We made it through the first part of this storm system over the weekend with breezy winds, temperatures in the high 30’s and more than 5 inches of rain. It is a soggy, muddy mess all around the farm. The pastures are sodden, the swamp is twice the size it was last week and is again running over the culvert that can’t keep up and we have a new pond in the back of the big hay field.
When I checked it Sunday afternoon, I spotted about 20 ducks enjoying the day swimming to and fro around the pond. They seemed very content even though it was windy and very rainy, they continued on their lazy meanderings as if it was a sunny summer day.
The vibrant sun would pop out from time to time as the clouds whizzed by, and rainbows could be seen brilliant for brief glances, but most of the time it was simply wet with occasional periods of chunky rain that was nearly snow. Round two of this storm system should bring colder weather with snow or ice predicted the rest of the week. Sunday afternoon the rain changed more to snow and began sticking around 5pm.
We will be watching and listening our forest during upcoming week. With the ground saturated, the heavy weight of snow and ice on the branches could cause breakage or uproot trees easier than when the ground is drier.
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So many times I get caught up with the go, go, go and wanting to formulate the next idea into a story to share, that I forget the majesty of the world around me. I have to admit that happened this last week with needs of the farm, the cold weather and a busy stretch of meetings. I didn’t realize that I missed some of the glorious natural beauty until I pulled that magic SD chip out of my camera and slipped it into the computer for inspiration about the story that wanted to be written today. Continue reading
If the walk down off the hill wasn’t so treacherous with melting snow and slick mud, I would have been singing the old show tune at the top of my voice.
The project of seedling planted had been expected to take a very busy two weeks to complete. Nature stepped in and thwarted us at every attempt. There was at times too much snow or way too frozen to dig in the ground. Just when the weather looked like it would cooperate another weather front would roll in and it would be several days before another attempt could be made. The whole project became a weighty problem and we were all antsy to get it completed before the seedlings came out of dormancy or the ground became too dry. The short project stretched from two weeks to two months . Continue reading
Still lingering snow mottles the ground in the shady spots around here at the river level of the farm.
The sky colors were beautiful blues, roses, and opal whites contrasting with the dark horizon of conifers and the snow on the ground.
With the unusual winter weather looking like it is breaking its hold on us, we will again tackle those projects that have been stagnant while nature takes its course.
The weather has not been cooperating to be able to get the seedlings planted on the hill so we have been keeping busy with other projects around the farm. Snow and frozen ground have that job on hold while orders for firewood have skyrocketed.
Remember the commercial where the excited early shopper pressed her face and hands against the front door while chanting “open, open, open”? I’m not sure what the ad was about or what it was trying to entice me to buy, but I remember the shopper clearly.
We have our own version of crop circles, very small crop circles.
Rounded spots where the critters had bedded down before the snowfall remained clear while the rest of the field was coated white.
Our little field by the bridge showed exactly where the main herd of cows had spent the snowy night although the critters had gotten up and moved on several hours before sunrise. The little crop circles tell the story of the cold night and sleeping cows.
The cows were hanging out around and under the bridge during the night for a little protection from the snow. It was a good location, close enough to the river for a drink, only a few steps away from the hedgerow of blackberry briars that they like to snack on and alder trees close by to moderate the wind.
From my vantage point on the bridge I could see this heifer had another idea. She waded out into the water to eat the delicate tips off the alder that had fallen.
This is the same alder that the beavers have been busy with trying to bark.
When this heifer realized that I was going across the bridge to start the feeding process, she abandoned her nibbling to join the rest of the herd in their quest to get the the outdoor feeders before we could get them filled with hay.
The next few days should be interesting. Weather reports range from cold rain, an ice event or 8 inches of snow, making it hard to prepare for the upcoming storm. This cold February is not going to give up easily.
At the barn level of the property, we still have traces of snow left from two weeks ago. Up in the woods, several inches remain where the open areas of the forest allowed the snow to blanket all the new seedlings.
Our usual Tuesday firewood delivery has been moved up to today, just in case we are not able to get out of the driveway with the load.
This afternoon will be spent checking the drainage around the barns and filling stock tanks in case of power outages. If there is any daylight left after preparations, we will be out in the barn bundling wood for what may be an urgent need for firewood at the stores where we have contracts.
Heckled, no. Chided, possibly. Forced, certainly not. I have been getting some flack about the lack of me in my photos of work, play and nonsense on the farm.
It is not because I am camera shy, although it is not my favorite past time. It is more because I am running the camera on most occasions and turning the lens on myself gives outcomes that are… well, simply gruesome.
So for those who have gently reminded me, here is a picture.
This is after the day of backpacking loads of trees from the drop off sight to the area where the seedlings will be planted.
Here you see me in my glory. Cold feet, drenched with sweat beneath rain gear, gloves soaked from melting snow and Butler the dog being a media hound.
It felt good to get off the hill and into a hot shower after a successful romp in the woods.
The snow is still hanging around, the temperature hovering at the freezing level does little to thaw the white blanket.
Slowly we are attempting to put in a few trees so that we are not rushed once the weather does break. The trek up the hill is very slippery with the top surface saturated and any footsteps from before that disturbed the wet soil oozes as boots connect. Walking sticks are more than helpful, they are a necessity.
Each tree spot requires that the snow be removed before the hole for the seedlings can be dug with only dirt tamped back into the hole around the tender roots.
This small open patch of ground is now planted. With three of us, we were able to get this area planted in about 3 hours because we already had the trees packed to this spot. It would have taken much more labor, time and patience if we had not taken the day to bring the supplies into the site.