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.
Our first major storm of the winter 2021-2022 and it’s over but for the nasty wind and the snow drifts. We ended up with about 7-8 inches but hard to tell because of the drifts.
This morning we are waiting on the wind to die a little before feeding the cattle because the snow would just drift over it before they could eat. They were fed heavy yesterday and their water comes from flowing mountain springs. We’re very thankful there are no calves to be born for at least another two months.
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!!
I spent a lot of my down time during the winter months browsing seed catalogs. Hubby bought me a greenhouse for Christmas and my mouth was watering going through every catalog that came in.
These are only the top ones that I perused every night while watching TV. I was so anxious to pop the first seed in the ground.
The weather put a big delay on putting up the greenhouse and then the Covid-19 delayed orders. You would think this would have delayed the garden but I know that nothing is put in the garden around here until late May and early June. Hubby and the kids got the greenhouse erected but rain, ice, and cold winds prevented much from growing because the greenhouse is not heated, nor does it have electricity. BUT it has been so much fun digging in the dirt and planting cold weather seeds.
The seed catalogs are still coming in and I’ve found more to send for. This will give me many months of pleasure planning and saving for next year. I started a diary that I keep records of everything that has to do with the greenhouse.
More pictures and posts on the greenhouse, flowerbeds and garden after the weather turns sunny!!
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!!
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!!!
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!
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.