Thunder snow storm

December 26th, 2012

We knew there was snow on the way. Snow, in a big way the weather reports said. “Blizzard Conditions.” “Whiteouts.” Sounds fun!

When I got up this morning I could hear the howling of the wind and the barking of the dog. Tucker was just steadily bark-bark-bark. Not like he was telling a deer to buzz off or chasing a raccoon off. I opened the door and he pushed in as fast as he could. I could feel the cold wind and flakes of snow even on the porch.

The house was dark and cold. Usually in the mornings here and an anomaly of heating with a wood stove – they can only hold so much wood. Staggering around in a sleepy state gathering kindling and setting the fire base to light I saw a flash. My first thought was the transformer down the road, but the house lights didn’t flicker. Then I heard the low rumble of thunder. I stood up and looked through the window into the darkness outside. I could see big flakes of snow whizzing by on a very horizontal path just outside the window. Then I saw it again. Lightning! The flashes popped here and there for a brief second just like a summer storm. Distant and to the south but lightning and thunder all the same.

Looking at the online weather radar I could see a thin line of freezing rain and a bright yellow mass below just south of Bedrock (Bedford). We’ve apparently been just north of the line where the rain turns to snow and have been all night. There is easily eight inches on the ground already and it shows no sign of letting up. It’s 31º so the snow is wet and heavy. Should be big branches and perhaps whole trees cracking under the weight.

I got the chickens and turkeys set up with food and water inside their coops. I know they are not coming out anytime soon. Should be very aromatic in there by days end…The cats and dog are all curled up by the wood stove. Linda’s planning a big pot of potato soup and Dee and Dean are tromping over this afternoon to share with us. Good time to stay on the creek, keep the fire hot and share good times with friends upstream.

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We finally got some snow.

December 23rd, 2012

We finally got some snow. An inch or so on the back of a day of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms in December? That’s what it’s like the last few years. Unusually warm temperatures build to a humidity that pops a thunderstorm. Sound like August? The cold fronts that follow bring more normal temperatures for a day or so. Then the build up begins again. Although it does look like a more normal week ahead.

We finally saw some deer yesterday. Hauling ass north to Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, where there is no hunting. I’ve all but hung up my muzzle-loader this year. The day after the snow I walked for a couple hours and only saw one set of deer tracks.

There are just too many people with guns looking for a deer to put in the freezer. In addition to the local yahoo’s, like me, I think every uncle, cousin and long lost brother shows up to hunt. We may be at the edge of vast State Forest’s and National Wilderness areas, where strict hunting governance is enforced, but down here in our valley that governance is missing. I guess that’s because there is private land mixed in. By the carcasses we’ve seen at the end of the road many people who kill a deer just cut out the back-straps and back legs leaving the rest to the coyote’s. Despicable…

What this does is nearly completely flush all the deer out of the area in short order. If you don’t get one in the first week out here chances are slim you’ll not see anymore this season. It also provides us with a larger than normal coyote population. While they leave us, people, alone the cats, chickens and other smaller livestock are then under greater pressure.

I digress, we have a bit of snow on the ground and that’s a fun thing!

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It’s what’s for lunch

December 19th, 2012


Today I picked my first small batch of Spinach – one of my all time favorites! Also on today’s lunch menu was chicken soup and a hunk of Mozzarella. Guess where I got he chicken from? Slow cooked on the wood stove with only onion and garlic added. I might have added some frozen Swiss Chard but figured I’d be eating something green from the garden – in December?

The unusually warm weather in concert with this years new low-tunnels have the winter greens growing faster than I expected. Although last years Spinach started coming in early too this year I have a boat load growing. The Swiss Chard may have slowed new growth to a crawl but the new leaves are rich in color and texture. They’re so crinkly! There is still Dinosaur Kale that is out in the elements but it holds up better until the temp falls into the teens and stays there.

Winter Solstice is Friday – Yea! Now the day light hours will start to get longer and plants will awaken some. Its still cold, not the normal cold, so it’s hard to plan early garden starts timing. If I start things early, thinking we’ll have another dud of a later winter, and get them out too soon I could get kicked by a late spring frost. That’s what happened last year and why our fruit trees and grapes didn’t do well. They all flowered early in the unusual warmth and then a seemingly normal cold snap hit mid April and killed a good percentage of the blossoms.

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December 14th, 2012

Steven, Karla and Teddy came for a visit. It was Teddy’s first time out to KCF. He was just adopted last weekend from the local shelter. I applaud the kids choice to not get a cute little puppy like most folks do. They picked a cute little six year old. Teddy is a very calm dog. Tucker was actually a bit scared at first but they were romping all over together when we went for a walk.

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Good weather for a walk down Knob Creek Road.

December 12th, 2012

Finally, a cool December day. There is something about a crisp cool sunny day after many days of grey. Got to love that sun!

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There is a real nice spread I’ve longed for for ever since we moved here.

December 11th, 2012

There is a real nice spread in the Guthrey Bottoms area that I’ve longed for for ever since we moved here. More gently rolling hills than or area which is just five miles away. Here, the hills are slowly giving way to the flat Guthrey Bottoms area. It’s a cattle farm with many different fields and some wonderful creeks. They do a good job rotating the cattle through the various fields at different times of the year. The actual homestead is now vacant but well maintained. The surviving son went off to Law School and is some kind of Lawyer up in Indianapolis so I hear.


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Rain’s a coming

December 10th, 2012

Monday morning – it’s been a long grey weekend. Not that I’m complaining. We are still so far behind on rain this year. It just seemed a grey comber Monday. Worthy of a hike up into our woods.

Even though we are only a 500-700 ft above sea level here in the mid-west we don’t have the West’s “Big Sky.” When low pressure moves in the clouds often lay on us like a cool blanket sometimes mixing with rain.

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The things we eat.

December 7th, 2012

It’s one thing to eye that big Tom and think about Christmas dinner but it’s quite another to pick a small but tasty head of lettuce in early December. Either it’s the unusually warm weather (or the new normal weather?) or the low tunnels I made this spring. Either way, I’m still picking a big bowl of greens every day.

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It’s a rainy grey Sunday.

December 3rd, 2012

It’s a rainy grey Sunday. Weekends are  the days I like to get stuff done. You know, the bigger projects and chores. Of course all the “stuff” is now wet. Oh well, we really needed the rain so no complaints – except it is in the 60’s! In December. A good day to stay in and cook – well eat for me!

Yesterday afternoon we moved the little chicken coup, which had been home to this years chicks and the turkeys, into the big yard. The new hens of that batch had already been moved there and the roosters all moved into the freeze. One roster did escape the hatchet though. We needed a new boss man for the flock since our trusted old friend, Rocky, was snatched by the coyotes this spring during their pup rearing period. Broad daylight and right next to the house to boot! Makes me nervous foe the cats! So, Rocky2 is now a very happy boy. I also butchered one of the turkeys. That was harder than the chickens. Something about their eyes.

Now the small chicken yard need cleaned up. I’m going to remove the fence and get it all leveled off. That’s where I want to put a greenhouse someday.

The winter garden continues to do very well. No surprise with the abnormally warm weather. (Just keep saying, “Global Warming is just a liberal myth invented to destroy our way of life.” I think the few days of 20’s at night a week ago did finally kill the mustard greens. The mustard greens, spinach and Kale were the only thing exposed. Everything else is under the low tunnels. Those work great! I started three and a half beds of spinach this year. One is exposed the others are under the low tunnels. The ones in the low tunnels are five times the size of the exposed one so I’m sold on those – or a greenhouse one day. I’m still eating Swiss Chard, Mizuna, Spinach, Kale, one head of Pac Choy and even some Lettuce that sprouted from what was harvested months ago! There is garlic that was planted in the fall that looks like May’s growth might.

It seems as if we are still experiencing winter but the waves of warmer days are longer, warmer and unfortunately dryer. We are still 15 inches behind normal on rainfall for the year. What I take away from this is the fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines will not go into a full hibernation and want to start blooming way early, like last year. While that may sound good in some respects we will inevitable still have some more normal weeks of cold weather after things have flowered and that will kill off most of the crop for the year… Of course the bugs wont die off either so they’ll be a bigger nuisance next year.

This is where I am trying really hard to apply lessons learned in Al-non. The “Serenity Prayer” really helps.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can, 

And Wisdom to know the difference.

So today is the last day of a later than normal hunting season but I’m not out hunting. It’s too damn warm! Plus the Meridian Passing time thing has been all wrong this year. With the exception of opening day it has been really quite around here. We can usually hear shots fired all around us form dawn to dusk the whole season. There have been scant few shots lately. Although one Yahoo West of here must have really had it the other day. I heard one ka-boom from a shotgun followed four more in rapidly increasing progression. A moment after I thought it was safe to continue what I was doing I literally heard a fully automatic let loose at least 20 rounds. My guess is the deer got away. You can tell by the way people shoot – and the machine gun finale was proof positive. Morons…

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