red barn in snow

Red barn in the snow; by janylee at morguefile


You may not know that the Farm Stay U.S. HQ farm is located in the pacific northwest, in a part of Oregon that is generally pretty mild, weather-wise. We get a lot of rain (the farm stay host here says spring is lambing season, and fall/winter is mud season), but only occasional snow.

Like right now!

Bandita in the snow

Bandita; by Kate Rivera


Not even enough to hide all the grass underneath.

Of course, farmers still have a job to do, even in the coldest, snowiest weather. Water troughs freeze, livestock needs to be fed, fencing may need repair, branches may have come down and need clearing... but that doesn't mean a FUN farm vacation in the winter time is out of the question!

We headed to our search page and came up with a few ideas for your cold-weather getaway. Click each link to see which farms and ranches can be "home base" for some snowy adventures:

1. Ice Skating

2. Dog Sledding

3. Maple Sugaring

4. Snowmobiling and Snowshoeing

5. X-Country Skiing

snow chores

P.S. Maybe you'd rather go to Hawaii or Southern California and just forget about the snow!

How Can Sheep Survive Bitter Cold Weather

This post first appeared on Kim Goodling's blog at http://www.livingwithgotlands.com/. Kim is shepherdess to a flock of Gotlands, the curly sheep from Sweden. She invites farm stay guests to experience rural living, sheep, and fiber art at her farm in Vermont. See her Farm Stay U.S. listing at Grand View Farm or visit her website.

We thought with all the challenging weather happening across the country right now, a post on how sheep can survive such cold temps would be interesting... enjoy!

 

I am often asked how my sheep can survive the harsh Vermont winter weather. Temperatures in our area often hover in the single digits with spells well below zero at times. Snow piles high around the barn, and cold winds blow frequently. With proper shelter and feed, our sheep have no difficulty with these winter conditions and cold temperatures.

Proper Housing

Visitors to our farm often think that a closed barn provides the best place for our livestock in the winter. In fact, that is the last thing that they need. Being shut in a barn, causes a build up of moisture and ammonia in the air, irritating their respiratory tract and causing infection. Sheep stay much healthier if they have access to sun and fresh air every day.

The thermometer registered 15 degrees below zero this morning, with wind chills between 40-60 degrees below zero. On days like this, our barn door remains open for the sheep to come and go as they please. The barn offers protection from the bitter wind, but certainly not much protection from the cold. This morning, all the sheep, as well as the llama, were hunkered down in the barn. With the gusty wind, we fed them their hay in the barn so they did not have to brave the subzero wind chill to eat breakfast. We also have a three sided shelter which provides a wind break for them. The sun shines into the shelter all day, giving the sheep a place out doors, with protection from the wind, without having to be inside the barn.

LwG - Drifting snow
Drifting Snow and Wicked Winds

Warm From the Outside In

Sheep have their own natural source of insulation all over their bodies. Their wool keeps their body heat in and the cold out. That is why you will see sheep with snow piled on their backs; their body heat does not reach the outer layers of their fleece to melt the snow. The lanolin in their wool also prevents moisture from getting to their skin. When doing chores, if my hands get cold, I will take off my mittens and bury my hands in the wool on one of the ewes to get warm.

 

Ema-2Bf-5
Ema’s wool protects her from the snow.


Warm From the Inside Out

We do give the sheep lots of second cut hay during the winter to eat. Due to the fermentation of fibrous matter, the rumination process actually creates a great deal of heat. This warms the sheep from the inside out, thus the need for good quality hay throughout winter months. The more sheep eat, the more heat they produce. A pregnant ewe will also have added heat from the lamb growing inside of her. The shepherd may provide added energy to their diet during extreme cold weather. We give warm molasses water when the temps dip in the single digits for added energy.

 

feeding-2Bhay
Feeding Second Cut Hay

 

With shelter from the wind and proper nutrition-our sheep stay healthy and happy all winter.

Since I'm in a wintery mood and would love nothing more than snow for Christmas (which probably won't happen), I'm daydreaming a little here.

Day 3 - Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, and Skiing

snowshoes

This is different from day eight's sleigh rides because... hmmm, because... because I'm making this up as I go along! Anyway, these are get-up-and-get-moving activities, perfect for working off some of that extra helping of sweet potatoes.

Some farms have lots of land, and you might be able to step right out the door and start snowshoeing. Others are very near popular destinations and make a great place to stay overnight and call home-base to your snowy explorations.

The gift of a winter wonderland!

It's the baking that has brought me here. Baking, using fresh eggs from local farms, has me contemplating all of the gifts our farm, ranch, and vineyard members have to offer us. I thought I'd highlight a few things to be thankful for as we race towards December 25th... one each day, so tune in again tomorrow!

Day 8 - Sleigh Rides

snowman sleigh

Dashing through the snow...

How many of us don't really have snow? Let alone sleighs, and horses to pull them? The idea of sleigh rides bring thoughts of snuggling up in warm clothes, hugging someone close, and listening to the jingle of bells, all while being pulled swiftly along a picturesque lane or over fields. And if I can get my hands on some hot chocolate at the end of the ride... all the better!

This is the gift of cold noses. And giggling.

Check out these Farm Stay U.S. members that offer sleigh rides.