Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow D(el)ays

Listening to the radio Wednesday-Friday was less music and more a litany of closures.  We ended up getting about 18", which is fabulous.  Weather service says we got just over 1" of moisture.  And since the ground wasn't frozen pre-fall, it's soaking in nicely.

Although waking up Friday morning to 4' was a bit of a shock.

Friday a.m. : 4'F and sparkly

We didn't bother trying to get anything cleared until Friday.  It didn't stop snowing and blowing until late Thursday night, and the county didn't get the road plowed until sometime Friday afternoon anyway.  Thursday afternoon the snow was knee deep for a 1/4 mile in both directions.  Although once you got to the top of the hill in the wind, it was probably only 8 or 9". 

I know this because T called the cow neighbors and the horse neighbors Wednesday night to let them know that a) we'd water the cows, and b) if the road was impassible, we'd walk up and check on the horses and make sure they had water.  The cows were no big deal, but the horses required a 3/4 mile slog up the hill.

Knee-deep, but oh so pretty
Snowshoes would have been helpful.  But we made it and got the ice busted in the tank.  They have a round bale, so other than that they were good.  The gray mare was uninterested in visiting, but the sorrel gelding would have happily had us stay and scritch indefinitely.

They could hardly contain their excitement - lol!

By the time we got back the wind had switched and the flakes were getting bigger.  The horses were bouncing around, kicking up big puffs of it.

Snow ponies
Cat 1 attempted to venture out of the granary for his evening visit while I hayed the horses, took one leap, and sunk up to his ears.

See the ears? Not a happy cat.
He was very quick to return to shallower ground inside, and spent the next 15 minutes complaining at me from there.

Clearing the driveway Friday morning was entertaining from a spectator's standpoint.  Not so much - or at least less frequently - from T's.  I shoveled the front while T did battle with the driveway drifts in the bobcat.  The temps and the consistency of the snow made it really slick.  That blue cast to things is probably not entirely from the snow... I sweated more, but he did more cussing.  Never a good sign when I can hear him although way up the hill over the engine! 

At one point I thought he was going to take out either the fence or clip a power pole, but he's handier than I am, and all and sundry made it through unscathed.  Midway through, the cow neighbors appeared with their bobcat/blade and between them they got things cleaned up double time. 

Saturday warmed up considerably.  I did outside stuff to the tune of dripping and snow sliding and thumping off of tin roofs.

Snow calving off the granary roof
And I took my turn in the bobcat, cleaning out the turnaround at the mailbox.  At 32', the snow was getting heavy and wet, and the tires had a lot more traction.   I was very pleased not to be dealing with the slide factor!

They're predicting we might get another 8-12" over the next two days.  Woo-hoo!   

I don't think he wanted his picture taken...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

And then it SNOWED!

The smart horse is in the barn
Not sure whether Mother Nature decided to take pity on us or finally got tired of all the whining about how dry it is here but whichever, we're getting some precip.  It's hard to tell for sure because of all the drifting, but I'm guessing about 9" of snow so far. 

We didn't get quite as much overnight as they'd predicted, but it picked up with a vengeance about 9 AM, the flakes got fatter and fluffier, and for the last couple of hours the trees down by the creek have been invisible.  T called up the hill yesterday and let the cow folks know we'd water for them, and they reported they'd fed extra heavy yesterday so that if they couldn't get here today, the cows would be fine.  Good thing, too, as the plows haven't been out our way yet.

T declared us snowed in and called in to work.  We'll get the driveway bladed once it slows down some.  For now we're tucked in with plenty of hay, or hot chocolate, books and lap cats, depending on our respective locations.  Not a bad way to see out the storm.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Have you all discovered Pinterest?  I've been resisting adding one more "social" site to my list, but it finally sucked me in.  In the course of early morning browsing I ran across a pin that I just had to try - the original post is from Cranberry Morning, who dressed her wreath much more fashionably, but here's my version:

And I have no shortage of old barbwire!

The DIYs and recipe pics are just way too addictive.

It's been pretty quiet around here.  Still no rain.  Or snow.  South of us has had some rain.  North of us has had a fair amount of snow.

Other than the usual junk/metal runs this week, we tackled removing the old chicken wire off the rock chicken house in preparation for pulling it down.

You can't see the wire in the photo, but the boards form a framework for three sides and a top.  The wood was pretty rotten, but the wire was still in surprisingly good condition.

It was the original homestead house, but two of the walls have cracked so badly that it's become a hazard.  We'll leave the lower portion of the wall standing on the west and north as a retaining wall on the hill and put a flower garden in against it (the floor is dirt), and use the rest of the stone elsewhere.

Saturday we got the posts up for temporary fence around the open spot on the north side of the driveway.

Pasture to-be
I'll be able to put the horses out there for a bit every day until the big pasture's ready, and once they've nibbled it down we'll get it dragged and reseeded like the orchard.  They'd have been out on it yesterday, but I ran out of insulators, and wouldn't you know everybody else in the county must have had the same idea, because the only places open on a Saturday afternoon were out in both the two neighboring towns as well.  So, today I'll check at the Co-op. 

Yesterday we dug post holes and drove steel posts to fence off  the 10 acres we rented from the neighbor to the south.  The whole pasture is probably 30 acres or better, but it has oil wells and cattle guards.  I'm not too worried about the pumpers, as they're mostly fenced off.  But cattle guards and horses - not a good mix. 

They were willing to rent us just the stubby rectangle at east end and didn't mind if we put in a cross fence and a gate.  We'll also run electric around the other three sides to keep the ponies off the somewhat antique - but basically sturdy - barbwire.

We didn't get wire run, but the steel posts are in and the wood posts are in the holes but not set yet.  We have to bring up some dirt, because the top of the hill is gravel and rock starting about 3" down.  Which made for lots of fun digging holes, let me tell you.

I was bound and determined I wasn't going to post again until I'd gotten a ride in.   Which we planned to do yesterday afternoon after fencing.  But T's brother showed up as we drove into the yard, and he stayed for 2 hours, and then T's mom and a friend stopped by and ended up staying for supper...

So I grabbed 10 minutes on Sunny in the pasture while T and his brother talked shop.  Hey, it counts.  At least Sunny thought so.  Then I did laundry and made supper.

This morning's agenda was getting Friday's load of old boards and posts taken to the dump - it was closed for President's Day Saturday, which I didn't discover until I was there. And then I did the same thing this morning.   Grrr!  And then picking up insulators I need to get Saturday's fence finished up.  And of course the Co-op turned out to be closed, too.  Best laid plans, trampled all over by dead presidents.

Is is scary?  We're not sure...
When in doubt, run away in all directions

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Junk... And more of the same

New camera - panorama!
Haven't posted much lately, mostly because not much new has happened unless you count the latest appliance meltdown.  This time it's the dryer.  T just fixed the washer, so I guess it was jealous.  Or possibly just old - when I called to see about parts, after much debate over whether I was actually reading her the right number off the little silver metal tag, the GE hotline lady said, "Honey, that dryer has to be over 25 years old, because our database goes back that far, and that model number isn't in it."  Sigh...

We left our old one in SD, because it was old, too, but I guess not quite as "vintage" as the one that came with the house.  We've been hauling off the collection of old scrap and appliances to the metal recycling place.  [So far, I've counted 3 stoves, 1 fridge, a washer, a mixer, two irons, a coffee pot, and a bathtub... all we're missing is the kitchen sink!]  The washer went in the last load T took.  On the back in black marker it was dated 12-29-69.  I guess if the dryer is the same age, it's entitled to die.

We've been concentrating on cleaning out what the family has dubbed the Workshop so that T can get his tools put away properly.  It's a nice, big, tin-roofed, cement-floored barn-type building which apparently has become the place decrepit household stuff and "parts" ATVs have been stashed.  It's so nice that someone thought to provide homes for small rodent-type mammals

Remember these?
Of course, us cramming a bunch of crap out of the house that needed to be sorted before it went elsewhere(!) didn't help.  But we've been making progress.  Several more loads to the dump, and I got one whole half a workbench and cabinets cleaned out/off and sanded down yesterday.  Now if T's sister would just decide what she wants done with her piano....

There is some cool stuff tucked away in there.  An old table and some chairs that can be refinished, a really lovely, gilt-framed dressing mirror that's just begging for a good dusting and a spot in the house, and lots of odds and ends that make me wish I was one of the crafty people that can turn anything into the latest up-cycled junk to jewelry and what-have-you.

I loaded a bunch of old tin sheeting that had been stacked by the barn the other day.  The horses dozed through my dragging the 14-16' sheets over to the fence, sliding them under, and then squashing them as best I could to make them shorter.  It was not a quiet process.  While I went up to retrieve the truck they "discovered" the change and spent the next 10 minutes snorting at the stack of metal. 

They've been enjoying their winter vacation.  Probably a bit too much.  There's so much to be done that it eats into "fun" stuff time.  Feeding, de-mudding, barn cleaning all gets done, but not so much else.

This is the first time in... almost forever that Sunny hasn't had 24x7 free choice access to a bale, and he actually has a waist. 

Since the camera (used, ebay) arrived, and I've been figuring out buttons, settings, etc.  I love the 7x optical zoom. 

Otherwise, we're still enjoying unseasonably warm temps - sorry, to all of you currently enduring those Alberta clippers, but feel free to send us down some snow! - and praying for rain.