I am still living within the first year on this lovely farm, enjoying the new experiences each season has to offer. The past few weeks have brought a few inches of snow to our little spot on the mountain. The natural Southerner in me looks forward to these days that seem to only occur every couple of years in the lower parts of Tennessee.
In an attempt to capture the pure magic of this farm covered in a blanket of white, I pulled on more layers than I am willing to admit and spent some time exploring.
These images were taken over the course of several days of accumulation that happened in early February. The snow, paired with a somewhat surprise Cria arrival found me overwhelmed with farm chores. Keeping animals adequately hydrated when all hoses and water buckets are frozen solid is always quite an experience.
Witnessing Ophelia nurse on her own for the first time made the past two weeks' extra effort completely worthwhile. She's a trooper, having survived her first night alone in the barn after being born in a crazy thunderstorm. Her story deserves a blog post all its own, one day soon.
Right before the first frost I purchased 6 round bales of hay from my neighbor's brother-in-law who lives in the valley. I heard from a fellow alpaca farmer that it's best to buy bales from the valley, as it has more nutrients than mountain hay. These words of advice have helped keep my small herd healthy and well-fed throughout their first winter on a new farm.
I made a box and put it on the back porch for Cosmo to sleep in, but most nights he prefers the barn, where he has his pick of heat sources to snuggle up next to. When I feed him in the morning he always smells like a mixture of hay and sheep, leading me to believe that he has chosen Penelope as his favorite heat blanket.
This barn is a huge upgrade from the old farm. On cold nights I am able to close the doors and keep everyone comfortable in stalls and common areas. Having peace of mind during those nights when temperatures fall into the single digits is priceless.
The snow days were a nice reminder to slow down and take a look around. Sometimes we forget how far we have come in a rush to keep up. Mother Nature knew exactly how to bring that into focus for me by depositing a blanket of ethereal white, allowing me just enough time to soak it up before bringing sunshine and warmer days back to the mountain.