Amherst Island is, I’ve been told, the most drought prone area of Ontario. It can be very frustrating in the summer; standing in a parched field watching the clouds open up on the mainland to the north of us. Or to see the large cloud banks to the south of the lake soaking the aptly named Watertown in New York State. It’s not so bad in the winter though as we seldom have more than a foot of snow on the ground. This allows us to keep our sheep outside all winter.
We roll hay out on pasture and hay fields and that creates a rich mulch for the next growing season. It also means that we do not have huge quantities of manure to move in warmer weather when there are lots of other things to do. The sheep are able to stand a lot of cold provided they are well fed and can find shelter from the wind behind bushes, trees and rocks. They are healthier in the cold weather as the various tiny critters that harm sheep are inactive.
The dogs do not seem to mind the cold much either although some of the older dogs usually find a sheltered spot to rest in. The bitch that we bought from a ranch in Colorado whelped 7 puppies last month. They are now quite active and are solid little fur coated barrels. We hope 4 of them will find good homes in working environments – we won’t sell them otherwise. Three more dogs will bring our total guard dog numbers up to 15. There are also 2 Border Collies and 3 pet dogs on the farm – lots of dog food required.