Hoarfrost, a term I am sure you may not have heard of, but if you live in the San Luis Valley it is one of the beauties of winter. Hoarfrost is basically the super pumped up version of frost. Here is how the Great Sand Dunes National Park explains it:
"Unlike most mountain valleys where cold air and moisture can easily migrate away down stream drainages, the San Luis Valley is essentially a flat, closed air basin. Frigid air settles off surrounding alpine mountains each winter evening, pooling on the valley floor below. (This is why Alamosa is often the coldest location in the U.S.) These temperature inversions, with icy air on the surface and warmer air above, trap and promote thick fog in subzero temperatures. Large crystals grow overnight (sometimes up to an inch long), making for a winter wonderland!"
I mean how cool is that?! It is so magical. You wake up to a heavy frost and then as you and the day start to wake up and stretch, the fog begins to lift revealing a white, pristine winter wonderland. The morning is so much more beautiful when you get to wake up to this. Of course it is wicked cold when you go outside, so it is so much more enjoyable from inside the car or house! It is true that we sometimes compete with Alaska for the coldest place in the US! I like to think that the sheep enjoy seeing this beauty as much as I do and I know they aren't fazed by the cold thanks to their nice wool coats :-)
If you haven't liked the Great Sand Dunes on Facebook, I highly recommend it as they not only post amazing photos but great information too.
Ok they weren't born on the actual New Year, but they are the first lambs of the new year. Its a rather embarrassing story that luckily has a happy ending.
Last fall Dad and I were sorting the sheep and pulling out the rams who were going for sale. Well one ewe decided to jump in and join the rams. We were running late and had to leave her for the night mixed in with the boys...well...I really need to talk to my sheep about birth control! Especially having babies in January!! This is totally on me!
So, dad and I had a nice little shock when we headed over to let the sheep out and found babies! To top it off, our sheep hauler aka horse trailer, was full of scrap metal. #facepalm So first we had to recycle the metal and then load up the babies and mama to take them back to the barn. Then one of the lambs wasn’t sucking or breathing well so I had to run into the vet to get materials to help save it. Sigh...some days....are more exciting then others.
Both babies are happy and well, and Mama is super protective of them. So grateful for a barn to keep these little ones warm.
When living in this beautiful life as a farmer, sometimes you need a reminder to take a step back, let go, and laugh a little. This little reminder comes to us in a 40lb mutt named Blue. Blue is not the brightest crayon in the box, but he is one happy and loving dog. As you can see by this photo, taken by Tia Lisa, he loves to smile. He also loves to run off each day to go to Tia Nitschka's house and jump on the trampoline and play with her dogs. Days when frustrations seem to be getting to the best of us Blue will come along, and do what only Blue does best, bring a smile to our face or belly laughs with one of his goofy antics. He is terrible at herding sheep, but he does remind us to smile, to laugh, and to not forget to let go and be a little goofy.
Every farm needs a farm dog like Blue.
Welcome to 2019! We are so excited for what this coming year will bring :-) Mother Nature started off the new year with a wonderful blessing of gracing our fields with 8 inches of snow. Our farm relies greatly on snow melt and though it can make chores a bit longer in the moment, come summer our fields and sheep will be happy for it. The sheep till now had been out grazing the fields, but with this blanket of snow the sheep are enjoying the bales we made over the summer. The end of 2018 had us prepping for the holidays, cleaning out the barn and getting it ready for lambing, and having a wonderful sale on our fleeces for the end of the year. Don't worry though if you missed it, because we are gearing up to do another one in February! The end of 2018 also brought us new sheep to the farm and joining forces with Mudita Camels. We did a lot of growing and learning in 2018 and we are ready to do even more in 2019. Now that the holidays are over we are plotting and planning. We will be doing monthly Newsletters this year, weekly blog posts, and getting out and about more with all the wonderful products we offer. We can't wait to share with you all the wonderful things we have planned!
After the snow storm cleared out, the beautiful picture above was a sight to see. Just like the bird who left that print in the snow, we too are ready to soar and make our imprint on 2019.
Elena Miller-terKuile is the current generational farmer of Cactus Hill Farm. When not in the fields/with the sheep/dying fiber/in the garden/knitting away, you will find Elena..Lets be honest here....you'll most likely find her taking a nap!