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.
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.
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.
Tropical depression Bob descended on us around 2 p.m. With SIL’s mom visiting for the weekend, we wanted to take her on a hike one that the kids had not done before, so after the morning Farmers’ Market run we set off up the mountain to a nice 2.6+ mile loop trail that has a gorgeous rock outlook about halfway through the hike. It has a 180 degree view that is totally unspoiled, not a road, power line, nor structure can be seen. The easier part of the loop goes through a forest that once was home of American Chestnuts before the blight destroyed them almost entirely. You see Chestnut Oak there now, but not native Chestnuts. There are some medium sized Hemlocks that have not succumbed to the Wooly Adelgid that is destroying them as well.
The last Mountain Laurel and the first Rhododendron of the season, wildflowers, bird’s nest, interesting fungi, fern fields, cool breezes, shade were all present for a delightful walk. On our way out on the more difficult part of the loop, where the elevation drops many hundred feet on a series of switchbacks to a few hundred feet of creek crossing and walking through a Rhododendron thicket, the lost elevation must be regained a bit more gradually, but still challenging. As we were beginning the ascent, the thunder began and we kicked into overdrive to get back to the car before the storm descended on us on the ridge line. Granddaughter, the 3 1/2 year old was a super hiker, being carried only part of the way in each direction, especially when we had to really kick up the pace. As we settled in the car and started the drive back the 12 miles across the ridge and down the mountain road back to the house, the rain began.
Yesterday, Momma Hen 3 hatched a trio of her 9 eggs, but 2 of them did not survive, the remaining chick has settled under Momma Hen 4 in the next nesting box. The remaining eggs should hatch by Monday from both hens. We now have 8 chicks a few days old, 2 that are 4 weeks old and still waiting to see what else might emerge in the next day or two. I fear we may not get as many chicks as we had hoped for flock replenishment and meat for the freezer. I really don’t want to have to purchase chicks and raise them in a brooder and hope that we may yet have enough chick hatch this year to make this a viable experiment.
Farm life, knitting and spinning, cooking and family