Snow Scenes

It has been snowing off and mostly on here for the past five days.  Not exactly the weather we expected for the first of March, but beautiful nevertheless.  In between feeding and watering all the animals – which takes a lot longer in the snow by the way –  I’ve been snapping pictures.

The branches of this pine tree in Marjorie’s yard were hanging low with the snow.

Grizzly and Molly have enjoyed frolicking in the snow.

The pigs with no names are still in their pen in the woods.  And our pig hut made out of leftovers seems to be working quite well and apparently was engineered correctly to withstand the snow load since the roof hasn’t caved in.

My whiskey barrel planter looks like a giant frosted cupcake.

I spotted this little robin sitting patiently in the snow laden tree waiting for spring.

What looks like a snow pup tent is actually our strawberry bed.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen blue skies.

The kitties have surprised us with how little the snow seems to bother them.  Miss Bess is doing her usual routine of walking the top of the fence and taunting the dogs down below.

I love the look of this old trailer.  I can just picture the Clydesdales pulling it through the snow.

The snow makes some interesting patterns on the top of the fence.

Our buildings covered in snow.  A serene, peaceful setting.

Bed & Breakfast

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from a very nice gentleman who kindly inquired if he could make a reservation at our Ranch Bed &  Breakfast.  Since we don’t have a Ranch B & B that didn’t work out so well.  

The more I thought about it, the more it made me laugh.  Rick and I have been privileged to stay at some wonderful B & B’s over the years, like the one above.  Katy’s Inn in La Conner, Washington.  Lovely, elegant homes with charming accommodations and gourmet food prepared by truly inspired chefs and served in beautiful, artistic presentations.  And after the meal the gracious hosts have taken time to discuss our plans and preferences and offer thoughtful suggestions on the local attractions which would suit us best.  I really don’t think we qualify.  Let me illustrate the activities we have for our guests.  

 Brandon dug rocks while Megan leaned on a shovel.

Larry helped stretch the wire on the fence, and then nailed it all in place as he is able to hammer with his left hand too.

Nick helped build the fence around the dog pen.

Alex helped his dad put up trim in the shed.

Megan backed up the lawn tractor so she could unload the firewood.

Young or old it doesn’t matter, we put them all to work.  Here Grandpa Russell is raking rocks in the orchard while Molly looks on. 

 

Brandon digging more rocks and now Megan has disappeared completely. I think maybe there is a theme with the rocks?

Larry changing out the ceiling fan – he’s also an electrical engineer.  It helps to have skilled friends.

Nephew Nick hauling a piece of heavy lumber.

Alex stacking more firewood.

I think you get the idea; it’s not all fun and games here.  There is work to be done and we are happy to have our guests help to do it.  Some people are just exhausted – Katie had to catch a nap before dinner.

 

Speaking of dinner, our friends have enjoyed some wonderful, delicious meals.  Mostly ones they have provided and prepared themselves.  The shish kabobs Karla made for us were as tasty as they were colorful.

And we also threw a few shrimp on the fire.

Grandma Mary Lou also cooked dinner at the fire pit. 

Some of our guests are not that ambitious.  Here is Nick’s idea of a great lunch.

The accommodations vary as well.  Some of our guests have enjoyed beautiful, luxurious even, “all the comforts of home” places to stay. 

Those were the lodgings the guests brought with them.  The accommodations we provide are a bit more rustic. 

I think sleeping bags on air mattresses (only one of which will stay aired up all night)  in the loft over the chicken coop with no ” indoor facilities” could be described as rustic – don’t you?  The view is incredible though, and I put up cheesecloth so the mosquitos wouldn’t be too thick inside.  Since we got the cats the mice population has decreased quite a bit too.   

And last but not least, we don’t require all our guests to dig holes in the rocks.  Some we allow to haul water to our plants out front, which is what Erynn and Hannah were doing with the garden tractor. 

And afterward we gave them a ride in our deluxe ranch vehicle – in the back of course.  If we had known Bruce was a Kansas alum we wouldn’t have even let him sit in the back.  Notice he’s trying to cover up our Texas A & M logo?  Shame on you Bruce – Go Aggies!

 So, I think the local Bed & Breakfasts are pretty safe from competition from us.  However, if you’re interested in very rustic accommodations, bringing and cooking your own food (and some for us too, of course) and you like to dig post holes in ground with lots of rocks, or build fence or have some other skill that matches one of the many projects on our list, let us know!  We’d love to have you.

One More Day

As we were feeding the cattle yesterday evening the sky looked ominous.

And when we woke up this morning we saw that the predicted storm had indeed arrived and fresh snow was on the ground and in the trees.

About eight inches of new snow on the ground, which Grizzly and Molly thoroughly enjoy.

The cattle really don’t seem to concerned – as long as they get their fresh hay.

The pigs who still need names didn’t seem to mind the snow too much either – as long as they get their feed.  I think there is a theme here.  I would show you pictures of the chickens and cats in snow but they don’t go outside on days like today.

The fresh powder made some interesting patterns on our garden fence.  It kind of reminds me of lace.

It has been quite a dramatic change in the weather in the past three days.  Not really what I would have chosen, but who gets to choose the weather?  So, as I type this post with the generator humming in the background (the power is out – probably for quite a while) I think this is a perfect day to curl up in front of the wood stove with a good book.

And just enjoy it.

One Day

Here are some pictures I took yesterday. It was a beautiful day and the cattle were basking in the warmth of the sunshine. 

The sky was a lovely cerulean blue with puffy white clouds and I had to find my sunglasses for the first time in months.

Everyone was enjoying the opportunity to do something outdoors in the warmth.  Bess was Queen of the Hill lounging between two rocks.

Rick was driving our favorite neighbor Roger’s tractor spreading some of the leftover wood chips on the road.

The pigs – no we still haven’t named them; I’m thinking Pork Chop and ___________?- were rooting around and doing whatever it is pigs do.  

Since it was so nice outside, we let the chickens out of their free range orchard to scratch around in the grass.  Molly kept a close eye on them; Molly keeps a pretty close eye on everything that goes on around here.

Even the mud puddles reflected the sunshine.   

It was a beautiful, sunny day that made you think spring couldn’t be too far off.

That was yesterday.  This is what it looks like today.

 

Yes, that is fresh snow falling on top of the four inches or so we got overnight.

What happened to the early spring that was predicted by Punxsutawney Phil?  I don’t think that little rodent (I assume groundhogs are rodents?  And what exactly is a groundhog anyway?) is too accurate.  So I checked the  weather forecast online and they say we may have snow for the next couple of days, and the low on Thursday will be 11 degrees.  I think Punxsutawney Phil should be fired.   And I’m ready to have blue skies again.   

Thinning Trees

I’ve been asked “aren’t you sad to cut down all your trees?”  If we had cut down all our trees I would be very sad, but we did not  – and we never plan to do that.  We love our woods, and I am happy to tell you we have lots of trees and they are healthier than before.  This is the woods before thinning; too many trees too close together.  Too much competition for nutrients, not enough light or room for them to grow well.

This is the woods after thinning.  Still lots of trees; with less competition for soil nutrients, and enough room and light to grow.

Many of the trees before reminded me of my garden last year when I dropped the open seed packet and ended up with my carrot seeds too close.  Way too crowded and all on top of each other. So they selected the too-crowded trees and took them out to allow the others to grow healthy and strong.

We love our trees; and our woods is a beautiful and peaceful place.  

Leftovers

For all those of you who couldn’t sleep the past couple of nights wondering if the pigs were still in their pen, you can rest easy now.  No escaped porkers. 

We do however have rain in the forecast for the next seven days – which is as far out as our forecast goes – so we decided we had better get the pig shelter done today.  I’m sure you could probably buy a ready-made shelter somewhere, but that would cost money we would rather spend on something else, and we have lots of leftover building materials from our various projects so we knew we could come up with something that would work.  We took pallets and fitted together leftover pieces of OSB like jigsaw pieces. 

Nephew Nick screwed the pieces down and Rick trimmed the edges off.  

Grizzly helped out by sitting on Nick’s foot.  Just in case you think I’m getting a little absent-minded and put the same picture in two posts back to back (which could happen) not so (at least this time).  This is a different picture of Grizzly sitting on Nick’s foot.  Did I mention that Grizzly does that a lot?

So, after they got the sides and back built, Nick wheeled them over to the pig pen.  Aren’t we lucky to have a strong young man who is willing to help here visiting? 

The guys were very happy to get the shelter set up in the corner of the pig pen. 

We added some salvaged boards across the top and scraps of roofing and voila!  A pig shelter completely made of leftovers.  It didn’t take long for the hogs to check out their new abode and they seem to approve. 

Their favorite thing though is feeding time.