Tag Archives: firewood

5/13/2017 Mother’s Day Weekend

We waited too long to make reservations for lunch or dinner tomorrow, so we will have to try someplace that doesn’t take reservations and just has call ahead service.

Our new phones arrived yesterday and a rainy afternoon was spent getting them set up.  This morning, both us were awake early and with the town mobbed due to commencement exercises at the university, we headed in early to get breakfast and go to the Farmers’ Market.  So many vendors now and so many goodies to buy, meat, vegetables, breads, coffee beans, pasta, yarn, fiber, candles, prepared foods and beverages.  Other errand runs including making sure that the old cell service has been cancelled, bale of straw for the hen house, dog food for the 3 giant beasties that live here were all accomplished, before 10:30, then home.  The next 5 hours were spent in the yard and gardens.

Wood pile before

 

For several years, the woodpile has been up against the vegetable garden fence, leaning against the fence enough to require an extra T-post to keep it from collapsing into the garden.

Wood pile new

Up hill from the vegetable garden are two old cedar fence posts, two other posts that were under the wood were placed on either side of the two verticals, using them as end pieces and the wood was moved and re-stacked there.

Wood pile after

The resulting area will be part of the new flower and herb beds as soon as I get some more cardboard.  Once the wood was moved, the remaining stack of cardboard was toted outside, onions weeded, cardboard laid around two sides of that box where it has not been placed and where the lamb’s quarter was trying to take over, also placed under the fence at the south corner where I had quit prior to the rains.  More cardboard was placed outside of that uphill fence after lots of weed pulling and digging to  clean up around the comfrey and iris and to extend that bed  for two of the perennials that had been residing in pots on the porch. The cardboard was slipped under the fence to overlap the cardboard on the inside of the fence and spoiled hay mulched around them.  Another trip out for cardboard will allow me to carry the bed on around the corner.  The chicken run will just go around the south and west side up to the gate and the electric fencing wire will be reinstalled around the perimeter to stop the deer.

New bed

The inside of the henhouse was hosed down with white vinegar, neem oil, and essential oils and left open to dry.  The bale of straw will be spread in there as soon as it is thoroughly dry.

Something has been nibbling on the baby chard plants so that bed was covered with hoops and bird net.

The chickens have been free ranging since I started working outside today.  they should be put away so the dogs can go out.  We still haven’t gotten them so that they don’t chase the chickens when out.

Perhaps some more weeding and planting can be accomplished tomorrow before we go out for Mother’s Day.

Same Song Different Dance

clouds

 

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.

pancakes

 

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

A week on the farm – April 16, 2016

Saturdays are going to be a week on the farm posts as the growing, haying, chick hatching season is commencing.

The last two days have be spent in the garden, preparing for this season.  Last year, the garden was nearly doubled in size, but in my haste to make it the three sisters garden, I didn’t really spread out the remaining compost from where we had removed the old bins.  The top of that area is going to become a raised bed about a foot or so above the rest of the garden.  The asparagus, horseradish, bulb fennel, and the compost pile are in the top 5 feet of the area and the entire upper portion of the garden is deep, rich compost.  A few inches of it are going to be removed and spread over the remaining garden, the rest leveled and will be the area for the tomatoes and peppers this year.

veggie starts

These guys want to be put in the garden and if I look forward at the weather, after tonight it would probably be safe, but we are still 13 days from our last average frost date and I have always used the don’t plant them til Mother’s Day rule up here.

berrybed

The berry bed did get mulched down after I tossed old wood posts and boards from bed squares that had deteriorated outside of the garden.  I need to find a good spot to do a burn pile but much of that wood has screws or nails in it, so it needs to be somewhere than can be easily cleaned up afterward.  To the right of this bed, is one of the perimeter fences to the garden and this bed is about 12-18″ higher than the grass beyond it.  That slope is too steep to mow, gets full of weeds, is hard to weed whack, so I am laying down weed mat that was pulled from the garden last year and it is going to be held in place with a retaining wall of large stones.  We aren’t short of them on our property.

rockwall

The biggest rock there was dug out of the garden last year and I removed a section of the fence today to roll it over the edge of the hill.  The others were either already on that bank or were carried through the gate and placed there today.  There is an entire row of them edging a bed in the garden and they will be loaded into the tractor bucket to move in the next few days.  I hope that between that effort and the heavy compact hay layer on the berry bed to reduce or eliminate weeds there and make an area that will not have to be mowed and can be cut with the gas trimmer.

woodpile

In one of the recent wind and rain storms, the wood pile tipped and spilled down into the yard.  Today, I added more supports lengthwise and re-stacked the wood longer and lower with a second stack in front of half of it.  It now has the garden fence behind it to help hold it up.  I spotted another dead tree in the woodlot, we will have to bring it down, cut it up and I will get it split and stacked with the rest.  We will have enough to warm us during the power outages or extreme cold days next winter.

It looks like I lost a few raspberry bushes, but I see some volunteers and will moved them to fill in that bed adjacent to the chicken run.  If I can keep it only a couple of feet wide by removing other volunteers and thin it occasionally, that should be a good place for those bushes.

It looks like we might have lost one of our apple trees.  It was one that produced small misshapen apples last year.  We will probably replace it with a rust resistant  dwarf apple tree and add a couple of dwarf plums to the orchard soon.

The chickens were given a low run that allowed them to leave their pen and enter the adjacent run that has grass growing in it.  They were delighted to get in the grass and all returned to their coop at dusk.

 

Autumn Delights

Yesterday Mountaingdad decided to see how he could do on his bike.  He hasn’t been able to ride since April, when an extremely virulent case of bronchitis caused a very long lasting case of vertigo.  We have seen doctors, first for the bronchitis, then for the fullness in the ears and vertigo.  Visits for physical therapy that helped some, but didn’t cure the problem.  He still has some fullness in his ears and will get dizzy lying down in the dark, but is doing better during the day.  He needed to put fuel in the bike before it got too cold to ride, so that he can start it periodically in the garage during the winter.  He did fine riding and since today was the last day of warm and no rain for this week, he took off to Black Bear, about 75 minutes away, for their final get together for the season.  Since it is Saturday, our usual Farmers’ Market day, he rode  to town on his bike, I drove and we had breakfast together before he took off for his ride.  The market is winding down, fewer vendors were there, but my favorites are still hanging in and I supplemented our supplies with beef, pork, onions, greens, turnips and radishes.  The flowers are done for the season, our nights of frost did them in.  I got the last bag of salad from Stonecrop Farm until next spring.

The kids, were off at soccer games, then to the pumpkin patch with the grands.  I am filling the house with the delightful scents of autumn.

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Cinnamon Honey Pecan granola in the oven.

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The apples from our day trip on Thursday were peeled and the Granny Smiths sliced and frozen for pies over the holidays and the others cooked down and canned into 5 1/2 more pints of applesauce for the shelves in the root cellar to be enjoyed later.  The half pint put into the refrigerator to have tonight.

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After the apples were cooked and the canner bubbling, dinner was started.  A package of pork chunks, sauteed with onion and garlic; a small Burgess Buttercup squash, pared and cubed in small pieces;  a couple of handfuls of tomatillos, a bit of cilantro and cumin; a few tablespoons of Roasted Salsa Verde and a couple cups of broth and stew is simmering.  This was a create as I go stew that will be served with rice, corn bread and the applesauce.  If it tastes as good as it smells, we are in for a treat tonight.

Outside, the smell of wood smoke is beginning to fill the air as our neighbors that heat with wood are building their fires for the chilly nights.  It hasn’t gotten cold enough for us to build a fire or light the wood stove yet, but we don’t rely on that as our heat source.  I still need to begin splitting the logs hauled up from the tree cutting a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe I will spend part of my afternoon with the maul and wedge while the stew simmers.

Tonight it turns colder and rainy again for a while and there is no warm up on the forecast this week.

Still loving life on our mountain farm.

Dreariness

It is cold and raining.  Not the biting cold of last week, that is due again tomorrow, but cold enough to make procrastination on outdoor chores inevitable.  I cuddled in bed with my book until the Shadow, the German Shepherd was dancing cross legged by my side of the bed, Ranger, the big guy still lazing on his pad on the floor by Mountaingdad.

It is wet enough that the pups didn’t want to stay outside very long, not long enough for me to finish prepping their eggs, so they hovered around and behind me while I cooked.  The recalcitrant hens producing barely enough eggs to have for home use and as I used one of yesterday’s 3 eggs to make cornbread last night for a meal we shared with our recently widowed neighbor after the Pipeline Opposition meeting, there were only two to cook this morning.  Once I carton a dozen and put them in the refrigerator for neighbors or friends, I leave them alone and only use from the bowl on the counter. This left me with no egg today, but I had leftover cornbread, a wedge lightly buttered and toasted in a cast iron skillet is a treat to be savored, with or without an egg.  The pan was heating to cook the pups eggs, so I got my cornbread first.

With the house critters (including me) fed, it was getting harder to stall about layering up in gumboots, coat and gloves and finally making the wet, chilly walk over to let the chooks out and to feed and water them.  Their sloped run, bare of a single blade of grass and with the hay scratched and washed off was as slick as ice.  It is too wet to uncover the big round bale of hay to throw more down at the gate, hopefully later it will quit raining long enough to accomplish that task.  Their coop hay tossed to loosen it up for insulation and turned to facilitate the deep litter composting that produces heat for them, their feed served in two metal dog bowls to keep it from being trampled into the mud and a quick check of nesting boxes for cleanliness and I found a surprise.

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Three fresh, warm eggs to keep my hands warm as I slogged back to the house.  I haven’t seen morning eggs in weeks and am luck to find 3 or 4 cold eggs in the evenings.  It would be nice to get back to going out and finding more than I can carry in without a basket, but maybe not until springtime.

If it is going to be wet and cold, it should at least be white.  I’d settle for the mountain snow flurries that fall for days on end with no real accumulation, just the dusting on gardens, roofs and cars.  Cold, rainy winters remind me of winters on the coast, you are supposed to have snow in the mountains. I know, I should be careful of what I wish for, we may find ourselves snowed in without power later in the winter and we haven’t laid in wood for the stove and fireplace, having only a bit left over from last year.  I suppose we should set in an emergency supply at least.