We needed the week of stormy, unsettled weather. The river is pretty low for this time of year, the grass fields needed a good shot of moisture to keep the ground moist for the growing season, and the trees on the hill need the spring rains to avoid stress from drought conditions.
The last week gave us some rain each day. The totals were not massive, nearly an inch and a half overall, but with a big warm up forecasted it should be enough to make the grass in the hayfields grow six inches or more.
The critters seem to be enjoying the break from the nasty weather also. As the sunlight was streaming into the show barn during the morning feeding, the two month old calves opted out of eating a bite or two of hay for an extra hour of sunbathing. The main herd in the field had the calves stretched out and sleeping in the midday sun, and some of the senior cows were doing the same thing.
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It is getting very mucky out there and it is going to get much more mucky before this storm system scours out of our area. We did have a low water year last year, not drought conditions as such, but we are looking at issues arising if we don’t get more rain this year. This week of wet weather is sure to bring the rainfall totals up but getting all that rain in a short span of a week is not only very messy, it also does damage as the large amounts of water along with gravity changes landscapes.
We are again checking all the water bars across the dirt logging roads that filter water away from the surface and into culverts to keep the damaging sluicing grooves the rapid plumes can dig. Several times I day, I shovel the trench around the show barn that gets filled with liquefied mud and muck that settles and plugs the outlet for rain water to go around instead of through the barn (I haven’t been able to be successful at my endeavor 100% of the time, and I do have standing water in the lounging area again). We have had to re-open the culvert under the road that leads to the bridge over the river to keep the water flowing under rather than over the road, but there is too much water for the six inch culvert to keep up with the overflow from the swamp on the other side of the county road.
The river is currently running the full span of the bridge with six more days of wet weather expected. Although this amount of rain puts this area in flood stage, the river is still mostly contained inside it’s banks with only a little low level or riparian area flooding. We will be monitoring conditions as the rain continues to come down and until this storm system passes, we will be wearing our full body rain gear while doing anything outdoors.
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The last couple of days have not been extreme in any way. Not extremely wet, nor dry. Not extremely cold but definitely not warm either. No windstorms or biting east winds. No sunshine or scuttling clouds, only the thick fog blanketing the area and temperatures keeping right near the freezing mark for the last three days and nights without fluctuations.
It is remarkable that nothing is remarkable at all during this in-between time of storm systems that we are used to during the winter months.
Down in the valley, they have seen the fog lift occasionally. I have seen a few pictures on the social web about sunrises and sunsets. Here on the farm, it looks like dusk all day long and it is hard to tell if the sun is setting or the thickening clouds just make it look that way. We have to look at the clock to tell the difference, I remarked yesterday that we were late to get the evening chores started since the day was ending but it was only 3pm. It was the time we typically start the chores this time of year. Nothing all all remarkable here.
And speaking of this time of year, Winter Solstice has passed and now the daylight of each day is getting longer. A whole minute to minute and a half will give us that natural light that seems to make everyone a wee bit happier during the darker days of the year even if it is hard to tell with all the thick fog obscuring the view. Though not remarkable at all, the thought of more daylight gives me hope that I will be able to get my tasks/chores/jobs caught up for once rather than running out of daylight each work day.
Forecasters are calling for the next week to run five to ten degrees warmer with less fog and no storms on the near horizon. The possibility of another unremarkable week sounds just fine to me!
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The weather forecasts are not always reliable, but we still watch them with eager anticipation or dread depending on what is being said. Over the last week, predictions about the coldest Thanksgiving in the last ten years and a chance of snow in the valley including Portland had everyone watching for the latest updates. Here on the farm we went into overdrive trying to get ahead of the upcoming possibility of bad weather. Continue reading
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I may have bitten off more than I can chew. This last trip to the nursery for the riparian seedlings tempted me to get a full pickup load of plants since the last batch had went into the ground so quickly. Continue reading
Although we have had some moisture over the last month, the ground is very dry. It only takes a day or two after a rain to see the dust once again and the overall moisture content in the forest drops.
With a few days of 90+ degree weather this week the area is now under a Red Flag Warning for increased fire danger and has been for a few days. Continue reading
With the hills obscuring many sunsets here on the farm, I find that by looking north while everyone else is looking east, the most serene moments can be found.
This evening was simply stunning with the snow covering the barn, trees and pastures. The clouds were giving away a couple of spots of blue sky between the rosy hues with slate punctuations from the setting sun. All was quiet as the farm was winding down after a busy, snowy day.
It’s times like these when the beauty of our world comes into focus and I feel that it is portraits such as this that gives us the opportunity to be thankful for what we have and remind us all that we have to strive to make the world better for us having the chance to be a part of it all. Not the least of these gifts that I am grateful for are friends that have been made and will make in the future, my readers are a huge part, I am fortunate and honored to share bits of the farm life with you.