Tag Archives: weather

Winter is certainly here!

But, it took a long time to arrive.

I timed my final harvest of carrots down to about the last possible second.

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This was the first week of December and the ground hadn’t yet frozen.  If I had gotten to this job just a day or two earlier, it would not have involved snow.

As you can see, the chickens have been moved into their winter quarters inside the garden fence where I can run an extension cord to plug their coop in for supplemental light and a heated water dish.

The garlic seed is snugly tucked into the ground and poultry net has been strung around the garlic beds in case the chickens get over exuberant.

At this point, the sheep were still getting most of their nutrition from grazing.  As you can see here, the lawn was still quite green.  Plenty of forage was available in most of the pasture.  This is really remarkable.  Often, by mid October I am feeding hay because there is no forage left, but this year it just kept right on growing until it got covered with snow in early December.

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I take pasture photos at 6 standard locations on the first of each month as a form of research and record keeping.  This was the 12/1/16 photo of Paddock 1.

Today, we are experiencing a real winter deep freeze.  The benefit of weather so cold that I’m reluctant to step outside is that I do finally get around to the paperwork and computer projects that had been languishing when I was working on outside projects.

I’m very pleased to have finally made a bunch of updates to my little online store.  Have a look: https://squareup.com/store/autumn-larch-farm-llc.  There you will find soaps, sheepskins, raw fleeces, roving, yarn and more.

If you live nearby, save the postage and contact us to set up a time to stop in and do your shopping in person.  If you live farther away, this little online store is a great option for having a look at the products available and getting them delivered right to your door via USPS.

Stay warm and enjoy the vibrant sunshine that usually comes with the bitter cold.

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, gardening, Getting Organized, Research, Seasons, Sheep

Photos for research and record keeping

Back in 2012, I decided to take pictures once each month from 6 positions on our pasture as a record.  I was hoping to be able to document improvements in the pasture forage quality.  I think some of that is happening.  It has also been interesting to see how differently a pasture can look on the same day from one year to the next.

I have included May 1st and October 1st here, from one vantage point and through multiple years.  Both of those dates can be quite different depending on the amount of warmth, rain, snow, etc.

May 2012 illustrates the early and warm spring that we experienced that year.  May 2014 shows how long it took to recover from the ‘polar vortex’.  Rain was obviously plentiful in the early fall of 2014.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Research, Seasons

Winter too soon

Fortunately this young fella is well equipped for the winter that started here with a vengeance on Nov. 10th.  We all know wool keeps you warm even when it is wet.  With the snow, then rain, then snow again that occurred during that first winter storm, our sheep had snowballs frozen to their backs that rattled when they moved.  With shelter from the wind and plenty of feed, they are faring well.  The current predictions of a warm up with a little sunshine are welcomed by all of us.ram lamb 11_11_14

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Filed under Farm, Fiber Arts, Natural world, Seasons

Hay safely under cover… What a glorious feeling!

I’m learning that making hay is very stressful. Most of the stress has to do with moisture – rain, dew, humidity.

Because of moisture, I’ve added a new word to my vocabulary:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tedder

ted·der noun \ˈte-dər\

Definition of TEDDER: one that teds; specifically : a machine for stirring and spreading hay to hasten drying and curing

First Known Use of TEDDER: 15th century

I think of it as a “fluffer” for hay.  And, I was pleased to discover that there is one available in the neighborhood to rent because we had a bumper crop of clover this year.  Another thing I learned is that clover is loaded full of moisture and takes a really long time to dry.  Our hay might have molded if we hadn’t been able to use the tedder.

Raking hay after it is "fluffed" with a tedder is a challenge.

Raking hay after it is “fluffed” with a tedder is a challenge.

Rain held off!

Rain held off!

Well cured hay smells...Delicious!

Well cured hay smells…Delicious!

A rare sight: Farmer Jane on steel

A rare sight: Farmer Jane on steel

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Filed under Farm, Seasons

Winter wonders

Winter wonders

All over the world, the positive side of the ‘polar vortex’ has been expressed by reporting on the ice caves near Bayfield, WI. We, like so many others, managed to sneak away for a visit there to drink in the beauty and awe inspiring formations.

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February 19, 2014 · 6:26 pm

Chicken tractor in summer

Chicken tractor in summer

Here is the mystery structure, sheltering its summer group of meat birds. Right now, it is hard to visualize that season.

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February 19, 2014 · 6:24 pm

Any ideas yet?

Any ideas yet?

Winter came so early back in November, that we didn’t get these structures moved into their sheltered winter location in the spruce grove.

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February 19, 2014 · 6:15 pm

What is that under the snow?

What is that under the snow?

More snow is expected tomorrow, but we’re feeling quite satisfied with the amount we currently have. What do you suppose I have lost under the snow? The next photo will give a bit of a clue and the one after that will show you exactly what it is.

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February 19, 2014 · 6:11 pm

Playing in the mud

I must preface this post by saying I really have nothing to complain about, when you compare our weather situation to the devastation that has occurred in many parts of the world.  We have not suffered from wild fires, mud slides or tornadoes.

I’m still going to complain, though.  This has been a trying year.  I’ve been speculating that our new weather/climate pattern is: Frozen Tundra; Standing Water; Scorched Earth.  We’ve experienced variations on this theme for a number of years now.

We are currently in a glorious weather pattern.  Some might complain that it is too dry, but on our heavy ground, the .2″ or .3″ we have gotten here and there have been enough to keep the pastures convinced that they should grow rather than go dormant.  And, it has been enough to fill the rain barrels so I can water the hoophouse and seed beds with rain water, rather than from the well.

But, this spring was far from glorious.  We had standing water in places where I have never seen it stand before.  And, the earth was saturated so continuously by new rains, that even the garlic which was planted in my highest garden beds suffered.  I’m just beginning to harvest that now, and I’m hoping to have sufficient harvest to save for seed to plant in October.  If I have a bit extra to use and to sell, I’ll be surprised.

The “playing in the mud” refers to my many unsuccessful attempts to prepare garden beds for planting.  This year my planting window was July.  I’m very hopeful that we have a long, mild fall so that the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beets have sufficient time to mature.

I am more grateful for my hoophouse than ever!  While it was still very wet in there in the spring, at least the new rainfalls were not landing directly on those beds and I was able to start seeds there for melons, squash, beans, onions, leeks, flowers and greens.  All of those plants did get alarmingly large before I was able to prepare the beds in the rest of the garden to receive them as transplants, but it did eventually happen with fairly decent success.

Big beans in the wrong place

Big beans in the wrong place

I looked for pictures to illustrate the wet, muddy, weedy mess my garden was this spring, but it appears I couldn’t bear to document it.

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Filed under Farm, Natural world, Seasons, Uncategorized