We're on track for another mild winter. This is not good for the bees, who should be staying inside keeping warm instead of burning more calories flying around looking for things to eat. The only things blooming at present are a few dandelions and the biggest winter weeds, henbit and chickweed. These plants are beneficial and we certainly harvest whatever we can find to toss to the birds.
In this season of "no growth" of grass, the chickens have been extremely tough on the sod. With the cows in the lower field we got really backed into a corner, pasture-wise. We addressed this by parking the laying flock on a pad of 5 tons of rough-textured sawdust from the local chipper mill. If we had a hoophouse over the area, it would be the same system that Polyface uses in the winter. Unfortunately, the hoophouse will have to wait. What this means from a management perspective is that we'll continue to add carbon to the pad to compensate for the moisture that will surely continue to fall over the winter. In the spring will we plant a thick cover crop over the pad to smother weeds and build soil. Eventually we should have both good soil there and a hoophouse.