Tag Archives: eratic weather

Same Song Different Dance



Yesterday was clear and sunny, but cold.  We are in the week’s yoyo on the climb back up the string.  Today is gray, but expected to be about 8 degrees warmer than yesterday.  Maybe the mid 40’s (8ºC), breezy, but no heavy wind. We will climb another 10 degrees tomorrow and Tuesday with increasing chances of rain, then plummet on Thursday back to a high of freezing and a low in the teens.  My system doesn’t like these flucuations.  With the changes bring wind.  Wind brings power outages.  We are low on wood for supplemental heat.  This spring, the woodlot will be checked for dead or dying trees to try to resupply.  A few years ago, a huge oak blew down in the woods of our farm.  It landed on thick branches so it was propped up at a dangerous angle and it sat that way for two years.  Eldest son tackled it with the chain saw and cut many thick branches from the tree, but our saw wasn’t long enough to go through the trunk.  Our farmer friend that hays our fields came in with heavier equipment than our chainsaw and little tractor and left with a couple of thick long logs for the mill, loads of firewood for another neighbor who had recently had bypass surgery, and left us enough firewood for two winters of supplemental heat and ambiance fires.  Two Thanksgivings ago, eldest son and I took down a dead tree and between then and a second visit at Christmas, we got it all cut up, I split most of it with his help on some and it was stacked.  That wood is almost gone.  Hopefully there will be no extended outages before it warms back up.

What does a “Mommom” (my name to these two grands) do on a Sunday morning?  Grandson’s breakfast of choice is pancakes or Honey Nut Cheerios.  About once a week, a week’s worth of pancakes are mixed and baked on the griddle to be frozen for him.  The last batch ended up too thin for his liking, Granddaughter loves them.   This morning, I felt they were too thick, but he insisted that was the way he liked them.  They are so thick that they didn’t bubble up on the edges to indicate the griddle side was baked and ready to flip.  His weekly batch of pancakes are cooling and will be frozen for this week’s breakfasts.  His Mom and Dad are grocery shopping now and he asked for sausages to go with them. The microwave will be busy this week.



And I don’t even like pancakes, I would rather have oatmeal or a farm fresh egg, right from the nest of my girls.

Olio – February 3, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

If Phil had come out today instead of yesterday, he would not have seen his shadow.  It is thick and gray.  It looks like it could snow, but there is none in the forecast.  Even the weekend storm threat has dissipated, so there should be no missed school next week.  It is cold, each day this week has been colder by 10 or more degrees than the day before.  It was near the upper 60’s on Tuesday and it won’t reach freezing today with a low in the shivering teens.  We have had wind this week too, though today is calm.  One day, the wind took out our power for nearly 7 hours before they found the tree on the line and did some major pruning about a mile down the road.

With the lengthening daylight hours, the hens are picking up egg production.  Yesterday there were 5 eggs out of the 7 hens.


It amuses me to see the variation on the size and color of the eggs from the Buffys.  The top two right and the bottom left are all Buff Orpington eggs.  The top left is the Americauna and the bottom right is the Americauna/Buff Orpington cross.  The seller of the Buff Orpington pullets that were to increase the flock must not really be interested in selling as they have not gotten back with me though they have email and phone number to arrange the sale and pick up.  Hopefully the girls will  be prolific this year and provide us with enough chicks to replenish the predator loss and still give us enough for the freezer.

The Fibonacci Infinity scarf is still growing.


There is a 13 row white repeat to go, then pick up the blue with the white and finally the blue with the merlot.  It is already as long as my legs and very heavy due to it being a tube.  It will definitely be a warm scarf.  The silk cowl at the top is growing, it is about 70% done, only getting attention when I am the car passenger instead of the driver.

The Leicester Longwood, a bit finer than the yarn for the scarf is on the wheel.  Hopefully, it will make a knitted fabric that is more sweater friendly after a swatch or two trying different needles.  This week, my Spanish Peacock drop spindle went to a new home as it caused too much strain and pain in my shoulders.  The proceeds from that sale bought a new supported spindle and bowl.  That is a learning process and some of the soft California Red roving is being used to learn. This still allows for portable spinning with less strain on the shoulders and elbows.



This is definitely a learning curve.  The spindle spins nicely, but my drafting of the fiber is still very inconsistent and trying to avoid the park and draft technique makes it more of a challenge.

Still loving life on our farm.


Olio – March 5, 2016

Olio – a miscellaneous collection of things.

This is a weekend of family.  Eldest son and eldest grandson rode the late bus in last night, arriving in the wee hours.  We started slow this morning with a good breakfast of our eggs, bacon, tortillas and homemade banana walnut bread.  We followed with some family visiting and catching up while daughter, SIL, and the other two grands went to their last swimming lesson of the current sessions.  After a brief trip for books and gravel, we tackled the basement soffit reconstruction.  Due to the leak we were experiencing last fall and winter, the soffit that was sheathed with drywall was blistered and crumbling and eldest son ripped it down to the framing at Christmas to help us diagnose where the leak was originating.  We had had a roof repair made that had not cured the problem prior to that.   Seeing where the water was coming from allowed the leak to be actually fixed and we left the soffit open until we were sure that we no longer had a problem.


They came this weekend to not just visit, but rebuilt, this time using beadboard paneling and pine trim that can be unscrewed and taken down in the event of a future need to access the plumbing, electrical, and heating ductwork that all converges in that area of the basement.  Mountaingdad and I had made a run to Lowes on Friday to purchase most of the necessary wood and screws to make it happen.  Some ripping with the circular saw, cutting with the jigsaw, fitting and screwing in place and we now have this much done.


Tonight, after a homemade Mexican food feast, he and I returned to Lowes to get more trim pieces that we realized we would need.

Earlier this afternoon, I told son that both of the surviving chicks from last summer had developed into beautiful young roosters, however, with only 8 hens, we didn’t need two randy young males spewing testosterone in the flock.  I thought we could wait until problems began to deal with it, however, when I went out to lock them up at dusk, the boys were cock fighting and once in the coop, attacked a hen, so I captured the first one I could grab and he is now in the freezer, to become soup at some time in the future.  My flock is down to 9, but the hens and the Foghorn Leghorn will be happier.  Hopefully, we will be able to successfully raise some chicks this summer and we will increase the flock to 12 or 14 hens and Foghorn Leghorn.

Since my return from the spinning retreat, I have been having a fairly significant arthritis flare.  My right basal joint has been a problem for several years, as has a shoulder injured 38 years ago.  The basal joint treated with injections, surgery and finally just splinting when it is too aggravated. Today, while I was holding the beadboard sheets for son to cut, I noticed that my finger joints were beginning to swell.  I guess that was inevitable.  Some recent research on foods that trigger inflammation and foods that help calm it has caused me to alter my diet in the past couple of months.  Though I have enjoyed some other benefits from the diet change, it hasn’t really helped the joint pains if I overdue as I am prone to do.  Perhaps it is also a result of the fickle weather we have been experiencing with days of the 70’s followed by days in the low 30’s, rain, then sun, then snow.  This is springtime in Virginia and if you don’t like the weather, wait for 24 hours, it will change.

Tomorrow afternoon, I will drive son and grandson home, spend the night with them and then take them to the Metro station early Monday for them to go away as a family for a few days and I will return home.  Our week is supposed to be more springlike, maybe if it stays dry, some garden cleanup can begin.  The garlic is up several inches and will have to now be protected from the chickens, the blueberries never got a good weeding in the fall, but I have been stockpiling newspaper and bought a hay fork, so I will layer newspaper and cardboard around the bushes and pile on some spoiled hay for mulch.  I’m looking forward to playing in the dirt again.

Hopefully, the snow we had Thursday night was the last measurable snowfall of the season with more warm days to come.  Another couple of weeks and the turnips, onion sets, and peas can be planted.  I’m trying to figure out a way to allow the chickens to continue to wander the aisles of the garden and among the blueberry and raspberry bushes to help keep the weeds down this year and to allow them to feast on the unwanted bugs.  I can’t fence each row, some crops are too tall to row cover, but I will figure it out.

Light at the end…

We have had rain for 14 of the past 16 days.  There is one more day of predicted  rain, then the light at the end of the tunnel as the saying goes.  We are saturated.  The unpaved roads are rutted, all of the roads covered with debris from the rain and wind.  The leaves are being ripped from the trees and coating the roads along with small branches.

So far, we have been lucky.  The heavy rains expected the past couple of days have been lighter than predicted, so additional flooding has been kept to a minimum and we have, at least so far, kept our power.

This weekend, we have been in charge of the two grands that live with us as their folks went to Kentucky to a friend’s wedding.  We had great plans to take them to the pumpkins patch, but that was foiled by the weather.  Their soccer games were cancelled.  They have been well behaved, with only a bit of sibling fussing.  They have eaten well with no complaining about what I have prepared.  For that we are grateful.

It has been a good weekend to stay in and read and knit.  We did venture out in the rain to the Farmers’ Market yesterday morning, taking the kids out for bagels first.  We didn’t all get out at the market, I just jumped out and picked up the veggies, meat and flowers for the week.

It will be nice to see the sun on Tuesday.  Maybe a harvest of tomatoes and peppers can be done and some tomatoes canned, some peppers pickled or frozen.  While the soil is wet, maybe the weeds will be easier to pull to start preparing the garlic bed for fall and to find the blueberry bushes that have been engulfed.  There is still about half a big round bale of spoiled hay that can be used to mulch around them.  I have been saving newspaper to layer around the bushes once I get the weeds pulled.  Once the sun comes out, there are dry beans to pull and lay out or hang in the garage to further dry from the days of rain, the corn stalks to cut and shock as a fall decoration, some pumpkins to harvest, and sunflower heads to cut and dry.  Some of the decorative pots of flowers from summer are spent and will be replaced with mums for a bit of fall color.

The chooks, both Buffys and meaties were grateful to be let out into their runs today.  Though it is still drizzling, they have alternately foraged and hidden from the rain.  In a few more days, I will slip into the Buffys’ coop after dark and move the culls to the Cull Palace with the meaties for the next 5 weeks, and to let the keeper flock get to used to having a more reasonable number in their coop.  They will overwinter as our laying flock.  I think that the the littles are big enough to tell which are pullets.  I know that there are at least two cockerels in the coop and I only want one rooster in my flock, so the other one and a few older hens will be removed.  Only one of the spring Americaunas is laying.  It amazes me how old they are before they lay and also how easily they can escape from the run.  The Buffys are too heavy bodied to get out, but the Americaunas, even the one who lost her tail feathers to the dogs, can easily clear the 4 foot fence.

We still have 4 to 5 weeks before our first expected frost, but autumn is advancing, trees coloring more each day.  The mountains are beautiful this time of year, but I’m not ready for the cold weather and bare trees.  I guess we should start looking for some wood soon.

A Spring? Morning


The morning sight.  Yesterday we awoke to it snowing and quickly providing ground cover, but not so much on the roads.  The temperature hovering right around the freezing mark, thick gray clouds and we were driving an hour east to take my Dad who had been visiting for a few days, back to meet my step mom and her cousin who had been in a hotel there for a Garden Club conference.  By afternoon, the sun was breaking out, the snow melted, but we continued to have bands of heavier snow that really weren’t accumulating.  It was still near freezing at bed time and the mountain wind had picked up.  Apparently it decided winter wasn’t quite over yet in spite of the calendar, because this morning we awoke to the snow cover and this


It is supposed to be springlike again by week end with rain and thunderstorms, but today is a winter day.  Yesterday the chickens would not come out of their coop until they could see the ground and then they fled back in when it started snowing to come out back out with the sun.

This morning, they were confused and again did not want to leave the coop.  I kicked around the straw so they could see it and since their ramp was clear, most of them came out to get food and water.  When checking for eggs, I found this


The Delaware on the bottom, trying to lay her egg and a huge Buff Orpington trying to move her over so they could share the box.  Maybe she thought they would be warmer that way.  There are 5 other boxes, but interestingly, the 9 hens often all use the same box or the one at the opposite end of the row, rarely is there an egg in one of the middle 4.  Crazy chickens.

Life is always an adventure on our mountain farm.