Sunshine in the Barnyard

There’s still plenty of snow on the ground.

But the sun is shining through the windows of the barns. I used vinegar and water and spritzed off a winter’s worth of dust off of the glass.

I also raked the chicken pens and put the mucky straw into the compost. This exposed several inches of ice. If I left the bedding on top, it would insulate the ice (like an old-fashioned ice-house) and it wouldn’t melt until April. A two-foot high pile of snow remains in the run. It’s Candy’s mountain, but I’m hoping that will melt, too. We’re in for quite a mud season.

I raked wet and frozen leaves away from the fence, and look what was there. Grass! It’s green! Coco spied it and had a taste.

The pond is finally free of it’s lid of ice and the Beast has shown herself. I’m glad she survived this winter.

The goats have gotten the spring wind under their tails and were galloping about – well, doing the best they could what with their big bellies and not having had exercise for months. They’re celebrating the sunshine and open space with much head-butting.

My morning chores and a bit of spring clean-up took less than an hour, but the sun and the work and the cheery nature of my animals, and the feel of a warm wind makes me optimistic. The here and now of a sunny barnyard does that. Much needed after hearing the news out of Japan. Much needed most everyday. My next task today is to shovel snow off of my cold frames. I’d like to plant kale.


  1. the Beast laughs at winter weather ;) spring: time for green, time for play…finally!

  2. I planted taters and onions today. I could not live that far north.
    Too much snow and coldness.

  3. Lauren and Petoskytone – the lucky Beast sleeps through winter! Her courtesans surround her.
    Brenda- I shoveled the snow off my cold frame. I’m going to plant kale!
    Jean- the photo is adorable, but sadly the quality isn’t there.

  4. Great photos! Nice to see everyone (the Beast included) around the barnyard in some sunlight!

  5. Nice picture of Beast, I thought the Beast was a male fish. Have any of her offspring ever survived a spawning ? I can imagine a few little white fishes in that pond of yours.

    • I think the Beast is a female. The pond also started with normal orange goldfish and a few fancier ones. There are now small (but growing) white and white mixes.

  6. Terry, Thank you for the lovely pictures of your barnyard and your animals. I enjoy them so much. The snow brings so much beauty but so does the burst of spring you have on the way. Here in N. FL we have many evergreen oaks and shrubs so spring doesn’t show up with as big of a bang. I hope sounds are becoming more ‘normal’ for you.

  7. I spy a happy dog behind the goats! Isn’t spring wonderful, in spite of the mess!

  8. Oh my gosh. I would have such a hard time living in that weather. I grew up in Iowa but I definitely belong here in California. Farm chores are just so much harder in the cold and muck. Chick Days are next Saturday and I’m excited! Our hills are lush and green from the winter rains. Toby and his girls are spending the days eating salad (grass) and bugs and seeds and bathing in the dirt. Makes me happy. Hopefully your complete thaw isn’t far away and the grass will be right behind. Keep posting the pictures as it’s nice to see your critters all come out of the winter into the light:-)

  9. Wonderful photos of a long overdue thaw!! On another note- I tried steaming the eggs in a vegetable steaming basket and it worked GREAT!! Then made the yummy broccoli dish you shared- another hit! It was a good day in the kitchen yesterday :)

  10. Yeah! The beast is ALIVE! Great pics Terry..I love Lily peeking over the hill to spy the goats! I am going to plant lettuce as soon as the frost subsides….I REFUSE to pay $2.00 and more for it! Has anyone else noticed that food prices are HORRIBLE? They seem to have doubled! I never go to the “regular” market but I was in a hurry..could not find a package of chicken breasts for less than $10.00! What is up with that? Is it all linked to gas prices? I almost cried in the market….I am on a roll to be more “creative” in food department.

    • What saved my food budget this winter is that I was able to freeze lots of vegetables and vegetable sauces last summer. I’ve been using them up in a myriad of recipes. Lettuce is expensive, and here on the east coast I say that eating California lettuce is like drinking very expensive imported water – that’s about all it is, anyway, green water! I’ve been buying local bibb lettuce grown hydroponically. I do splurge on local meat – but I have recipes that stretch it out. Lucky you have eggs – the best food there is :)

  11. Spring, YES!!!!!! We actually had 2 inches of snow this morning but 70 degrees by Thursday.
    My koi have not surfaced yet but my pond is about 4 feet deep so still quite cold.

  12. Terry,
    I just took another look the pictures you posted Saturday and just noticed Lily’s head the picture with the goats.
    Question, does Lily chase the goats if given the opportunity?