Its going to be a lean winter..


Sorry Patrick, covering your eyes and ears will not stop this from happening.. you little coffee thief!

Now, you are most likely thinking.. huh.. what do you mean and how can you tell this in the first week of July..

Well, I should be clear on this, I will have more meat then you can shake a stick at, the freezers will be full, farm gate sales will happen and I will need to be running my pressure canners to put up many jars of canned chicken, pork, lamb, and goat..

I will have eggs, I will have my older flock and I have young hens coming up that will be the right age to come right into first lay late fall that will lay thought out the winter for me..


I will have milk, there will be a dry out time but it will be very small, Juno the goat will provide milk for a good while  and when she is dried up, one or more of my milking sheep will have lambed again and I will have fresh milk all winter long. which means milk, yogurt and cheese..

BUT then it gets much more tricky.. this drought is bad, in the past week I have been getting the talk, and from so many sources..


My biggest hay burners, but they are so worth it!

My main hay supplier… I have hay for you, but do not add any more critters to the farm, unless you balance it out.. you have only “this much” booked for the winter..  Ps if folks ask.. I have no hay for sale.. only just enough for my regulars

My secondary hay Supplier- No hay..

My main Straw Supplier- No Straw this year!

My Secondary Straw Supplier- Maybe, a little but you are not getting full order, I might? be able to give you a quarter of your normal..

I do my best to buy my grains from local sources,  and I am hearing the same thing from them..  the crop yields are in the 40 percent range if that..  they are going to do their best to try and meet their “regulars” needs..  but they have no extra for sale..

I took a deep breath and said.. what about cost? because when things get this lean.. you know you are going to pay more.. and yes, I am taking a small hit on that.. I nodded and went.. ok!

But then I asked nicely.. ok, so if I was not a regular and you did have a bit left over to sell, what would that price be like.. my regular hay guy, he has doubled his large hay bale price.. average in our area is 40 in yard pickup and he is not even going to consider lower then 80 a bale and my one grain supplier, the farm next door was buying extra and he was already paying 70 a round bale and the guy he bought extra said that second cut what he did get of it, would be a hundred a bale..

Let me give a idea of just how bad it is.. was talking with one of my local’s in his hay field.. one stunted plant, with 6 to 18 inches of bare dead earth around that plant.. he is going to plow the hay field up and replant it back into hay again, hoping that it will come again.

Corn stunted less then knee high and its starting to head out.. its being taken off as silage because they are out of feed, because they did not get a 1st hay cut, so they are needing their grain crops NOW to feed their cows..

Wheat that is only 10 to 11 inches high and are all ready headed out, now to be fair the heads do not look that bad, just very small though.

My local potato farm is showing the strain as well, they water and even with their extra help, everything is stunted, those plants should be big enough that you can not even see the sandy soil they will grow in and instead, they are looking to be four to six inches high and lots of ground showing still.

I honestly thought that my garden was suffering, and compared to a normal year, it is.. it is! but at the same time, I take it all back, compared to so many fellow gardens in the area, my garden is rockin along..

Now you can not compare my gardens to town gardens, the ones that are a average town garden with a person that has a water hose.. they can still be doing great if the person is watering regular.. I know, I know, they are begging for rain, they are with empty rain barrels as well but they can turn the tap on and go..

Myself and others with well, we can not do that.. I would be in a world of hurt right now, if I did not have my new water tank in the yard, I am taking around a 150 gallons out of it daily and I know that my well would not be holding if I had to take it from it.

As it is, I would take a bet that if we do not get rain and a good amount of it, I will be buying water for my well in aug-sept.. one load a month.. The river is low, its end of the summer low already, and its warm, we have been swimming and until you hit a deep (as in feet do not touch the bottom) area, you do not even get to cool water..  its lovely to swim in but that kind of warmth should not be in the water at this time of year..

Creeks are even harder hit, and in the local news some of them have already run dry and up on the other side of the valley, one of the big rivers is running at only 15 percent of its normal rate..  Read that again.. 15 percent!

Now lets get to the reason’s why my own gardens are doing as well as they are..

a) I am on river loam, its just good soil to start with..

b) I have lots of compost, I really do believe that the amount of compost I have added to my soil and gardens for the past years..

c) once again, the hugelbeds and planting with swells in mind have been my greatest secret weapons for producing this year..

d) The last but not least by any means is that I over plant and interplant.. but as I have watched with my girlfriends on more sandy soils then mine.. those that have lots of plant compost or plant cut and drops but do not have the same kind of animal compost to add to their soils, they proved that without the moisture in the soil, the seeds will not germinate..

Do not think that this is about home gardens, this is effecting local CSA, this is effecting local u-picks, it was on the news yesterday that many of the huge local strawberry u-picks only had one or two weekend that they were open, instead of weeks open because they do not have the fruit in the fields to have the gates open.

the farmers markets are hurting as well, the prices are already high and many have made it very clear that the prices are going no where but up! and the amount available is down, way! way down..

So that leaves me at least in a limbo.. I normally buy locally produced food in bulk to produce my own food, if I can not grow it on my own land.. but on a normal year, that is always more cost!

I can head to the regular stores and buy larger amounts at the local wholesale fruit and veggie store but it will not be from Canada and it will not be local.. and in most cases, I will have no idea what so ever if it is GMO or not

Not at all within my own personal views but if I do not buy it bulk and process it, then that leaves me buying pre-made from the stores.. and in many ways, that is even worse for some things..  (some things in the store are Canadian grown and made in Canada)

So that means we are going to have a very lean winter when it comes to what is being put up..  only the next few months on my own land, will give me a idea of just how lean..

Some things I had put away a two year supply of last year, so I am covered for this year at least as long as used in moderation.. but we will see..  we will see..

Are you in a drought zone yourself? Have you been working in a drought zone for a while? Do you find the funds and buy local at the higher prices, do you eat less of what is not available, do you buy from a zone that is producing it? P1070702

As my crazy little faith (the first kitten I have ever owned that truly climbed the curtains) says.. HANG ON! LOL



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6 Responses to Its going to be a lean winter..

  1. judy says:

    Your kitten pics are too funny! It makes our little dashound’s day if a cup is left on the floor so she can steal sips! She gives you that look “what….I didn’t do a thing” while totting a milk chin! LOL

    Wow, your area is really getting hit hard! We’re DRY & worried but not that bad. Any type of farming is hard enough so it’s hard to see crops & livestock hurting.
    At your hay prices we’d be selling our beef cattle herd. ouch!

    I also buy from the stores if they can prove it’s Canadian produced but only if I’m desperate. We buy very little & mainly go without (if we can)during a garden failure. We normally have somehting to barter with to gain our short comings so that certainly helps.
    It sounds like one of those years that lots of folks will be tighten belts once again.

    • Glad you liked the photos of the kittens, they are a hoot and make me smile often.. normally, we just go without as well, we will see, I have a feeling that we are going to have lots of this and that.. and very little of many other things.. I normally would barter but when everyone is in the same boat or worse, hard to barter..

  2. The reality of a “no snow to shovel” winter coming around to bite us in the rear end…
    So much for “Climate Change? What climate change?” … HUH!! ):):

    • While I fully admit that our climate is moving around, and I do understand that we are having a effect on it, with a hubby that is a geologist and my own love of history.. we as a history have been dealing with climate change since the beginning and we will again..

      Look at Greenland.. at that end of the warming cycle.. I was amazed when I was over there, that they had warmed so much that when the Vikings arrived they farmed, they grew grains and grew hay and so forth.. they did a combo of leave-died out when the next cycle of climate came.. and we will struggle to adapt just as much as past folks did..

      I will be interesting times we live in!

      • Mel says:

        Adding to your argument here. As an astronomer I can tell you that there are a couple cycles that our sun goes through that have a direct effect on earth. We are right around the peak of one of them at the moment. Climate change happens in cycles. We as humans certainly don’t help matters, but it is the ultimate in hubris to think that we are directly responsible for everything that happens on our planet. The universe is a large and powerful thing. We are but gnats in comparison.

        All that said, it’s DRY out there! Fully half our seeds didn’t germinate in our small garden plot even with regular watering. I am very, very glad that we have a good, deep well.

      • We are right on track for the same time that the water patterns in the el-nino that happened last time in 2012 and I am will very interested to see if we can find a pattern over the next four years but to tell the truth, I am trying hard to plan for anything.. because I think that is the smartest way to look at it.. plan for the basic’s, explore ways to extend growing season’s in many ways and then roll with what we get..

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