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Piggies, Peeps,and Giant Shrooms - Sandy Delivers

Posted 11/2/2012 6:59am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

Thursday, November 1

Our preparation for Sandy began on Saturday afternoon by moving the lambs to a paddock with a small copse of trees and the ewes into a paddock with bit of a knoll that we hoped would provide shelter from the wind. We spent the morning and early afternoon at a Brubaker family reunion and auction and Sunday we celebrated my mother's 70th birthday in Lancaster, so we knew we had limited time over the weekend to secure the farm.  Aside from making sure the sheep and cows had good grass and a windbreak that wouldn't collapse on them, there was really not a whole lot to prepare for.  Monday morning we filled buckets of water and grain in case the electric was off in barn, although given the downspouts were already providing us with plenty of water at the ready, even that seemed like overkill.  The girls and I circled the yard to look for anything that needed to be put away and then, because we bumped up Frances' piano lesson to just before the high wind was to start, we packed into the car and drove over the ridge to Waterloo.

At the top of the ridge the trees were swaying ominously and although we made it there and back safely, suddenly Sandy was beginning to feel very real. School was cancelled and Roy told most of the staff at the Michaux State Forest to stay home, but he went in to make sure all the "State of Emergency" paperwork was ready to send in.  Finally by mid-afternoon Monday, we were all home, safe and sound and ready to welcome Storm Sandy.

And Sandy definitely delivered; but not in the ways we were expecting. Okay so the electricity blinked out overnight, but the moon was full behind all those clouds and by breakfast the next morning, it came back on. And the flock of ewes, stoically enduring the wind and rain when the sun went down Monday, decided they had enough, took advantage of blown-over fences, and walked away.  Roy and the dogs found them grazing in Charlie’s alfalfa the next morning. 

And yes, the sows were due to deliver and as Murphy would have it, Sadie delivered a large litter of nine wiggly, rooting piglets in the darkness Monday night, when the low pressure system was directly overhead.  (How many times have our older, neighbor farmers predicted that births would come when the weather is bad.?) The very next night, Gracie too delivered nine tight, black piggies. When we were out counting piglets and making sure the heat lamps were working, we discovered, thanks to frantic peeping and clucking, that Mable’s clutch had hatched and she was trying to round up five little balls of bantam fluff. 

And finally, while surveying the potential damage to our woods, we discovered the shitakes had flushed.  Large, heavy mushrooms had popped up on every inoculated log! 

Large storm delivers big at Blue Rooster Farm.