Tag Archives: snow

The March “Blizzard”

I know that points north of us have gotten and are still getting deep late winter snow.  We only got about 3 inches and the roads stayed relatively clear.  The snow is wet, sloggy snow.  The cedars and pines are heavy with the wet glop.  The snow less of a problem than the ice layer beneath it.  Brushing the snow off of the car revealed an ice glazed vehicle with doors frozen shut and ice glazed windows.

Our local county schools closed for the day, announcing last night, the other counties around us opted for a two hour delay which would have been a better option for here, but the western half of our county may have received more snow.  Granddaughter’s school in the next town was not closed and driving in it was apparent that they received much less than we did, and her teacher said she received even less in the valley.

It is enough snow that the cooped chickens will not go outside their coop.  Though it is not a practice employed often, their food and a bucket of water were put inside for them but the pop door open if anyone gets brave.  The 16 chicks are cozy in their brooder as we fortunately did not lose power.  Tonight we will build fires in the woodstove and fireplace to help take the edge off for the heatpump.

Tonight we are going to have the first of three nights of temperatures in the mid teens (-9ish C),  The ice glaze, snow melt during the day today, and plunging temperatures with more flurries due today, overnight and tomorrow, the roads are likely to be a slippery mess tomorrow, especially the mountain roads to get to the main road that is always well maintained for the truck traffic that uses it instead of staying on the interstate.

This school closure makes one more day to be made up.  The built in days have all been used and they are down 2 days now.  There may be another day or two built into their schedule.  It isn’t common to get much snow this late in the winter, but it is always a possibility with our last frost date not until near Mother’s Day.

At least the garden planning and indoor seed sowing doesn’t rely on what is going on outside, as it continues to flurry.  Of the 4 small sweet potatoes saved from last year’s crop, the two purple one have roots and shoots,  one of the orange ones has roots though the other one got mushy and had to be composted.

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As soon as the slips are large enough to root, they will be broken off and rooted.  I guess the orange ones are going to have to be purchased at the Feed store when they come in later this spring.

The birds have found the feeder that was hung earlier in the winter and is now frequented by Tufted Titmice, House finches, an occasional chickadee, and the tiny ground feeding juncos enjoying the spillage on the deck. One of the birdhouses on the garden edge deteriorated and fell apart last year so there was only one.  It  too needs repair, but as we have a couple of families of blue birds each year, we bought another box to mount on the second pole.  With all of the scrap lumber in the garage, I should be making them myself.  Perhaps this one will get measured and a plan drawn before it is fastened in the garden.

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For now, it will be an indoor day with more cancer/heart health garlands being made for the yarn bombing efforts of a knitting group to which I associate.  Breast cancer, heart health, children’s cancers and melanoma sections have all been mailed off.  The skin cancer is about half done, crocheted this time, then on to white for lung cancer and a second skein of gold for children’s cancers.

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It’s Back!

It has snowed all day.  Nothing is sticking, it is mountain snow showers, but the high was at 7 a.m. and it was below freezing then.  The wind has howled all day long.  This weather system according to NOAA is the system that spawned the major snowstorm up the east coast of the US.  And yesterday it was in the upper 60’s.

My new parka has been most welcome today, as this was school and preschool days, a book reserved at the library arrived and needed to be collected, parts to fix the kitchen faucet came in, a special order from the grocer also arrived, plus it was Spinning Group day and one of my fellow en-actors at Smithfield House Plantation was coming to give me a lesson on how to warp the backstrap loom that was acquired a few months ago.  The spinning group was large and boisterous, having a lot of fun while D and I sat on the floor and got the loom set up and got me started with weaving on it.

Because of the arthritis from old shoulder and wrist injuries, drop spindle spinning, my portable spinning has had to be curtailed.  There is another type of portable spinning that involved a spindle that is supported in a bowl or dish in your lap or on a low table and my interest in learning this has been piqued.  One style was purchased online, then a different style was found on the fiber social network, and in inquiring about purchasing it, found out the gal selling lives just a few minutes from eldest son.  We already have a weekend trip to see them scheduled for this weekend, so I will get to meet this other spinner who is also homesteading a small acreage and pick up the spindle directly from her.  What a fun coincidence.

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The bottom one is the one we will pick up Saturday.

Graupel and wind

Winter arrived again yesterday.  We had been experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures, lots of rain, and I feared for the garlic and asparagus mulched over in the garden.  The garlic has sprouted some, but I know from experience that it will be okay.  Some cloves might be a bit smaller, but it will still form.  The asparagus, I am really worried about.  This will be year 3.  The year I can actually expect to harvest some of the delightful spears, but the crowns won’t survive if they sprout and then freeze.

Yesterday was sunny off and on and the temperature dropped more than 20ºf between the time I dropped grandson at his bus and sunset yesterday.  More drop occurred during the night and though it isn’t as cold as a few weeks ago, today we have mountain snow showers and high wind, serious wind chill.

The chickens came out to scratch for their grain that was tossed on the ground and all went back in the coop.  Too cold and windy for their preference.  I don’t blame them, I don’t want to be out in it either.

When I dropped granddaughter off at preschool, I stopped and bought more grain to make chicken food, I was nearly out. It was cold in the garage while I worked on that and as I added more straw to their coop to help keep them warm.

Later, we picked granddaughter up from preschool, bought a bowl of soup for lunch, picked up a book I had reserved at the library, mailed a box of yarn to a charity and came home.  Cuddled in my chair with knitting, a book, and watching it snow, I knew that I would have to go out again in a few minutes to pick grandson up from school.  Back home from that, I don’t plan to venture out again.  A cup of tea, my stress free chair, maybe a blanket and I will stay put until time to cook dinner.  Even though I don’t want to go outside again,  the chickens will need some scratch, their pop door closed, and whatever number of eggs they laid today collected.  I guess that means yet another venture into the cold.

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The next couple of days are expected to be even colder.  Maybe the wind will at least die down.

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The iris and jonquils think it is spring.

Voyeurism

Each time it snows, we are treated to a bit of winter voyeuristic experience.  The woods surround our home on three sides and during the summer, the leaves on the trees and the undergrowth prevent us from seeing any wildlife unless they venture out into the open field.  When we have snow, even a couple of inches, we can see pretty much to the back property line.  This allows us to catch glimpses into the woods to see the deer and turkeys as they walk within the edge of the woods.

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These two images are the same area of the south woods beyond the hayfield.  Very magnified as that edge is quite far away.  You can see the difference.  I didn’t see any animals when the photo was taken, but we have.  The few inches of snow that we received over the weekend, are gone, the yards and roads are muddy messes and it is supposed to be near 60ºf tomorrow.  Tonight the deer must have known that hunting season ended on Monday, two bucks and two does ventured out closer to the fence to graze at dusk.

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Again, highly magnified, thus slightly out of focus.  To give you an idea of the distance, here is the back edge unmagnified.

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The tree line you see is the south edge of our hayfield, the cedar tree almost dead center above the railing is the one in the above photos.

I love watching the wildlife that surrounds us, the deer, turkey, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, moles, and voles as long as they stay away from anything they can damage.  We see an occasional bear, coyotes, groundhogs, squirrels, assorted songbirds and raptors.  We have seen raccoons, skunks, and foxes, though never on our farm.

We love our farm.

Thus is spring in the mountains

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Flowers bloom.
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Outdoor projects are done.  The little decorative wheelbarrow made by my Dad about 15 years ago has a new handle, new axle, the side boards screwed on instead of nailed and a new support beneath to keep it from wobbling.
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Set in place, filled with pots and awaiting the warm weather and flowers.
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The horseradish, asparagus, and raspberry beds fenced off from the chickens and heavily mulched. The chicken coop cleaned out and a compost pile started behind the fence to keep the chooks out of it.

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Today is 80ºf, Sunday it is supposed to snow.

The garden now has two long fenced off beds, plus the blueberries are fenced off.  Before Saturday afternoon, I hope to get the beets and some cabbages planted and the blueberries heavily mulched.  There is enough of the plastic fencing to fence off two more beds, but I will need to get more step in posts first.  I bought two rolls of the plastic fencing and only needed one, so I will return it for more posts.  That should give me space to plant the beans, more peas, and the peppers.

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All 14 of the little peat pots have at least 1 tomato sprout with primary leaves.  They are spending each warm day outdoors, hoping that they will grow strong and not leggy.  Yesterday, I saw that one of the comfrey seeds had sprouted.  They were a total failure last year and I failed to divide the big plant last fall, so I tried again with seed.  I hope that more of them germinate.  They will be outside the vegetable garden.  There is 1 pepper sprouted so far.  Once the weather warms back up next week, I hope that they will join the tomato sprouts outdoors and maybe the mini hoop house will be constructed to help protect them from the wind while they develop into garden sized plants.

Today lots of work was accomplished.  Tomorrow will be cooler, but still nice and except for taking “N” to preschool and having spinning in the early afternoon, I have no commitments and hope to get the blueberries mulched and maybe the beets and more peas planted.  Friday will be cooler and still dry, another garden day before we get the predicted light coating of snow that will be gone in 24 hours.

Fickle winter’s end

On Thursday when I left for Hawks Nest, it was flurrying. We drove into and out of heavier snow on the 2 1/2 hour trip. By Thursday afternoon, the snow on the ground was gone and by Friday morning, the ground was covered with a couple of inches. When we left on Sunday late morning, it was T-shirt and sandal temperatures in the mid 60’s, by yesterday it was in the low 70’s. Today, we will be lucky if it gets to half that, it is snowing and blowing again with light accumulation expected on Thursday night.

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The forsythia is budding out, the daffodils are 6″ high but not yet budding. I want to plant peas, onion sets, turnips, but not yet. Another couple of weeks and a section of the garden will be reclaimed from the chickens and early crops planted to begin another growing season. Each day I check my second year asparagus bed for shoots. I may harvest a couple when they are ready.

We are getting 5 or 6 eggs each day from the hens.  They are signalling the lengthening days and coming spring.

Since Hawk’s Nest, my spinning has been put on hold until I finish a knitting project for a friend. Though it is not mine to share, I have learned two new skills doing it.

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The first skill is the knit 1 below stitch. I was doing quite well with it and did 10 repeats of the pattern, until I goofed. I tried tinking back several rows to the error to fix it and realized that I messed up removing it, so I ripped out what I had, about half of the front of the project and started over. I should have learned the first time to insert a lifeline after a repeat was done, but no, I just trudged along and finished 11 repeats, but again there was an error. Instead of ripping it all out again, to learn skill #2 I looked on YouTube to learn how to tink (knit backwards) a knit 1 below row and removed two rows, back to before the mistake. Once this repeat is corrected, I am going to put a lifeline after each repeat. Each row is getting longer and each error is more work to correct.

When this project is done, I will return to spinning my lovely fluff from the retreat, finish knitting my sweater and frog (rip out) the socks I was making for myself that are just too big, unless I can find someone with a size 8 foot that is wide and who has large calves.

Snowed in again

A beautiful snow this time, no wind.  Daughter and I took a walk in about 10″ of new snow, no drifting.  By the time we started back, we were getting a little sleet.  The roads near us are impassible, but no need to go anywhere.  Groceries were purchased yesterday, dog food as well.  We did get out for our Anniversary dinner, though the snow started hours earlier than predicted.  Last evening we followed our son in law down the mountain, us in our 4 wheel drive truck, him in his little low 2 wheel drive sedan and he went to work 12 hours early to nap there as he wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital today.

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Ooops, got my glove in that one.
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Our old pole barn
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An old snow covered wheel on a rock pile.
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Snow covered hay rake
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Old fly wheel driven saw in front of our barn.
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Barn and house from the top of the driveway. Not going anywhere for a while, though the 2 4-wheel drive vehicles are behind me.
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Rock wall in our sink hole, several hundred feet away.  We have Witch hazel planted above it and went on a search for it, it should be blooming now, but could not find it.
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Our house in the hollow from the hill above us on the neighbor’s farm.

It isn’t snowing as hard now, still thick and gray outside, some sleet due to crust this over this afternoon.

On our walk, we spotted another very young calf, a little black one tucked between two black cows at the hay feeder on the neighbor’s farm.  Some of her girls look like they are about to burst.  Daughter was calling them Moocicles, with their coats dripping icicles.

We came back from our walk to warm leftover soup and leftovers from our Anniversary dinner out for lunch.  The woodstove is keeping the basement toasty and the downstairs floors warm.  We haven’t bothered to light the upstairs fire, saving the wood in case the power fails as the ice accumulates.  I guess I should fill some containers with water, just in case.

The week is supposed to warm, so perhaps the asparagus bed can be weeded before the shoots begin to appear, the chicken coop cleared of the spoiled straw that has housed them during the two snow storms, and their food and water returned to the outdoors.  For the past couple of weeks, they have mostly been getting warm water inside the coop twice a day, their feeder inside the coop staying filled and with single digit temps or snow, they have been locked in.

I have finished the body of my handspun sweater.  I need to pick up the stitches to add the sleeves, perhaps that will be a good afternoon task, plus I bought fabric to make granddaughter a little backpack to carry her dance clothes in.  She got a leotard, dance pants, and a skirt for Valentine’s day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Snow Day

Yesterday, local school systems shut down 1 to 3 hours early in anticipation of the Clipper system in the forecast. It snowed lightly at our elevation, mostly a wintry mix that was gone by 5 p.m. At dusk it began again as snow.  We left a 4 wheel drive vehicle at the top of the driveway, SIL left his little 2 wheel drive sedan down near the main road, we gave him a key to ours so he could get to his this morning.  Today schools closed, kids were up at the crack of dawn, trying to get the remaining 3 adults up too.  We of course wanted to take advantage of no schedule and warm beds to nest down and sleep in.

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The accumulation is only a couple of inches, enough to be pretty, not enough to cause any problems for 3 of the cars.  Pictures taken as I took food and warm water to the chickens, knowing that it would have to be served “in bed” to them as they won’t come out when the ground is white and I didn’t want to take the effort to break up the snow covered bale to put down hay as we are looking at increased cloud cover and another 1 to 4″ today and tonight.  My guess is there will be no school again tomorrow.

One of the local amateur weather forecasters, who is usually more accurate than the meteorologists, has warned us to start watching the 15th through the 17th for another major winter storm.  At this rate, the kids will be in school until July 4. At least we will be able to go out and celebrate our 38th Anniversary on Valentine’s Day without a drive in the storm as we have had a couple of years.

My handspun sweater is coming along.  I am on the body, below the armpit and still on the first 200+ yard skein, though I am near needing to add the second one.  It is going to be a delightfully warm, heavy winter sweater when done, my heaviest to date.

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I have read several books in the past few days as well.  I stumbled on a series of novellas by Kendra Elliot and read the first two but must await the release of the third, then was offered a Kindle first of a pre release by Joe Hart, the first of a trilogy, called The Last Girl.  I enjoyed it and will probably read at least one more in the trilogy when it comes out.  For now my reading is a return to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, a paperback that I bought before the storm a few weeks ago.  So far, I haven’t really been able to get into it and have never seen the series on TV, nor do I want to unless I finish the book.

Winter plods on with spring a distant dream.  I probably should start a seed list for the items I lack for the garden when the weather warms.

 

The Calm Beauty After The Storm

The snow finally stopped about 8 p.m. last night after two relentless days of constant snow and 24 hours of strong gusting wind.  The new snow guards on the roof have prevented the large resounding snow drops from the roofs, but with the wind, there really isn’t much piled up on the roof.  It appears that we missed the “Big One” only getting about 16 inches.  That is plenty, we are stranded down in our hollow with deep drifts on our driveway, an unpaved 2/10 of a mile uphill.  Our neighbor who plows us out is off doing contract work for VDOT, so we have to wait for him to be done with that before he can come to us.  Maybe later, we will dig through the worst of the drifts and see if we can get one of the 4 wheel drive vehicles out to the paved road.

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The sun is rising on our white world.

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Beginning to peek through the tree trunks on the top of the east ridge.

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Ripples in the snow from the strong winds of yesterday.  Today is calm and bright.  A good day to play in the snow, a good day for a big pot of soup and a loaf of crusty bread.

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Chicken chores were a challenge.  Between the house and the coop are three drifts, one that goes over the top of my knee high snow boots.  My muck boots being only 11 inches high are worthless for a few days.

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After two days of being contained inside the coop, I spread hay and coaxed them out by putting their food outside and by dumping the compost bin full of bread that was only partially eaten by the kids, about half a loaf that was dumped on the floor by the 4 year old and the remnants of popcorn.  They don’t like the white stuff at all and I suspect that they will spend most of today indoors again.

Hopefully, we can clear enough for SIL R to be able to take one of the vehicles into work tomorrow.  I’m sure we won’t see school attendance for at least a couple more days. Today he gets to play with his kids in the snow.  Tuesday, we get 45 f weather and rain, so the snow will melt, the driveway will thaw and we will have a muddy mess until next time.

It is here!

For a week the weather prognosticators have been threatening us with an epic storm of historic proportions.  We have watched as they upped the expected amounts and took heed to stock up, knowing that we may be stranded down in this hollow for many days. Tuesday, schools opened 2 hours late due to the single digit cold, to give the diesel busses time to get going and so the kiddos didn’t have to stand out in the very cold dark morning.  Wednesday was just as cold, but school began on time, only to close 2 hours early due to a fast moving clipper that dumped a couple of inches of snow very quickly, making the roads, especially the rural mountain roads difficult to impossible to travel.  That resulted in schools being closed again yesterday, though the day was beautiful and everything cleared by afternoon except in the spots that never receive direct sun.

Mountaingdad and I went out early last evening and had dinner out together, did a little crafty shopping and stopped at the book store to each purchase a new book to entertain us while stranded.  By the time we got home, I realized that I was developing the early symptoms of the bug that SIL had last weekend, K had early in the week and I spent a very restless night feeling worse as the night wore on.  SIL got up at his early hour and realized that the pending weather had begun.  He is digilently working from home, in his supervisory capacity, trying to cover shifts at work, knowing that he couldn’t possibly make the hour plus drive in the storm and finding others that live closer, couldn’t also.

We are now about 5 hours in to this storm, the snow has fallen consistently for the entire time, the ground already covered with at least 6 inches.

In spite of being ill, I know that the outdoor animals must be cared for, so I donned by barn coat, hat, gloves and muck boots, to go deal with the chickens.  The 8 hens and 2 young roos are closed in their coop, so food, water and more straw need to be put in with them.  As soon as I stepped outside, the drifted snow went over the top of my boot, so they got food, but I will have to go back with water and straw in a little while.

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It is snowing hard enough to not be able to see the ridge line south of us.  Earlier, you couldn’t even see that tree line.  We are forecast to get 24 to 36″ of snow.  The most we have ever seen in our decade here is 22″.  The world is white, there is enough to play in, now go away.  But it isn’t going anywhere for another 36 hours.

With deep snow, we worry about the weight on the high back deck, so already, I have shoveled the first 6 inches off of it this morning.  I guess that will have to be done many times today and again many times tomorrow.

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I hope I feel well enough tomorrow to play in it, or at least by Sunday.  To go out and sled with the big and little kids in the household.  In the meantime, I have two e-books as long as the power stays on, a new paperback if we lose power, lots of yarn to knit, wood split and ready.  I do need to fill the water containers in case of outage.  Perhaps I should go start a slow cook dinner and make some bread in case we lose our power.  You just aren’t allowed to be sick when you have chores to do.