Tag Archives: mountain beauty

Sunday Thankfulness 4/10/16

What a difference a day makes in the mountains.  Yesterday we awoke to snow and got a couple of inches before the temperature got above freezing and the ground snow melted while it was still snowing and blowing horizontally.  I think it got up to about 40ºf yesterday and dropped to 22ºf last night.  I fear there will be no fruit in our orchard this year.  Unfortunately, all 5 apple trees, both peaches and both Asian pears were already blooming.  The garden seems to have survived and the chickens didn’t even notice.

Today is bright and sunny, the wind has calmed and it is 62ºf.  Much too nice a day to stay inside, yet too iffy, especially at night to do any garden work, so I tied on the sneakers, grabbed my trekking poles and hiked away from the house while the kids were having quiet time and Jim was sitting in the loft, still recovering from another bout of bronchitis.  I decided to take a hike that I had not previously taken, down the gravel road, took a right and hiked up the cow paths to a ridge we see from the paved road when we go up the mountain.  The views from there were fabulous.

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A shot east and the steeple of the church half way up to our house.  A shot west up the valley. And a shot south toward the highway we can hear trucks on, but not see from our house, to a house that has been built in the hollow over the ridge.  I got my 10,000+ steps, climbed the equivalent of 77 flights of steps, enjoyed the bright sunny day for well over an hour and a half.  The fresh spring air was delightful.

While hiking along the cow paths, I spotted many tiny violets blooming in the woods.

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After coming back down from the ridge and crossing the road, I climbed the hill above our house and walked back around that hill and returned to the road and the walk home.

Soon those cow pastures between the woods will be too tall to walk and I will have to stick to the woods and roads.

Tomorrow is another beautiful day and after a late morning appointment, I plan to try another trail that I have never hiked before it gets too overgrown as well.

Creeping Deadlines

This month is flying and so much yet to do. We still don’t have a tree.  Maybe next week.  As I was going to bed down the chooks last evening, and to collect 5 very cold eggs, I was being gently pelted by small frozen pellets.  Our table sits in front of the French doors to the back deck and we watched during dinner as the stained wood was coated and turned white.  We weren’t really expecting much in the way of bad weather last night, the Nor’easter that was pounding up the coast to New England  wasn’t going to hit Virginia too hard and we were catching only the westerly edge of wind and moisture, chilled by our winter temperatures.  Awakening this morning with it still heavily overcast, the cedars, pines, and other firs looked like they had been sugar coated.

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All fog and frosting and totally enchanting.  After feeding pups and me breakfast, it was chicken chore time and on my way back from giving them their morning portion of grains and kitchen scraps, a glance in the same general direction showed a beautiful mountain phenomenon.

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The clouds breaking up but clinging to the hollows in the mountains, producing a floating ridge.  The sun will quickly melt the frosting on the trees, but it made for a beautiful holiday scene.

Last night I knitted until my hands were cramped, but met my yesterday’s goal of getting the body of grandson’s sweater finished.  Today’s goal is the hood and a desperately needed bath.  It has picked up dog hair and dust as it has been lugged around the house and in the car in an effort to get it completed.

A sweater

The hood is a simple 9″ long stockinette rectangle the width of the neckline plus a few stitches.  It should be done in a couple of hours then stitching up the seam to close the rectangle into a hood, stitch up the underarms and a quick wash.

The missing gift that is in the mail was near here according to tracking, perhaps to arrive today, so the box of Christmas that must be mailed away should be ready by tomorrow.

Back to the knitting goal.  Must get on it.

Sunday Wonderful

Wow, a gorgeous day and not to be wasted indoors.  Jim wanted a roadtrip to buy a riding jacket that is more appropriate for the warm days.  His vintage look leather jacket is fine with the vents open up to about 70ºf but he came home last Sunday and I thought he was going to pass out.  He had struggled with the bike on our gravel road and driveway and basically walked it downhill the .4 miles and was so overheated it was dangerous.  To make our trip, we checked out various rides he could do or had done that keep him off of the Interstate which is so heavy with semi trucks that it is dangerous.  Between the driving and the shopping we were gone for nearly 5 hours and I saw some beautiful countryside that I had never seen before.

My mother grew up in this part of the country and I often heard stories about the counties and towns, but had never seen them.  I had my camera, but didn’t think to take a single photo.  Near the last part of the drive, we rode for 45 miles along a beautiful creek lined with cabins and homes.

When we got home, I went over to check on the chickens, collect eggs, and give them a treat of wild mustard greens and discovered an empty coop.

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For the past several evenings, there have been 3 or 4 of the chicks out at dusk, but the rest remained steadfastly indoors.  Today they are all outside, merrily pecking at the grass or dust bathing in the shade.

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The littles totally being ignored by the adults, much to my delight.  They still segregate at night and so I am leaving the partition in place for a few more days.  We are due for a couple of days of rain, so there may be more in coop time, especially for them.  On Friday, they will be 9 weeks old and I think the partition will come down.  I’m still at a quandry about Cogburn.  I really want a self sustaining flock, but since he only has 3 hens in with him now, he is wearing them out and their backs have almost no feathers on them.  They make “saddles” to protect them, but I don’t want to go that route.  If I remove him, there won’t be any coop chicks unless I am able to quickly get some Buff Orpington fertilized eggs quickly when a hen goes broody.  I really don’t want to do the heat lamp brooder bit again, though I know that I will have to for the meat chickens.  Maybe I should just accept that is the way it will be every few years as we replace the older hens.  If we had electricity out there that would run the heat lamp, I would just build a brooder coop with separate run, but we don’t.

At least, this time, I have successfully raised and introduced 10 chicks to the mix with no fatalities.

Life is an adventure on our mountain farm.

Beauty and Hazards

The snow pack is thinning.  Our neighbor that hays our fields for the bulk of the hay came down after dark Saturday night with his behemoth tractor with climate control cab and plowed out our driveway.  As he was the one who constructed it for us a couple of summers ago, he knows generally where it is under the snow.  This allowed us to bring both vehicles back down to the house.  To change things up a bit, this morning we drove into the university town to a little local diner for breakfast.  The nearest parking is across Main Street and slightly uphill and though the access was cleared, the parking spaces have been trod by many feet in the past half week and between each parking space is an ice slick.  Both of us had slides, fortunately with no fall just trying to get out of the car and to the cleared walkway.

Yesterday as the roads seem to be mostly cleared, we took a jaunt 2000 more feet up our mountain to see more snow.

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If you ever watched “Dirty Dancing,” this is the “lodge” in the movie, also know as Mountain Lake Lodge, a hotel with adjacent cabins.  Though it is closed this time of year, except for special weekend events, it is still beautiful.

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The elevation there is about 4400 feet and the ridge has trees frosted generally from frozen fog that forms.

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The property on the near edge of this valley belonged to my grandfather’s family, though when we bought our farm, I had no idea that it was literally walking distance away.  My hubby teases that I did know, but I had never even been to this county or seen that area at the time.

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As we were going up to see the lake and the hotel in the snow, we saw this.  It is not our car, there was no one in it, but this is a lesson on why you don’t drive a 2 wheel drive vehicle on snowy, icy mountain roads.  The only thing keeping this car from tumbling on down the mountain side is the tree behind it that it hit as it slid over the embankment.  Hopefully, no one was hurt.  It will take a thaw and a creative, daredevil tow truck driver to get that one out.

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That is the mountain on which the red car, the hotel, and our home are located.

Fortunately, this snow did not take out our power, so all of the prep we did for it does not have to be done again for the ice storm due tonight that more than likely will steal all of the conveniences from us for at least a day or two.

Life is good on our mountain farm.