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A Snowy Close to the Year

The last week of 2022 has made clear its agenda to be memorable. On Monday night, the weather forecasted 6-8 inches of snow. Islanders woke up to roughly double that.



Snow like this is not a usual occurrence on the island. So luckily, along with the extra work there's extra magic. Lum Farmers pooled together all our photos of the week in order to share some snowy farm moments with you.



Annie was pretty excited about the snow, until she realized that it meant that all her tennis balls had strangely vanished. Upon that discovery, she has spent a good portion of the week sulking.



The chickens were a chorus of one big "NOPE!" They stayed hunkered down, keeping each other warm. When Amy opened the door each morning, there was always one leghorn hen who shot out into the snow.... and then needed immediate rescue.



Luckily, she was easy to catch.


Not all feathered creatures are adverse. Crystal and Tessa found this snow angel made by a wild bird in the neighborhood.



Speaking of snow angels, let's turn to the porcine variety.



Betty and Leelo sided with the chickens. We made sure they had extra bedding so they were snug. The pair was clearly uninterested in exploring this Winter Wonderland.


Shannon lured them out with breakfast and warm water in the trough.


The piglets and Sweetie were pretty unperturbed. Their shelter is completely covered, so they didn't get snowed in -- but they still had lots of fun with the extra hay.



Annabelle is perhaps the farm's most accomplished nest-maker. It can take a bit of doing to roust her...




It appears that I'm writing about the critters in order of their appreciation of the snow, starting with the least-loving-it. The goats are squarely in the "No Thank You" category, liking the snow even less than rain.


Here Bean is trying really hard to be cute enough to convince us that we should hand-feed her breakfast through the take-out window.



No such luck -- and while Bean is usually the first to go for the kibble, she could not be convinced this time! Those of you who have appreciated Bean's (ahem) girth will know that she'll be just fine.



As much as the goats, pigs, and chickens aren't fond of this weather event, there are a few critters on the farm who just don't seem to mind.



The cows were totally nonplussed.



As were the sheep... they seem to be saying "Come on in! The water's fine!"


Martha is home on break from WSU, so she has had fun visiting her pony Emmy, and Puck and Daisy, Emmy's goat companions. They have a nice covered shelter, but are not adverse to venturing out into the snow for a little exploring.




Now here are two amazing folks that have remained (mostly) unbothered by the snow. Or at least they are not letting themselves slow down enough to complain:



Amy is Vermont born and raised, and Eric spent a number of years in Vermont, not to mention some time in Alaska. They know how to stay positive during a good solid cold snap.



Meanwhile, Toby is doing his best.


And Belle has it all figured out:



 

Before I close this blog post, I need to throw a few "farm real" photographs into the mix. Because while the snow makes for some gorgeous photo opps, it also presents some real challenges.



The temperature, with wind chill, got down to 1 degree. This makes for a lot of water troughs gone solid. If possible, one must break the ice out and then top it off with warm water. Hoses are all frozen, so all that warm water needs to be hauled around by hand (after the smaller watering cans thaw out in the Lum's bathtub!).



The animals need to eat a little more than usual, as their bodies burn off extra energy working on staying warm. Sadly, that's not powdered sugar on the top of this round bale....



Usually, chores are done with the help of our hand-me-down golf carts and an ancient gator. Three for three of them cried uncle and couldn't handle the snow. The farm has a couple large 4x trucks and the tractors, but much of the water and food hauling needed to be done by hand (I found that putting waterers in a trashcan and dragging that around was easier than trying to carry them above the snow).



We weren't without casualties. There was a tray of eggs left just outside the farmhouse door, and they quickly froze (thanks Damian, for the deviled eggs solution). On a more serious note, we lost a lamb who was already infirm and just couldn't rally through the extra challenge (despite a secluded stall and lots of care).


For the most part, we're going to come out of this just fine, thankful that there is beauty that emerges alongside these extreme temps. Such gorgeous, muted colors.



So, whether you're snuggled under a blanket by a toasty woodstove, or layered in wool and forging through the drifts, we wish you pockets of warmth amidst the wind chill, and contentedness amongst the chores! Carry on, neighbors!


Photographers: Amy Lum, Mandy Troxel, Shannon O'Donnell, Lucy Troxel, Martha Lum. Text by Mandy, who feels a wee bit guilty for writing about the hard work while the others are out there doing it!