We’re not especially covered up with farm work at the moment due to the very wet weather and cold winds. As most farms are this time of year, we normally would be working on fences, cutting next years firewood, trimming damaged trees and pruning fruit trees. All of that work is not being completed now because we can’t get anywhere on the farm for the mud. It’s so easy to get hung up even feeding the cattle. When I go to the henhouse in the afternoon I wear my knee top rubber boots and the mud is so slimy and thick that it tries to suck my boots off. The ducks have issues getting to and from their water sources and the chickens stay close to the henhouse because their feet get caked with mud! We’ve had record rainfall and this week is loaded with more rain, ice and snow. We’re very anxious about this due to 14 heifers (cow that hasn’t had a calf) due to deliver beginning today.
Today we are preparing for another snow event in our area of 4-8 inches of snow depending on what part of the county you live in. We like to prepare for the worst and hope for the least. Eddie hauling some hay just outside of different fields the cattle are in. We just hauled firewood to the front porch. The cattle were fed normally but tomorrow morning they’ll get hay and some grain but fed near the woods for protection from the snow. Today I made sure the ducks and chickens have extra feed, watering pan full and I put some treats in the hen house for them. The snow is not supposed to get heavy until tomorrow afternoon but you never know with Mother Nature.
We brought three tractor loads of firewood to the front porch and have covered it with tarps to keep as dry as possible.
We’ll be warm!! I also brought in some canned goods and potatoes from the cellar, a big pot of vegetable/meat soup sounds good! I filled two five-gallon buckets, and one three gallon bucket with water for flushing the camode if the power goes off. I filled 10 gallon jugs and some gallon pitchers for drinking and cooking water, We are ready for the second snow event of 2019.
Crazy isn’t it?? We’ve just about finished a heating season and now we start preparing for another one! It’s not a vicious circle, it’s life on the farm!
We covered it up so it would continue to dry. The wood house was about half full and we didn’t want to add any to it because a lot of it had been seasoned for 2-3 years and needed to be used. So we emptied out the woodshed and didn’t have to cut any firewood all winter. We used about half of the stack in the photo above and I just recently stacked the remainder to start our fuel for next winter. We NEVER burn unseasoned firewood! Flue fires are not on our list of fun!
Hubby has already cut down four huge dead oak and wild cherry trees to complete the harvest and we have two truck loads of already cut up but needs to be split. We use locust, ash,and maple for firewood, as well.We’ll try to get this done in the next month so it won’t interfere with hay season and it won’t be full of bees and snakes.
Just a little more work on the farm!
This morning we woke to snow on top of last weeks snow but we had a beautiful blue sky. Last week we got about 10 inches of snow and the most we’ve had all winter. Over half had melted and this morning we woke to five more inches on top of the leftovers. It was 25* when we woke this morning and now its 38* now. The best part – we didn’t lose any calves this time. Here’s a touch of our beauty in western Virginia and Craig County on the mountain:
It’s melting now and by mid-week we’ll be in the 60’s and rain. It will be a sloppy mess but needed for our crops and gardens. We haven’t had snow like this for a couple of years and we all knew it was time. I’m not saying the spring snows are over but sure hope they are.
We have six more cows to calve from our spring herd and these mom’s and their little ones could sure use a break.
My chickens don’t like the snow either and a few got trapped under the grainery last night and refused to walk through the snow to their warm house but it looks like they all survived and are ready to see some green grass and mud!
Everyone be safe and spring is here even though it doesn’t look like it!!!
We got another batch of wintry mix last night that started as rain.
Hubby has gone out to feed the cattle and check for new babies. Thank goodness those expectant mothers held out for at least another day.
It’s still snowing but supposed to end sometime this afternoon but not looking much like it right now. Everyone stay warm and enjoy the bright whiteness while you can. As farmers we don’t mind this very much because we know our fields, pastures and garden will grow abundantly in the coming months!
Have a great second day of spring!!
March 17, 2018 and we have a huge thunder and lightning show around 8:30 last night. We were sitting in the living room watching TV and I saw the flash and heard the boom immediately and it just about rolled us out of our recliners!!! I jumped up fast and ran to the computer to unplug everything, hoping it wasn’t too late. In the past I’ve had three computers, phones and phone jacks burnt up by lighting rolling through our phone lines.
It’s so hard to believe how green everything is. We expecting more winter weather on Wednesday and hoping all of those spring calves come before or after this weather gets here. Hubby is out feeding now and checking the fences to make sure the lightning did not hit the fence chargers. It does that a lot around here when we have these storms. When we know the storms are close and coming our way we unplug the chargers.
But for this Sunday we will enjoy and feel blessed to have such a glorious day! Yes, there’s lots of mud but we will take the rain soaking up our fields, pastures and garden for now.
I think I’ll cook up some fresh trout, pinto beans and fried potatoes for our dinner tonight which will top of the spring day!
It’s getting close to time to make maple syrup again and Mother Nature split our best sap producer in half back in late summer. The tree is over 200 years old and we have pictures of my husband’s family having a picture made at it when his great, great grandparents had passed away. All of the children were standing/sitting in front of the tree when the picture was taken and the tree was only about 10-12 inches around.
Now, three to four people holding hands around it can still barely reach around the base of what’s left of it. I’m hoping it may sprout new growth this spring and only time will tell. We got several truckloads of firewood from it and the rotted was carried to the woods to go back into the earth. This loss will make a big difference in our sap production but we do have several of the same size on the farm that we have not tapped before and will during our next production season. We probably won’t have a maple syrup weekend this year due to the crazy season we’re having this winter/spring. Here’s some pictures of the downed tree and the damage it did to fence and gates but thankfully fell to the north instead of on the mansion (family home of our ancestors).
That storm in July broke another of our heritage apple trees which seems to happen with every storm. We had another storm last night but thankfully no damage was found but for one huge pine tree in our back fields. Cattle and fences were spared this time.
Pictures tell what kind of day we’re having today on the farm. This is the front yard after the storm and the snow starts melting:
We’re in our second winter snowstorm and I have got to get taller boots. Mine are 9.5 inches tall and when I went to feed Miracle this morning it was over my boots.
Hubby says it’s over the boots because of the way I walk in the fresh snow and scoot it in front of me. I still need taller boots if this is going to continue through spring! The next ones I get in the spring will be up to my knees, I think.
It started snowing here again last night before dark and hubby says we have 8 inches now but it was still pouring down snow when I started this post. It’s supposed to turn to sleet and freezing rain and then rain all day tomorrow. We woke up to 18* and it’s now 22* . The snow is like powder and we’re so glad the wind had not gotten up yet.
Hubby got the snowblower out while I fed the calf and had me a 48 inch path to the chickens and the smokehouse. I’ve swept the porch and steps off three times so far but Sassy has decided to stay in the house this morning. She went out for a quick potty break and fled back to the house!
Hubby is out feeding the stock now and the powder snow makes it hard to roll out the bales but everyone is waiting for some food to warm up their insides!
The snow has stopped now and we’re waiting for the sleet and rain. All of the cattle are doing well and my chickens are warm and been fed well and have plenty of warm water. The wild birds now have plenty of seed on the ground after I swept the snow away from the feeders.
I’ve prepared a roast in the crockpot with onions and celery and will make a gravy over it later and serve it over noodles for supper and some fresh bread. The laundry is almost done and the wood has been brought in for this evening warmth.
Once the sleet/rain/ice arrives we may lose power but we’ve learned after 44 years of marriage to be prepared for it. All of the buckets in the laundry room are full of water for the bathroom, 12 gallon jugs are full of water for cooking and whatever else it’s needed for and the candles and flashlights are where they’re easily accessible.
Hope you are all warm and safe! Spring is just around the corner!
My daughter can operate just about every piece of equipment on our farm. The only equipment she hasn’t used is the backhoe but I know it’s just a matter of time until she is on it to. Here is her newest accomplishment completed today:
I believe she has been whining about the snow since last week and today she’s out in it playing and taking pictures of the farm and the wildlife.
It’s been a while since folks in our area have seen a storm like we had this week. I’ve got some time lapsed snow storm pictures to show everyone including Robin Reed our wonderful meteorologist.
All of the outside animals are doing fine but cold. Eddie is trying to feed the round bales but they won’t roll out because the snow is so dry so he’s feeding the cows 6-7 bales instead of the normal 2-3. The snow drifts are up over the cows bellies but the blessing is there are no babies due until March and April.
Prissy and George are doing well and taking care of Miracle. They tend to lay on the side of the haybale away from the wind. If not for the older orphans Miracle would have a time getting through the snow because it’s over her belly!
Here’s some more scenes of the last three days from the front porch and the kitchen window:
Can’t wait to get to the henhouse and check on the girls, Rooster and Fred! Roscoe may even come out of hibernation with this beautiful sun shining and the temperature has already risen to 30 degrees. I’ve been watching the orphan calves this morning and Miracle tends to stay between Prissy and George for their body heat.
Stay warm everyone and pray this will be the ONLY storm we have this winter even though it’s only January!!
Well, it’s really cold today and I’m staying in the house except for emergencies. Check it out:
It’s 9* outside with the wind gusting between 5 and 13 mph leaving us with a wind chill of -2. It was -3 with the windchill when we got up at 7:30.
We woke up to snow yesterday morning which didn’t amount to much but it still makes it colder.
The wind is still blowing and Eddie fed everything early today and made sure they could get to water.
Stay in and stay warm! Spring is just around the corner (I hope!).
Yes, it’s wintertime and it’s supposed to be cold but darn it we just got teased really bad with 50 and 60 degree weather and my body is just not liking this one bit! I can stand the cold if there’s sunshine to go along with it but that wind is wicked!! My son thinks I’m a wimp but one of these days he’ll understand where I’m coming from. Right, Shawn???
I know I have to stick it out for at least three or four more months so I guess I’ll be quilting, crocheting, reading, cooking, embroidering, and blogging a lot to keep me occupied for a while. I’ll be making hourly trips to the henhouse for eggs and taking them warm water. I’ll be checking in on Roscoe three or four times a day and making sure he’s okay with just his fur coat and watching to make sure hubby’s hounds will have plenty of protein for food and hay in their boxes for warmth. We have their houses facing the morning sun to keep them warm as well. Mother Nature will take care of everything else.
Now, to find my seed catalogs and make a list!!!
I’m pooped and this is all you get today!
All I have to do now is cover it all with plastic before the rain sets in tomorrow afternoon.
I’m totally whipped this afternoon and we’ll probably have a hotdog for supper instead of the roast in the crockpot because I don’t have enough spunk to fix anything to go with the roast!!
According to the weather forecasters, colder weather is heading our way (but we’ll see what Mother Nature has to say about that). We’ve put fresh hay in the coon dog houses, put plastic covered mesh over the summer windows of the hen-house, padded Roscoe’s new digs (he has moved to the upper part of the smokehouse).
We started putting dry wood on the front porch again to keep us warm.
I also brought in some canned green beans, tomatoes, october beans, potatoes, delicata squash and cabbage from the cellar. I also buttoned down the storm windows to keep the wind out. Hoping it won’t get real bad if I’m prepared ahead of time. I’m not sure if that really happens or not but I’ll try anything. I don’t like the sixty and seventy degree days in November and December and definitely not January. Eddie found a cherry tree on the mountain in bloom and the maple sap is running. We had about three weeks of really cold temps and the sap went down and now it thinks it spring and time to run again. This messed up our maple sugar processing last year and afraid it may have again. I’m more worried about the honey bees and their survival in this crazy weather.
Hope you all stay warm on this last day of December 2015 and keep those prayers coming for all of those unfortunate people out west dealing with flooding and snow storms. Be thankful for what you have and truly appreciate all that God has blessed us with!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
This summer weather in December is making me crazy!!! I don’t care for the cold anymore but this is ridiculous!! We actually have a cherry tree on the mountain BLOOMING! This is just wrong, don’t ya think?
So if it’s going to act like summer, I’m going to blog summer!
This the last flower blooming back in September and the little guy hovering over it is a hummingbird moth. They’re so unusual and I only had two this summer.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, can we PLEASE have some normal temps and a little of the white stuff (not fog)!
Fall colors on the farm before the first freeze.
I love early fall but after the first freeze everything changes. We’re actually shocked that the pasture and hayfields are still as green as they are and the yard. Old man winter is touching us in many way but thankfully not as hard as last year when it started bitterly cold in late October and didn’t let up.
Bundle up and get out and walk in the woods while you still can!!
I haven’t seen her since last Wednesday when she came to meet when I got home from work. I fed her that evening and haven’t seen her since. She left once before for about four days but this has been over a week and I’m so afraid a coyote pack got her. I hope I go home today and she has returned.
They came and went and now the cold will return. The skies are awesome to watch from the hill behind the house right before a storm brings in the cold spring rain! It left us with 2.5 inches of rain so far in May. Those beautiful green pastures are welcome sight to us and the cows.
Our little neck of the woods has been filled with major low temps for the last six weeks with minor warm ups and like everyone else I am SOOOOOOO ready for spring. Yes, this is another post about the weather and knowing we can’t do anything about but gripe I think we are all doing that quite well!!
We were just hit with our first major snowfall which started around 2:30 on Wednesday evening causing me to leave work early so I wouldn’t be stuck out on the roads with my family worried to death. NO I’m not stupid enough to wait for the roads to get treacherous before heading home. I have a wonderful job and supervisors that allow me to head out early since I live about 25 minutes from home which is very much in the country. We had plenty of warning about the incoming storm and prepared well in advance. By the time I pulled into our driveway the roads were getting white and the mountain in front of our house and the one behind our house could not be seen.
Hubby had worked most of the day before feeding the animals heavy and cutting some extra firewood for the main stove and the one in the kitchen. It’s a good thing he covered it as soon as he unloaded it. We had prepared for the electricity to go out as well and had five gallon buckets full of water for the bathroom, pitchers full for drinking and cooking and gallon jugs full for the animals and washing dishes. Thankfully the power only went out twice and it was during the night and only long enough to have to reset the clocks. Here’s a pictorial of how the storm grew as the night went on:
Here’s what we woke up to yesterday morning:
We’ve muddled through with no major crisis and hubby has to start over this morning cleaning out the drifts to all the animals to feed. I’m keeping the fires going and cooking. Today is a good day for a pot of homemade venison/vegetable soup!!
I left work this morning with it raining again. The weatherman says there a possibility of flash flooding again. We still have less than half of our hay put up but already have almost as much hay as we did last year rolled. I keep telling my kids that if we have as much snow this coming winter as we had rain this summer that we should all be preparing for lots of quiet time at home by the wood stove and possibly without electricity. I think I’m going to prepare both of them an emergency weather kit for their homes just in case. It’ll be up to them to fill the food cabinets and prepare for some kind of heat. Here’s the rain guage as of last Sunday:
I know it’s hard to read but we’re just 1/10th of an inch from 7 1/2 inches for July. We got 6 1/2 in June and 5 1/2 in May. Rained expected today, all day should put us up to the 8 inch mark and more rain expected the first day of August. What will we get if hurricanes come up the coast in September and October like they normally do? Do I sound like a “worry-wart”?? The sunshine sure did feel good Monday and Tuesday. Keep those umbrellas handy!!
I wanted to show you the pictures I took of the “super moon” last night. The clouds moved in and it wasn’t as spectacular as I wanted to get. About an hour after dusk the clouds broke up some and I got these.
I’m hoping to get better ones tonight right at dusk but I’ve noticed in the last our that the clouds are moving in again and the southeast winds are picking up. We’ll probably have more rain this evening and definitely tomorrow.
In my neck of the woods it’s wise to not only turn your computer off when thunderstorms are predicted but you better unplug them and unhook your connection to the phone lines. In the eleven years that we have lived here on the farm I have lost three computers to lightning. In this rainy season that we’re having and have had I usually unplug everything until all danger has passed.
This the reason that my posts have been few and far between. I hope this weekend to be caught up on everything that has been put on hold for the last month and a half. So, expect to see a lot of email notices and please be patient with me. Tomorrow is a new and quiet weather day but for the wind!!
Have a great evening and holiday weekend!!
In June of this past summer, we had lots of tree and fence damage from the “duratio” that hit our farm. I’ve never seen such wind and we were very lucky that we had no more damage than we did. We did loose several apple trees and hubby has been working hard since that wind storm to get things back in order.
Hubby started the clean up in the orchard today and got all but one of the downed trees cut up and hauled off. It looks kind of bare now but hopefully we’ll fix that. Here’s a picture of the cleaned up orchard as of this afternoon.
We won’t be able to replace those trees with the same type because they were trees grafted by the family years ago. Luckily there are several of the same type in the orchard and I have 30+ apple stock in the cellar that are two years old and ready for grafting. I need to get out soon and cut scion from the trees we have left and when spring truly breaks I’ll get that new stock in the ground, grafted and wrapped and shielded from all the wildlife that love tender buds.
I’m looking forward to another try at grafting myself. Hubby is a real pro at it! I’ve taken the classes but think maybe I try to hard. We’ll see how they fair toward the end of summer and look for new sprouts on the grafts. I LOVE FARMING!!!
It’s amazing to me that anyone may be short on hay this winter since we had such a great season. But then I think about the drought the rest of the country had and still has and then I understand. We had about 70 round bales left from summer 2011 and met our needs with some to spare this year. We started feeding out the older hay first and when the snows come hubby puts a couple in each patch of woods that the cattle are in and feeds the good hay first thing in the morning. The cattle move from the fresh to the older as the weather turns bad. The calves like playing and nibbling in the older hay too. Our cattle are in good shape and the fall calving is complete now since the end of November. Our spring calves will come in late March, early April through May.
My older hens have quit laying but I also raised late chicks in June and they’ve started laying for me. I guess it’s a type of rotation laying in our henhouse. I never use heat lamps or special lighting because I think they need a rest too. I make sure they get a tablespoon of vinegar in their fresh water each morning, lots of grit in one feeder, and cracked corn to put on some fat on their bodies which will help them make it through the winter. The vinegar helps rid them of worms, I’m told and they seem to be in better shape since I started using the apple cider vinegar. I don’t let them out of the henhouse when there’s snow/ice on the ground. The biggest problem I have is the younger hens want to sleep in the nests at night because the older hens (pecking order) run them off the roost. Hubby fixed that by building an additional roosting section to the existing roost and all but one hen now uses the roost. She tends to make a nasty mess in the nests during the night and by the time I get to the hen house in the morning another hen has laid her eggs in the mess. I have 38 chickens of which three are young roosters. I’m only getting 6-8 eggs a day now but it’s more than enough for us to use and share with the kids as they visit. I have about 10 hens that need to be culled but I find it hard to let them go because when I enter the henhouse some of them come to me singing and of course, I sing back to them. I always have a couple hens that get broody and hatch but you never where the hatch will be roosters or hens. I think this spring I”ll order a new batch of Buff Orpingtons and Americauna’s. I love those beautful eggs. Two of the three roosters I have are Americauna and the other is a mix but he is a beauty.
He’s a little over a year old but his sisters are giving me double yolk brown eggs. I haven’t found an adequate name for him yet but thinking about it!