Tag Archives: unexpected snow

Olio – March 3, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

It is March, the most changeable month of our seasons.  Three days ago it was in the 70’s, then the rain came, the wind blew, trees around the region fell and with them the temperature.  Today it is barely at freezing and this. . .


Yes, that is snow folks.  Only a light dusting, but this is what we expect this time of year, not 70+ºf.  Tonight it drops into the teens.  If the sun comes out, the garlic will get another blanket of hay or a piece of row cover to keep the 9 inch shoots from burning to the ground.  In town, the flowering almonds, daffodils, and forsythia are blooming. We have a young maple with flowers and tiny leaves.  It is weeks too soon.

The chickens fled back into their coop as soon as the flurries began this morning.  Those birds just don’t like snow.  The dozen new chicks get picked up in 10 days.  Their abode needs to be set up this weekend so that the warming table can get the environment right for them when they come home.  So far, Tractor Supply has done a great job of keeping me from buying a few Welsummers as the two times we have gone down, the bins have been empty.  It wouldn’t work out too well to have 4 chicks almost 2 weeks older than the tiny Buff’s coming home with us soon.  The brooder coop sides that remained plastic last year still need to be enclosed within the next 6 weeks.

Mother Earth News alerted me that the onion sets can be put out under cover.  To do that, another day of moving compost is in order.  There is still a big pile and 2 empty boxes to fill.

Over the winter, steps were taken to make spinning at the Smithfield Plantation House a bit more authentic.  Two antique wheels entered our home, both have had parts made or repaired by Bobbin Boy and returned.  The little Saxony style wheel, the older of the two spins.  The effort to spin on her is much greater than on the contemporary wheel, but yarn has been made.


It is a bit rougher than yarn generally spun by me, but it is yarn! Yesterday an attempt to spin on the great wheel was made.  Something isn’t aligned quite right and the drive band walks off the back edge.  The wheel does not have a groove and it was suggested that a beeswax paste be thinly smeared down the center to help hold it, but it still moves off the back.  It is hard to learn properly when so much attention is given to keeping the drive band string in place.  Also during the winter, additions were made to the costume that is worn while spinning at the plantation.  A Dormeuse/Mob cap, Apron, and Fichu/kerchief were added to improve the look.  A gown should also be worn, but that is not in the budget right now, plus it gets terribly hot in the weaver’s cottage during the summer months. Here is the new look.


One of the issues with the petticoat (skirt) was that it was one long panel with a single seam and a drawstring of ribbon.  It was awkward and bulky at the waist.  Some of the re-enactors and seamstresses on Ravelry, the social network for fiber artists, gave me some pointers on how to deal with that issue.  Yesterday, the drawstring was removed, the single panel split into two, hidden pockets added to the front panel and the side seams resewn to the bottom of the pockets.  Cotton twill tape was added to the tops of the two panels distributing the fullness and stitched in place.  The back twill is tied in the front, then the front overlaps the back a few inches on each side and ties in the back.  It is so much more comfortable and now I have pockets for my very nontraditional keys needed to get there and for my Hussif, a small needle book, that has needles, pins, thread, and my tiny scissors.


The Hussif, a contraction of the word housewife, was carried my many people, women of the house, pages, soldiers, and sailors.  It is a small rolled sewing kit.  Mine doubles as both a small sewing kit and a tiny knitting notions kit with the addition of a cable needle, a few stitch markers, needle gauge, and a tape measure.


Traditionally, each pocket was made of a different fabric and was used to contain the necessary tools of a sewing repair kit.

Participation as a historical spinner is encouraging me to learn more of the period, customs, and terms.  The location is beautiful, though earlier this week, a very old, maybe 300 year old maple tree on the property fell.  Not during the storm, which is probably a good thing, as with little wind, it fell away from the forge shop into the yard.  During the storm, it might have taken a different path down.  The lead blacksmith rallied a group and the trunk and larger branches have been salvaged and once dried, will be made into tables, benches, handles for tools and knives.  Saving a bit of the area’s old history.


Sleepless in …

The wind has howled like a freight train plowing through the house all night.  I don’t sleep well when it does for fear of it toppling the shed roof over the heatpump and taking out our heat.  It woke me at 2 a.m. and that ended my night.

This is what we awoke to find


yes, snow blowing sideways.  Note the small flag next to the post.

I went out to put food in the coop and open the pop door and because of the direction, there is a small snowdrift in the coop.  Their water bucket is frozen solid.  I left if outside as it is supposed to get up to the mid 40s later, so hopefully it will thaw.

I don’t know when the wind is supposed to die down, but the weather gods are telling us we are expecting 2 to 4 inches of white stuff before it does.  Not what I expected this morn.


Weather misfire

The snow was nearly melted from Saturday’s unexpected coating. Sunday had dawned with an expected warm up which occurred as the weather prognosticators had predicted. By the end of the day, the field looked like tan leopards with white spots and for the first time in weeks the faucets in the utility room did not have to be left dripping. The dogs were disappointed that the snow was nearly gone.

Monday’s high was at 6 a.m. and there was a 41°f drop during the course of the day, but no precipitation was expected for several days. Tuesday was frigid, never climbing above the mid teens with strong and gusty winds and snow flurries. The east coast was bracing for a major snowstorm that was to go east of the mountains. This was good, as she was to catch a train the following morning north to go babysit for a few days. The train station 109 miles away and the train departing at 7:38 a.m.

As evening fell, the snow started, again unexpected and several inches suddenly predicted. What to do, already they were to leave home by 5 a.m. to make the train and with dogs that couldn’t be left for more than a few hours, making the drive that night wasn’t an option. Instead alarms were set an hour earlier in hopes that the roads would have been treated overnight. The mountain descent was snow covered and a bit slick, but the highways in most places were fine.

The schedule was met and this is the morning view.




The world is again white, the sky clear and the sun is shining. The dogs again have snow in in which to play and the chickens won’t come out until it melts from their straw. Today and tonight are frigid, then it warms to normal winter weather, until the ice storm on Monday. She better get home in her car by the weekend. He drives home alone to the company of the dogs and becomes caretaker for the chickens today and for a few to come.