Proof of spring and early summer!
Lavender & purple Iris
Can you tell I absolutely love peonies and have them all over the yard!?
Rose of Sharon started from seed from our old homeplace on Johns’ Creek.
Lilac bush from my daughter to be planted. I’m making sure I choose just the right spot.
Beige & peach Iris
Two year old rose
Old fashioned rose
And of course, where would we be without our wonderful honeybees pollinating everything.
This is what is blooming at our house right now, the last day of May!!!
Last week we had a visitor during the night that tore down some fence along the main road and left the scene. The field where the fencing was damaged held 30+ weanling calves and Miracle. Our neighboring farm manager came to visit to let us know about it on a very foggy cold morning and luckily the calves were on the opposite side of the field. The driver did the damage and ran leaving what could have been a very dangerous situation especially for people going to work that morning and the bus full of kids going to school if the calves had got in the road. It was so foggy that morning that we could not see more than 10 yards in front of us but thankfully it only took about 30 minutes to repair.
We had just paid a fencing company to build this stretch of fencing in January due to the urgency of getting the calves in a secure field away from their mama’s while we waited for the right time to sale. The mama’s needed a couple months of recuperating before their new babies arrived this month.
The bottom two strands were broken and it would have been very easy for the 30+ weanlings to have gotten in the road and caused a more dangerous situation.
This was new fence that we paid to have put in along the highway.
The new post wasn’t broken off but the wiring was knocked off of it.
These are the tracks of the vehicle where it went into the field and back out. Hubby is sure it was a car instead of a pickup or more wires would have been broken.
The insulating tubes were shredded on the bottom and fence tore off at the end of the tubes.
More tracks along the road leading to the broken fence shows that the driver went out of the road on the wrong side, over-corrected as he went back on the asphalt and went back on the wrong side and into the fence and field. This is where we found the broken antennae from the car and some amber light fixture fragments.
Black marks on the road in front of the field.
Skid marks heading to the broken fence.
Skid marks in the grass.
Broken fence wire hanging from the posts.
We were upset the fence was torn down but more upset thinking about what could have been a more disastrous situation. I would hope that if it ever happens again that the driver would have the common courtesy of letting us know as soon as it happens!!
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 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.
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.
The feeder is full of scratch feed and peanuts.
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!!
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!!
This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.
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.
My wood pile is disappearing and I’m the only one using it!
Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!
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!!!
Posted in Animals, Farming, WEATHER
Tagged animals, clouds, firewood, ice, Robin Reed, snow, sun, weather, wind
The porch is covered with dried firewood.
The yard is covered with leaves.
The perennials are black, wilted and almost gone.
The trees are getting bare.
Fall colors on the farm before the first freeze.
Fall colors are red and golden one day.
Apple trees are leaf bare with a few red apples left hanging.
The flower beds are empty.
The trumpet vine covering the gazebo is no longer green.
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!!
Storms and scattered showers in early summer are a farmers heartbreak!
Clouds forming again!
Storm coming down the valley.
It’s now the end of June and we’ve only got two small fields of hay down and rolled.
On Father’s Day Eddie put down the first two small meadows of hay and stopped for fear of impending storms again in two days. On Monday he flipped it and let it dry, Heather raked it and Eddie got it rolled.
First round to go down in 2015 on Father’s Day!
It took about an hour and you could tell from the tractor tires that the ground was wet. It would take a strong sun and some wind to get it dry.
Last round in field one.
Mother Nature was kind with only a light shower during the night, hot sun and windy on Monday. After lunch the two rushed to make hay and officially start the summer work.
They rolled up 27 bales on this small space that usually produces twenty 4×5 bales. Wednesday the other meadow went up and now it’s all baled, off the field and stacked tightly end to end along the driveway fence. It’s a start but we’ve got a long way to go and looks like tomorrow and Monday of this coming will be the only chance they’ll get another area down and rolled.
Mother Nature hopefully will be kind!
Definition: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.
In the Epistle of James, the Bible urges Christians to be patient, and ” see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,…until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7-11, NAB).
I’m patiently waiting for spring and the first sign of spring on our farm is this little bird.
One problem, I don’t have the patience I used to have!!
Posted in CHANGES, Family, Farming, Seasons
Tagged answers, emotions, farming, patience, professional help, time, tolerance, weather
Potatoes cut and ready to plant
We got all the seed and garden had been plowed and ready to work down. Now the weather channels are calling for a hard frost tomorrow night and chilly temps tonight. I brought in all of the flowers and herbs I potted last weekend and pulled what I could under the covered front porch. I went to my little green house this evening and put up heat lamps and on the way back to the house was admiring all of the tiny little fruit on all of the apple and plum trees. The peach and pear trees are also full and the aspargus was all pulled to keep it from freezing. I am so ready for warm weather!!
Hubby has been working on fences again in the last week and he tore out the east end fence around our garden because it was about to fall down.
tractor tires used for garlic, strawberries and rhubarb
fencing between yard and garden
He decided that the fence didn’t keep out the deer so he would not replace it. We have now moved the large tire planters to the south garden fence and will plant fruit trees along the yard where the fence used to be. We currently have three pear trees along this line, two grape vines and a blue plum. On the North end of the garden we’ve planted three peach trees and cut down an old plum tree that died. I want to put in two more peach trees on that North end, two more plum trees out the fence line and plant two or three cherry trees in the yard close to the pond. All of the apple trees that used to be there except one have died and been taken out. These trees we replace will all be of the semi-dwarf size except maybe the cherry because of the space and closeness to the garden. We don’t want the shade from the trees to shade the garden from the morning sun. Hopefully hubby and I will be around when they start bearing fruit.
The apple tree rootstock we planted last year have all survived the winter, rabbits and deer and it’s now time to graft them. We think moving our hound dogs to the apple orchard have saved our new trees from the ravages of the wildlife. We just hope the wildlife doesn’t realize the dogs can’t reach them as long as they are chained.
Space between yard and garden cleared of fencing
Freshly plowed garden lot
Tire planters moved to new area
Strawberries starting to green up.
Garlic coming up. Love that stuff!!
Rhubarb coming in but frost burnt the leaves badly. I’ll clip the leaves and start fresh after this weeks frost pass.
Quince tree in south west corner of garden.
Pear trees sprouting.
We try very hard to replace our fruit trees as the old one’s die which hasn’t been done for many years. We want the future family members to have plenty of these crops on hand for their use well after we are gone! If we don’t take care of the future generations, who will??
Posted in Fencing, Gardening, Orchards
Tagged changes, garden, garlic, grapes, peach, pear, plum, quince, rhubarb, seasons, spring, strawberries, tire planters, weather
Winter blahs and some family issues have caused me to backslide and lose my willpower to get this weight off. I knew I was backsliding when I gained a pound last month and quit keeping my food log. I tried to pump myself up by buying an exercise mat, a couple videos to dance with, some weights and made a large poster board of pictures of the exercises I needed to do get rid of the inner tube that is supposed to be my waist.
Dance/exercise videos to help me work off the weight.
Exercise mat and weights.
Treadmill to use when it’s too cold to get outside and walk.
When I get home from work in the evenings I’m wasted. All I want to do is sit in my recliner and put recipes on index cards, read magazines or my book, or sleep while watching the television!! I just feel worthless!!
I go back to visit my weight coach tomorrow and hope she’ll have some advise and wisdom to get me back on track. I sure would like to lose another ten pounds by summer. I started out at 187 (I think) in September and I just can’t get down past that 170 mark and am terribly afraid I’ve gained this month. Of course, making desserts and mac & cheese on the weekends doesn’t help either. BUT, in my defense, I still do not eat after 7:00 in the evening! I guess it’s time to pull up my “big-girl panties” and get back on track regardless of the weather!!
This winter has been much, much colder than normal for Virginia, I think. I can’t remember having a whole week of negative temperatures in our area. We haven’t had an abundance of snow like I thought we would have (knock on wood) but the wind and cold temperatures have taken a toll.
Two weeks ago we lost one of my favorite cows. She was a fifth generation cow raised on the farm and though she was a headache until she had her first calf. She was kept for breeding stock along with six other heifers and would lead those other girls through every hole in the fences or make her own wherever and when ever she wanted. Hubby threatened to send her to market so many times.
Grace and her calf grazing.
Grace with her first calf to survive.
Grace with the herd.
She lost her first two calves because her udders were so large. Her great, great, great, grandmother was a holstein dairy cow and they can sure produce some milk. All of her daughters were good milkers but Grace’s first two babies only lived about four days and we think starved because they couldn’t get the udders in their mouth and Grace was too unruly to pen up in a shed to milk. We had planned last year to send her to market with the fall calves but something happened and she never made it on the truck. She delivered a beautiful black angus heifer in early September but it took a toll on Grace. The calf was sucking her to death and she lost a lot of weight but kept that baby of hers well fed. During the big snow week before last, we think one of the other cows may have butted her down and she couldn’t get back up and froze during the night. Hubby found her the next morning. That’s the luck of farming beef cattle! Just when you think you might get two steps ahead of the game, your forced to take three steps back!
Posted in Animals, Farming
Tagged beef cattle, calf, calves, cows, farming, froze, Grace, heifers, snow storm, weather
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!
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!
Bird and squirrel feeders are full.
Birds are feeding heavily. They know it’s going to get bad.
Ground covered good with about 2 inches.
Snow accumulation just after dark.
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.
Here’s what we woke up to yesterday morning:
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.
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!!
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
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!!
We’ve been so busy the last few weeks and it seems like months since I last blogged and I’m trying to make up for lost time tonight. Bear with me and I promise you’ll understand before this weekend is over.
We have three apple orchards on our farm and all used to be full of old timey apples. Time, neglect and the weather have really been hard on the trees. Each fall we try to have a Sunday Cider Fest and decided if we didn’t do something about replenishing the trees that have died or been uprooted by the wind that we would have to start buying apples to continue the tradition.
We’ve replaced about 10 trees in the last two years and I’ve been trying my hand at grafting with not much success. I think the problem was trying to graft to trees that were not in the ground and established. Two years ago I started taking classes offered by the county extension office to learn how to graft. At each class I’ve obtained 10-15 apple root stocks for semi-dwarf trees.
Since I haven’t had much luck with the grafting, Hubby and I decided I need to make sure the root stock was going to live. When I got the root stock it was bare root and it was too much stress on the grafts competing with the trees trying to get established. We put all of the stock in large pots with fertilized soil and made sure they got plenty of water throughout the summer. We did this for two summers and during the winter took the trees (30 trees) into the mansion basement to keep the winter wind from beating them out of the pots.
Potted apple root stock in the sun but the board fence protected them from the summer winds.
Last month we started bringing them out for some daily sun and acclimating them to the cooler weather. Last weekend we planted the first 15 in the orchard at the west barn.
Hubby used the post hole digger on the tractor to drill the holes and then we had some heavy rains which was great for getting the water to settle the holes and get the water down where the roots would need them.
We set out thirteen more yesterday afternoon and now we wait. Our biggest challenge will be the deer!! The trees that we set out last weekend have already felt the damage of deer. Each one of the trees lower limbs had been eaten off. To keep them from completing the damage we will have to make woven wire cages to go about two feet around and out from each tree. We tried the plastic pipe around them last year and the mice did the damage then. Apparently they thought the pipe was a good place to set up housekeeping and chewed the bark off at the base of the tree and killed them. So MICE and DEER are on my hit list at the moment!!
Posted in Animals, Farming, Hard work, Harvest, Orchards, Wildlife
Tagged animals, apples, deer, mice, mother nature, ROOTSTOCK, weather
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:
What I found in the parking lot after leaving work.
Most of the vehicles had at least two inches on them.
Half block from my parking lot.
Pouring down snow and can’t keep the windshield clear.
Traffic is at a stand still on Prices Fork Rd one block from the office. Took me 18 minutes to get one block.
Creeping up a side steet to get to Delimart-I have to get gas before I can head home.
NOw, I’m back on Prices Fork heading for my exit to home. I’t’s 4:30.
Newport and headed to Craig County!
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!!!!!!!!!!!