Not much has been happening on the farm, except for snow, snow and more snow. By late January, we had about
3 feet of it. The whole place looks like a World War I trench system, as there are literally trenches dug all over the
place that allow us to get to the chickens, goats, sheds, and wood piles. I also got quite a bit of practice snow
plowing our street.
My plow set-up is a John Deere 2320 equipped with a Frontier RB2072 rear grading blade and iMatch quick
connect system. I have gotten quite good at plowing since I live on a "class 6" road, which means the town
considers it abandoned and won't plow it, although I do still pay the taxes for it. Anyway, I found it difficult
to plow with the bucket, so I needed a blade. The front plow with hydraulics cost about $1,800. Since I am
cheap, I bought the rear grader blade for $650. It does a pretty good job as you can see in the video. The
drawbacks are with a rear blade, you need to drive through the snow first, so this limits the depth of snow
you can tackle, (although you can push some of it away with the FEL bucket). Also, it doesn't raise very
high, so sometimes if you go in a ditch the blade digs in and prevents you from backing up.. so you need to
drop the blade, move it then back out (the iMatch quick connect is a huge plus here). The rear blade
however, can do double duty in the summer pushing soil around the garden and will help spread gravel
also. All in all, I am happy with this set-up for snow removal, but the rear blade does have limitations as
compared to a front plow.
I also underestimated how much water 8 goats will drink. I had a 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank, these guys
would empty (some evaporates?) in a month. Since my hoses are all frozen solid, this is a big pain. So I bought
another 150 gallon stock tank to increase capacity. So, I bring the hoses in (200 feet), melt them next to the wood
stove and then fill up with 450 gallons of water. I use a 1250 watt floating heater to keep them (one at a time) ice
Now, this is why I built the chicken coop like a battleship. I estimate it has close to 2,000 pounds of ice and snow
on the roof. Maybe in Arkansas you can get away with a couple two by fours, and a sheet of plywood, but in New
Hampshire you need to build to carry a heavy snow load. This won't melt until late March.
My "Shelter Logic" brand "Garage in Box," is not so lucky. Despite the fact, I am constantly knocking the snow
off of it, it has developed a noticeable lean...... I just hope I can get a couple winters out of this before it collapses.
Other than that everybody is just waiting for Spring!