This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful granddaughter and the cutest grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.
Well, I finally made it outside today and it was 50* and the sun was shining. I checked on my animals, carried wood into the house and found my missing panel for the greenhouse. I also found Old Glory covered in snow in the flower bed still attached to a section of the pole that holds her when she flys.
My chickens and ducks would love to be out of their coops but I think they’re better off inside until this white stuff melts into the ground. The temperatures are dropping again but still warm enough to melt off the roof and hopefully the roads.
I made one trip to the duck house and then to the chicken house to take them warm water and feed and it was so hard to walk in the snow! It seemed much deeper than four inches, but my boots are eight inches tall, and the snow didn’t quite make it to the top. The sun is shining bright now so between the wind and the sun I don’t think it will stay with us long. Our weathermen are predicting more by the end of the week.
We lost power for about a minute and it makes me appreciate our utility and highway workers more every day. They’re out there keeping us warm and safe!!
February 2021 found us married for 49 years and still going strong. Our baby girl had her 44th birthday and her big brother still loves her very much!
We had eight days of snow and sleet this month in 2021 and nine days of rain. We sure hope to get that moisture again in 2022 because we are in a drought at the moment.
Some of my seeds for the greenhouse and garden arrived on February 22nd and now I’m ready for warm temps. We got some new lumber for new shelving in the greenhouse and it was a great start for growing.
February was a slow month and very cold and that kept us hauling in firewood and feeding all the animals extra nutrition.
Even with a pandemic our lives didn’t change a lot from any other year. We limited our trips off the farm, had doctor appointment over the phone, kept in touch with family and friends via mail, email and Facebook and at times my blog. I really don’t know who even reads it but I do enjoy keeping up with myself through my blog. If anyone has questions or suggestions for topics related to farming let me know and I will address with the knowledge that I may have.
On the farm in January, we trim fruit trees and we have plenty of them. We prune the grapevines and berry vines. We prepare for maple sugaring by cleaning the spouts, buckets, holding tank, and cooking pans.
We opened up several roads in the back of the property. Eddie worked on it several days before I was able to help but it made such a big difference cleaning out the trees and brush that had the road covered block our way.
There one chore I have monthly and that’s to clean out the chicken house and nesting boxes. It’s really hard on the back and legs to let it go more than a month when you have 30+ chickens. With only five hens and a rooster at the moment it could wait but I like tidying everything up for my girls and keeping fresh hay or leaves in their nesting boxes. I can’t stand dirty eggs!!!
Usually right after deer season and through March you can find us most any day in the woods cutting firewood for the following winter season and we had some help this year from a friend. The woodhouse is “almost” full and there’s a stack we’re using now in the area where we split the wood when we haul it in.
We lost our honeybees during the winter but thankfully a wild swarm came into the hive. They worked hard all through the spring and we got one super and four more frames in the middle of summer. Unfortunately Eddie checked on them a few weeks ago on a warm day and they’re all dead again. I wish the scientists would find out what the problem is so we could build several colonies.
The rest of the month found me inside sewing, reading, and going through seed catalogs. I wore them out going through them every night.
At the end of the month, 30th and 31st, we got a heavy snow!!
We are having a whirlwind spring or end of winter and we don’t know from one day to the next what the temperature will be. Last night we were experiencing 35-60 mile per hour wind gusts. Thankfully there was no damage to anything that we have found. We deal with this while waiting on baby calves to be born!! Farming is a challenge, especially beginning this year.
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.
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!!!
Finally we had some snow this morning to help the spring pasture growth!! Here it is the middle of March and we get around five inches of the white stuff. It started a little before 5:00 this morning and now it’s over and there are hints of blue sky peeping through.
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!
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!!
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.
I know that spring is just around the corner because I found these in my yard yesterday.
Aren’t they beautiful?? Spring is coming in like a lion and I have two little orphans because of it. George and Prissy were born on March 15th& 16th consecutively. It’s was the worse days we’ve had all winter. George’s mom decided he should be born and baptized at the same time so she had him in a wet weather spring in the middle of a blackberry patch in 0* weather. He was so cold he could not get up to nurse and when Eddie found him Mom left to go eat. Eddie packed him up in the tractor cab and carried him to our cellar. Twenty four hours and lots of warm towels, heat lamp and propane heater, he was toddling around and taking a bottle.
Prissy was delivered to the main house the next morning covered in ice and snow and barely alive. I didn’t make it to work that day because of the snow and ice and I think Eddie was glad to have me there. He found Prissy covered in four inches of ice and then snow. Beside her, the mom was cleaning and trying to make her dead twin come back to life. Eddie scraped off the snow and loaded her in the tractor and brought her to me. I got out an old cutter quilt and he laid her by the woodstove. I grabbed old towels and blankets and started drying her off. Sassy helped by licking her face. I was certain she would die because her tongue was cold and she was so lifeless. Sassy and I worked on her all morning, shifting her from side to side and warming another old quilt to lay over her. We gave her about an ounce of warm milk every hour or so trying to get her warm on the inside and the outside. Around 9:00 p.m. she started trying to get up on her own and by 10:00 she had taken three ounces so we decided to move her to the cellar with George.
Thankfully both calves are doing well. George has been a little rough on Prissy and stepped on her the first night they were together and she limps from her left front leg but we’re hoping time and some loving care will fix that. She’s a lot smaller than he is coming in at around 45-50 pounds and Eddie says George weighs over 75 pounds.
Here’s some more pics of them from the last two weeks and I’ll update their growth and shenanigans as time goes on.
Just to let you know how I feed them, we buy powdered calf milk that is medicated and high in protein and feed them two quarts every eight hours. The powdered milk is mixed with water and the first couple of feedings they are given colostrum to get the immune system going that they couldn’t get from their natural mom. At three to four weeks, we start introducing them to the small grains.
The farm is always busy but the last three weeks have been quite busy. My chickens had almost completely quit laying but now the eggs are pouring out of them. We’re getting 18-22 eggs a day and two of my ladies are starting to show broody signs. It’s just too cold to set these ladies yet so I think I’ll give them until the first weekend in April to put eggs of my choice under them.
I had thought about buying some babies in mid-April or May but then decided if I’ve got broody hens that won’t give me eggs, I’ll put them to work hatching me some new layers.
Then maple syrup season came on us and last weekend we made 45 pints of the golden nectar. The weather was such a hit and miss thing that we didn’t invite a lot of people to join us but our daughter had some of her clients come in to see the process. It was very, very windy the day of the cook-off.
AND, the babies are arriving and they are so adorable. The calves seem a little on the small size this year but that’s fine. They grow so fast and smaller calves are definitely easier on the mothers. Here’s a few of our recent arrivals:
And of course, keeping the driveway clear of ice and snow and feeding the cattle has been a chore, not to mention keeping firewood on the front porch to feed the stoves.
It is so blasted cold and blustery today. It snowed for about 20 minutes this morning and then it got hazy and black looking and now the sun is shining. The weather is crazy!! I noticed yesterday that the allium, iris and sedum have peeped through the ground and some daffodils and Easter lilies but it’s calling for more winter sleet/snow by Tuesday again. I so want spring!!!
Inside my house though, things are blooming so pretty and very out of season.
It might be nasty and cold outside but I do have a little spring season in the house. It helps keep away the winter blahs!!
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:
Birds are feeding heavily. They know it’s going to get bad.
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!!
Spring weather-gotta love it!! This morning the weather forecast called for sleet changing to rain for the day and rain ending in the morning. Well folks, they got it wrong again! It started pouring down snow sometime around 2:00, I think (no windows in my office). At 3:45 I thought I had better get home ( I get off at 4:00 each day) and by the time I closed down the computer, cleared off my desk, locked up the files and got my coat on it was 4:00. My drive home usually takes 40-45 minutes depending on traffic. This afternoon it took one hour and 35 minutes and here’s what my drive home looked like, no words or captions needed and a 10 mph -15 mph ride home:
Simmonsville turn straight ahead-slow down to five miles an hour and get through the turn!
The big red barn and my driveway are within eyesight now!!
I sure am glad I made it without any mishaps and the snow is still pouring. It sure is great to be home!!!!!!!!!!!
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.
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.