Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Walkabout 3-23

Spring arrived this week!

We actually got a bunch of outside work done!
nothing says SPRING like hauling buckets through the snow

Oh, but wait…I’m getting ahead of myself…

The wild weather ride that is March continues.

Rather than try (with absolutely no possibility of success) to NOT talk about the weather, I’m going to embrace it. The weather rules and that’s just the way it is.


view from greenhouse
On Monday it snowed AGAIN.

 Everything was covered in icicles and the snow was blowing furiously at choretime.  It was not the kind of day anyone would choose to be outside.  However, job one was to get the tomato seeds started. (yeah, kind of a test of faith considering the weather!) It’s not much fun working in the greenhouse when you first have to put on the whole winter wardrobe of boots, coveralls, gloves and hat!  The snow had settled heavily on the roof and it was fairly dark inside.  

But the tomato seeds got seeded and by Friday the first tiny plant was poking through the soil! Only 3 more months ‘til fresh tomatoes!
1st tomato seedling of 2014
Grow, little tomato plant, GROW!

Waylon's "snow cave"
March snows tend to be wet and heavy.  While this makes the scenery pretty, the trees, especially the white pines, don’t handle the weight too well.  Add in the incessant wind here on the hill and you have a recipe for disaster.  I noticed that Waylon had this little “snow cave” thing going when I fed him Monday morning. But, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought.
 It wasn’t until Wednesday that I realized that a lot of the branches had not returned to their normal position once the snow melted.  There were lots of broken branches and fallen limbs.  When they fell, they took out our electric fence wire and a lot of big branches landed on the woven wire fence that divides our property from the back neighbor.  A big clean-up job would be necessary.
some of the storm damage

It was Saturday before we got to the branches.  We hauled some hay in the morning and the Boss figured we could knock out the branch job before lunch.

Apparently, he thought I was exaggerating when I told him it was a big mess.  He kept saying “Gosh!  This is a big mess!  Look at all these branches!”  It looked like the damage following a hurricane.  

I hauled branches and he used his battery-powered Sawzall to trim the bigger limbs.  By the time both battery packs for the Sawzall were exhausted, it was time for lunch. But, we were nowhere near done. 

When we headed out after lunch, he took the chainsaw and we continued to clear the fenceline.  The decision was made to leave the branches in big piles in each paddock for a while.  The sheep will eat the leaves, the branches will dry (the sap makes them incredibly heavy) and then at some point we will have a gigantic bonfire. (I guess I better buy lots of marshmallows!)

Large limbs had been twisted right off the trees. Honestly, it was a little overwhelming.

 We did get the majority of the mess cleaned up and thankfully there was no damage to the neighbor’s fence. Our electric fence needs some minor repairs, but that’s pretty much the standard procedure in the spring time anyway. With that unexpected (and big) job completed, I think it’s safe to say the Spring Sprint has begun.

most of the branches cleaned up
leaving a shady place for the sheep to ruminate and lounge during summer grazing

St. Patricks’ day and the arrival of Spring make lots of folks think about potatoes.   Personally, I don’t need any special event to make me think about potatoes…they are one of my favorite foods! So very versatile!  …and delicious! We made our annual roadtrip to Hburg to pick up the seed potatoes and some onion sets so that we could get on the spud planting as soon as possible (not really, I think we planned on April first or second…) This trip is essentially the same every single year.  Here, read  this one.

One variety hadn’t yet arrived, so I’m not sure where we will source that one this year. We did check a couple other places, but they didn’t have them either. I’m sure we’ll figure out something…can’t go without taters! 

We took advantage of the delightful weather on Thursday (and Friday) and did a lot of work in the hoophouses.  

Despite a frosty start, the houses warmed nicely and the Boss actually rolled up the sides while he worked!

He weeded, tilled and pulled out more dead stuff.  I planted lettuce, chard, kale, radishes and turnips. Even though I planted a lot of stuff, I haven’t made a real dent in the transplants in the greenhouse.  One more weather event to get through (cold and snow AGAIN) and I can get back to setting out the transplants.  I have to…the greenhouses are full to capacity! (and we need to start seeds again this week)

chard transplants
the color goes clear through the roots!

It felt SO good to dig in the dirt once more!  It seems like forever since we were actually able to work “outdoors”.  (I cannot wait until the true warmth and work of summer) Some of the  hoophouse crops survived the winter cold, but our offerings will be greatly diminished the first few weeks of the Market. (total bummer) We should be in full swing before the end of April, though.  (assuming I can get the rest of the transplants in the ground in the upcoming week)
manicurist's nightmare

newly planted lettuce

It’s always surprising to note how quickly the grass greens after the snows melt.  
Monday morning

Friday afternoon

All we need is a week or so of real Spring weather and we can turn the sheep out on the grass once more.  That’s a very good thing because even the hay guy is running low on hay! We hauled just a little bit of hay this week and hope that will be the last load of the year. The sheep are getting more than a little cranky.  It’s as if they can smell the greening of the pastures and feel slighted because I am keeping it from them.

Today, we’re back in rain/snow mode, so we’ll do some inside work and the planning/organizing for the upcoming week.  There’s one more snow event and some serious cold predicted for the mid-week, and then the weatherman promises that the weather will moderate.  We’ll see.  I truly hope so.  We’re supposed to seed cucumbers this week! (among other things) …and the broccoli/cauliflower/cabbages need to be “hardened off” so we can get them in the ground soon.

Yep, the “to-do” list is growing exponentially!  It is definitely SPRING!

Take some time to enjoy the day...

                       ...smell the flowers…

...and have a very…

                                         Happy Sunday!

Thanks for reading!  

Hope y’all come back for a visit again soon.


  1. Hi Barbara,
    Such beautiful hands, especially knowing the loving work they do. When I worked in the ICU years ago, my patients often said I had loving hands. I would always say it was my mother's touch they were feeling. And I am so glad I TOLD her this before she died -in 1986. She never though her life amounted to much.
    Like the icicle shot! Sincerely hope that we don't get the "snow bomb" they are talking about for Tuesday night. Just what you and we need -more wet snow! Whippee!
    As always, loving your Sunday Walkabout, m

    1. Hi Maureen!
      Thanks for commenting.
      Think warm thoughts and send that "snow bomb" out to sea. I really, really need it to be SPRING!

  2. Phew! I'm pooped just reading about all of that. Your flock
    certainly looks impressive.