We begin a New Year here at Bluebird with new snow, some rain, a big thaw, freeze, new snow…just like January! Juncos and chickadees are thick at the feeder and just yesterday the waxwings returned to our elderberry bush. We’ve a pair of bald eagles hanging around; various owls and I watched with admiration as a squirrel ran across the newly formed crust of snow, scooted up the apple tree, grabbed a shriveled apple, tumbled, then regained composure and raced off.
The post-holiday pace at our mill has been steady. It means everything to any small business to have good sales flow each week so we are grateful for the consistent orders, but also grateful for a natural “even pace” as winter thickens. Our freight drivers continue to do a fine job getting up here to the granary – or close – and so far, we’ve not had to delay any orders this year. I’ve been asked more than once “why did we build our facility up here in the foothills?” Simple answer: our home here was the only land we owned at the time. That said, we purchased some new agricultural property this past fall for both farming and for processing expansion in a more central location along Hwy 20. Of course, I’ll keep you posted on this prospective project as time continues on!
We continue to capture a high percentage of finished grain from our less-than average crop. Now that we’ve been running this year’s since September, we more clearly see some positive patterns with our clean out. Hopefully this will continue when we get into the harvest from a different field, here in a month or so.
At the time of this writing, snowpack is slightly above average around here and we’re in a 3 day storm cycle upcoming. We are happy for this as January is traditionally one of the bigger moisture months for our area. Drier cycles actually can begin Feb/March. Of course, Mother will decide all in the end no matter how much we may or may not fret.
The sanctity of winter is never lost on this farmer, nor the suddenly growing daylight! More daylight at the days’ end triggers the new year like little else. And although I love the skiing and the sharp winter stars when the skies finally lift and the colder, fresh air, I also know how hard this time is on wildlife. We’ve seen fewer deer this winter around our place, and no cougar sign yet, but birds seem always abundant. As I came down our driveway the other afternoon, 10 Hungarian partridge skittered along before flushing out over the new snow. Likely, they were pecking for gravel. I threw some grain splits out for them at dusk, hoping it would help them “get by”. Then thought, hmmm, this might concentrate them and risk them becoming a meal.
Yes, we’ve been enjoying many a fine meal our spoiled old selves here. I really enjoy the split grains, pilaf or bulgur style this time of year. They go well with grilled wildfowl, or in hearty soups, or with dried fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I hope you all are enjoying them as well.
This one is dedicated to dear Uncle King who passed away at 94 this month. WW II vet, golfer, tennis player, mountain climber, skier, fisherman and all around incredible human being. He once told me, as we were climbing in Argentina long, long ago, that one of the things the army taught him was: When given food, eat; when given sleep, sleep. I’d say it served him well – almost as well as he served all of us. Rest easy, ole’ pal…
Yours, Farmer Sam