Category Archives: WEATHER

The 200+ Tree

Our biggest sap producer in the back yard of the mansion.

Our biggest sap producer in the back yard of the mansion.

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.

This is a picture of my husbands great aunts and uncles taken at the mansion and the young maple can be seen in the background.

This is a picture of my husbands great aunts and uncles taken at the mansion and the young maple can be seen in the background.

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).

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That storm in July broke another of our heritage apple trees which seems to happen with every storm.  wind-damage-at-mansion-072016-3  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.

A totally different day

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:

The meadow between our house and our daughters house is out of its banks.

The meadow between our house and our daughters house is out of its banks.

Huge pool behind the gazebo and in front of the house.

Huge pool behind the gazebo and in front of the house.

It runs into the driveway at the bee house and flows into the spring from the mountain.

It runs into the driveway at the bee house and flows into the spring from the mountain.

It's coming out the hills behind the house and barn and down pass the cemetery.

It’s coming out the hills behind the house and barn and down pass the cemetery.

Rivers running under the 9" of snow we got Sunday night and Monday.

Rivers running under the 9″ of snow we got Sunday night and Monday.

I need taller boots

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.

These are my Tractor Supply boots that I love and wear year round on the farm.  They're 9 1/2 inches tall and they're lightly insulated.  I've had them for three years and one of them is starting to leak.

These are my Tractor Supply boots that I love and wear year round on the farm. They’re 9 1/2 inches tall and they’re lightly insulated. I’ve had them for three years and one of them is starting to leak.

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.2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (1) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (2) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (4) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (5) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (6) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (7) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (8) 2nd Snowstorm 2016_Feb 15 (9)

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!

Sassy likes her bed during storms.

Sassy likes her bed during storms.

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!

Feeding calves during snowstorm 02152016 (3) Feeding calves during snowstorm 02152016 (2) Feeding calves during snowstorm 02152016 (1)

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.IMG_0009 IMG_0011 IMG_0015 IMG_0025 IMG_0021 IMG_0018

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.

Firewood stand full of oak, locust and wild cheery.  Toasty night to come.

Firewood stand full of oak, locust and wild cheery. Toasty night to come.

Venison tenderloin in the crockpot smothered with onions and celery.  I'll make a mushroom & onion gravy over it once the loin is tender.

Venison tenderloin in the crockpot smothered with onions and celery. I’ll make a mushroom & onion gravy over it once the loin is tender.

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!

SPRING!!!  CAN'T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH!

SPRING!!! CAN’T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH!

 

Heather Defeats the Snowblower

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:

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In four minutes she was half way there.

In four minutes she was half way there.

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.

 

January 2016 Big Snow

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.

January 21st - day before the snow started.

January 21st – day before the snow started.

January 22 - Snow started falling sometime before 6:30 a.m. It started heavy and then by mid afternoon it quit.

January 22 – Snow started falling sometime before 6:30 a.m. It started heavy and then by mid afternoon it quit.

January 23rd - We got about 6-7 inches the day before and woke up to this on the 23rd. The wind is howling and the wind chills were in the single digits most of the day and night.

January 23rd – We got about 6-7 inches the day before and woke up to this on the 23rd. The wind is howling and the wind chills were in the single digits most of the day and night.

Today this wind is very limited, the snow has quit falling the and the beautiful fun is shining.

Today this wind is very limited, the snow has quit falling the and the beautiful fun is shining.

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:

Visibility outside is almost non-existent with the wind blowing the snow but this guy found the bird/squirrel feeder.

Visibility outside is almost non-existent with the wind blowing the snow but this guy found the bird/squirrel feeder.

The feeder is full of scratch feed and peanuts.

The feeder is full of scratch feed and peanuts.

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I'll have to wait for the snowblower to come through the yard because the yard is drifted over my knees.

I’ll have to wait for the snowblower to come through the yard because the yard is drifted over my knees.

Look at that beautiful blue sky!!

Look at that beautiful blue sky!!

Beauty of nature at its best!

Beauty of nature at its best!

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!!

Did I Say It Was Cold on January 13th?

Well, it’s really cold today and I’m staying in the house except for emergencies. Check it out:

I hope the winter isn't entirely like this!

I hope the winter isn’t entirely like this!

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.

Ground covered with snow on January 17th.

Ground covered with snow on January 17th.

The wind is still blowing and Eddie fed everything early today and made sure they could get to water.

Wind gusting changes things on our weather station.

Wind gusting changes things on our weather station.

Stay in and stay warm!  Spring is just around the corner (I hope!).

Baby, it’s cold outside!!!

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there's patches of snow on top of the ice.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there’s patches of snow on top of the ice.

My wood pile is disappearing and I'm the only one using it!

My wood pile is disappearing and I’m the only one using it!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Hubby's new weather station.  It's been used more than any he's ever had.

Hubby’s new weather station. It’s been used more than any he’s ever had.

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!!!

What A Day

I’m pooped and this is all you get today!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting.  I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow.  Bet I lost a few pounds today!  ;)

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting. I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow. Bet I lost a few pounds today! 😉

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

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!!

Cold weather warning preparation

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).

Roscoe's old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Roscoe’s old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

He has so much room to run now and when I go out there he follows me through the rafters poking his head in between the lumber up there.

He has so much room to run now and when I go out there he follows me through the rafters poking his head in between the lumber up there.

Hi mom!!

Hi mom!!

He is so much fun to watch.

He is so much fun to watch.

We started putting dry wood on the front porch again to keep us warm.

East end of porch is full.

East end of porch is full.

Front edge will be filled from the wood house.

Front edge will be filled from the wood house.

West end will be filled in the next two days.

West end will be filled in the next two days.

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!!!

 

Hummingbird Moth

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!

Hummingbird moth stealing nectar (2)

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.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Can you see both of them  on the Tall Phlox?

Can you see both of them on the Tall Phlox?

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (3)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (4)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (5)

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)!

Season changes and colder weather

The porch is covered with dried firewood.

The porch is covered with dried firewood.

The yard is covered with leaves.

The yard is covered with leaves.

The perennials are black, wilted and almost gone.

The perennials are black, wilted and almost gone.

The trees are getting bare.

The trees are getting bare.

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                Fall colors on the farm before the first freeze.

Fall colors are red one minute.

Fall colors are red and golden one day.

Apple trees are bare with a few red apples left hanging.

Apple trees are leaf bare with a few red apples left hanging.

The flower beds are empty.

The flower beds are empty.

The trumpet vine covering the gazebo is no longer green.

The trumpet vine covering the gazebo is no longer green.

Little mountain is brown instead of red and golden.

Little mountain is brown instead of red and golden.

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!!

Chilling Weather and Orphaned chickens

It was still dark when I left for work last Thursday morning at -5* and Eddie said it would drop more as it became daylight.  He had both stoves going when I got home that night, extra bedding in the dog boxes, extra hay left in the woods for the cows, wood boxes filled to overflowing, made sure new chickens given by a friend of his were settling in and he’s taking them warm water several times a day.  The house was a “toasty 81*” when I got home but the wind was howling and made it feel like 75*.  We even threw on an extra blanket and the bedroom window was closed.  Even though my waist isn’t thinning I believe my blood may be!!  I think the winter is just getting started this year and we’ve lots more cold, wind and snow yet to come.
As for the new chickens, a friend of my husbands had to get rid of them because they were eating his neighbors cat food everyday.  This has caused my usual 3-5 eggs a day to  jump to 12-18!!!  French toast in the making!!  Custard pies on the horizon (to heck with the weight)!!  Egg salad for lunch!  I could go on and on and of course we can’t forget the infamous fried egg sandwich w/cheese!!​  Of course, our benefactor will receive free eggs for a time.

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

I think he is a crossed Americauna, small but handsome!

Barred Rocks

Barred Rocks

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Different breeds but beautiful eggs.

Got to think of a name for him.

Got to think of a name for him.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

Very pretty hen and very friendly.

They stay together most of the time and don't mingle with my old girls.

They stay together most of the time and don’t mingle with my old girls.

The new chickens and my old chickens fought each other most of the day and the rooster that came with them is thankfully one of a kind and will not be with us long.  I want a Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Black Orpington or a Dominique.  Sussex and Americana are beautiful and good egg layers.  I’ll check around in the spring when some of my girls tend to get broody!!
My older hens stick close to the hen-house and aren’t ranging out very far but there’s a very good reason.  A couple of weeks ago a bird hawk, smaller than my hens, decided to invade the inside of the henhouse and killed two of my hens and the day before we found Ms. Crow dead in front of the door.  We have a feeling the hawk got it as well but couldn’t carry her off.  The hens are still skittish and stay close to buildings they can get under fast.  They quit laying for a couple of days or are dropping the eggs outside of the nesting area.
This winter is the first in a long time that I’ve had to buy store-bought eggs and glad it was only for a couple of weeks.  There’s nothing like fresh eggs from the farm.  The eggs are coming more generously now and I can start selling them again but we’ve decided to raise the price on them to $2.00 per dozen because the  is needing a new roof and we’ve had to supplement their feed with scratch grains because of the very cold winter.  Keep them fat and the cold won’t hurt so bad!!  We don’t believe in heated and lighted chicken houses.  We keep everything as natural as possible.
On another note, Fuzzy is missing!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat.  She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

Fuzzy, my orphaned cat. She was dropped at our home long before we arrived and survived wild until I finally coaxed her to my lap!!

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.

Spring rains

Storms brewing!

Storms brewing!

Skies menacing!

Skies menacing!

 

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.

Yoohoo, spring, where are you?

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.

Just got home!

Just got home!

This is what it looked like about 20 minutes after I arrived home.

This is what it looked like about an hour after I arrived home.

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:

Almost a white-out!

Almost a white-out!

Bird and squirrel feeders are full.

Bird and squirrel feeders are full.

Birds are feeding heavily.  They know it's going to get bad.Birds are feeding heavily. They know it’s going to get bad.

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Ground covered good with about 2 inches.

Ground covered good with about 2 inches.

Snow accumulation just after dark.

Snow accumulation just after dark.

Still piling up and it's pouring huge dry flakes.

Still piling up and it’s pouring huge dry flakes.

Hubby cleared a path so Sassy could get out to relieve herself and it's filling in.

Hubby cleared a path so Sassy could get out to relieve herself and it’s filling in.

Here’s what we woke up to yesterday morning:

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My car disappeared during the night.

My car disappeared during the night.

Hope the roof can bear the weight and there's another roof above it just as full.  When it slides off we'll know the sturdiness of our addition.

Hope the roof can bear the weight and there’s another roof above it just as full. When it slides off we’ll know the sturdiness of our addition.

21* and holding.  Wind is starting to get up.

21* and holding. Wind is starting to get up.

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!!

Raining again

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:

7 1/2 inches as of July 28, 2013

7 1/2 inches as of July 28, 2013

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!!

Super Moon June 22, 2013

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.

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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.

Computers & storms

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!!

Cleaning up the orchards

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

Storm aftermath June 29th, 2012

June duratio takes down several apple trees.

June duratio takes down several apple trees.

 

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.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Fallen apple trees removed and sun shining on the remaining.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.

Lots of replacing to do for the orchard at the house.

 

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!!!

Of cows and chickens

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.

One of three haylots full of round bales.

One of three haylots full of round bales.

Gielbiev-Angus cross - love the babies!

Gielbiev-Angus cross – love the babies!

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.

New roost addition to accomdate everyone!

New roost addition to accomdate everyone!

King of the Roost

King of the Roost

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!

Aroma of fall in my kitchen

Fall and cooler weather heighten the senses at my house.  Cooking seems to peak when the seasons change at my house.  The smell of bread rising and then baking was quite profound in my house on Saturday and Sunday.  Fresh loaf bread and rolls make everyone hungry.

Fresh white bread

Fresh white bread

 

We have to have something sweet for dessert or late night TV.  How about these?

Custard Pies

Custard Pies

I made these custard pies for hubby last weekend.  They were so good–I couldn’t let him eat all of them!

 

Lemon Pound Cake

Lemon Pound Cake

Everybody's favorite, Preacher Cookies

Everybody’s favorite, Preacher Cookies

 

Recipes will follow in the near future.

The year is almost three quarters gone and what did I do?

                                                                                                                                                                    January -Ice and snow

February-Making maple syrup

January-February – grafting fruit trees

February – March – Seedlings started

March – Baby calves arrive

March-April – Spring turkey hunting for two of my favorite people.

April – fire wood for winter 2012

April – New equipment for working the cattle

April – More new fencing

May – Gardening begins

May – Honeybees cleaning house and we prepare for fresh honey

May – Bee swarming begins

May – Fruit trees bloom and we worry about late frosts.

June 2012 – 1st ever “duratio” in our neck of the woods. Lots of cleanup and keeping hubby busy!

June – Duratio takes down lots of our fruit and nut crop and wreaks havoc on our fencing.

June – Hay time

June – Hay lot is full!

July – Spring cleaning almost done!

July – Harvesting & canning for winter in full swing!

July – A little crafting along the way makes life fun!

July – First barn quilt in Craig County on the barn!! More fun!

August-September – Mammoth pumpkin from the garden. He almost didn’t fit the wheel barrow!

July – August – Fresh vegies from the garden.

September – Potatoes harvested and in the cellar.

September – Plowing to sow the winter crops (turnips & parsnips).

September – Spaghetti sauce and barbecue sauce from the last of the tomatoes.

And, here it is the end of September.  Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here.  Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market.  Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves.  The cycle starts again.

Fall is here whether we are ready or not!!

We’ve been talking  a lot , hubby and me, about the signs of a early winter.  I remember as a child hearing my parents and grandparents talking about the signs of a early or bad winter.  One such saying was “If the bees build their nest high in the trees we would have a lot of snow in the coming winter.  The bees are bad at the farm right now and they’ve built nest everywhere.  Some high in the maple trees, some in the buildings, and some in my flower beds.

I posted earlier in the week that the leaves are changing here and the hummingbirds are slowly leaving.  We had around 30 in July and this morning there were only seven at the feeder when I left for work.  This morning there are only three left.  Should we be worried since they usually don’t leave until mid to late September?

We have the woodshed full and the last hay is baled and in the barn.  The equipment has been looked over and put away.  We need to get the calves to market but holding off because “pinkeye” has touched about 10 head and we want them well before they’re shipped out.

The chicken molt is coming to a close and the katydids are screaming every night.  They’re usually not this loud until it about to frost.  The praying mantis are all over the flowers  and in the gardens.    We heard coyotes night before last and from the sound of it they had caught something for supper.  Now we worry about the fall calves that will start coming in mid-September.  The whitetail deer have started losing their velvet and I thought this also happened in late September.

I’ve been watching for the ring around the moon that predicts snow but haven’t seen it “yet”!   Some other weather sayings I heard growing up are if yellow jackets are building their nests above ground, then it will be a wet winter.   If the woolly worm has a lot of wool, it will be a bad winter.  If the squirrels and birds are feeding in the winter, expect a bad snow storm.  For every foggy morning in August, it will snow that many days that following winter.  It has been foggy about 20 days this August and that doesn’t bode well for us.  I’m glad the wood house is full and I’d better get that kindling gathered soon.

Wood house 1/2 full

Have you heard these?

Go by the persimmon seed for the weather of each year, Let the seed ripen then open the seed with a pair of pliers, Inside the seed will be a spoon, and it tells you that there will be a plenty of snow to shovel for the first of the winter.

When wind comes from the east,  It’s not fit for man nor beast.

When squirrels lay in a big store of nuts, look for a hard winter.

Ice in November to bury a duck, the rest of the winter is slush and muck.

Ring around the sun, time for fun. Ring around the moon, storm coming soon.

For every fog in august, you get a snow; the heavier the fog, the more snow you get.

Oh well, I guess time will tell but the way this year has flown by, I predict that winter is “soon” up us!!  Get your chores done and get your winter reading prepared 🙂

Fall Color

I’m so looking forward to fall and the beautiful colors that come with it.  To make my wait a little less painful I thought I would share these photos of past autumns at the farm.  ENJOY God’s beautiful artwork with me!

Fall means cider time and Sassy is guarding the apples!

August/September Preparation for a bad winter

I can’t believe it’s the end of July!  This year has flown by!!  It’s time to start aggressively storing food for the winter, gathering wood, and winterizing all the animal sheds and the house.  I’ll save the house for last since the next two months will probably turn out to be our hottest months.  The farm equipment should be finished for the year except for a couple tractors.  Hubby always cleans them up and checks everything out for worn parts and replacement parts.  I clean up the garden and yard equipment but still a little early for that.  The major thing now is the garden.  I will have more green beans to can this coming week and weekend, more squash to freeze, onions to store and more cabbage to do something with.  The tomatoes and peppers are near ready yet and the summer “duratio” did away with most of the fruit.  Luckily I stored lots last year.

Hubby worked on filling the wood house again today and the split stack is out of the rain.  We still have a large load to split and more down from the storm to cut & split for the following winter.

All of the hay is stacked and ready for winter and hubby is in the process of cleaning up the hay equipment.  The roofs have been taken care of and I have to put new interior tar paper in the chicken house.  All of the major fence repairs have been made and the pastures are being sheared now.

Summer storm to remember

We had a major wind storm with some hail behind arrive at our home last night around 8:30.  We lost power for only four hours and most of the county is still without power.  I’m including some photos of the damage we found today.  We are safe but will be cleaning up the aftermath for several weeks.

God was watching over and kept us safe.  The trees, hay, buildings and fences can be repaired and as I said before that are others in the county a lot worse off than we are!