Friday, April 28, 2017

Still In The Ice Age

Although we did have a bit of melting today.  I think.  Maybe.

This is the ice on the top of the table on our deck.  In the last three days, it was first covered with about 1/2" of ice and then a small amount of snow fell on top of that.  As it's started to melt, it now looks like a cross between ice cubes and crushed ice.  It's very strange the way the snow/ice is melting on all surfaces.

Our temp hit only 39F today without much of any sun to help the melting process along.

When I drove out our driveway at 1 p.m. I found the tree branches and bushes on either side were so heavily coated with ice that they nearly formed a tunnel-like canopy over the driveway.  There were several spots where I had to (slowly) push through the icy overhangs.

But then when I came home about two hours later, most of the ice had fallen or melted off and I didn't brush any branches at all with my vehicle.

At least the ice hasn't been slippery.  More like walking through a frozen daiquiri.  Only drier.  And not nearly as tasty.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

One More Day of Winter

It certainly does look like winter out there.  Papa Pea went out to get our mail yesterday afternoon and took these couple of shots of our driveway.

It was actually very pretty.

He had to stop and remove one tree that had snapped off and was lying over the road.

Last night when we closed up the poultry, there was an honest 1/2" of ice coating everything.  Nothing looks much different today.

We're still under a winter storm warning until tomorrow morning.  Snow and ice or rain is scheduled to start again before noon.

A friend and I had a fun outing planned for today but cancelled.  It wasn't a "necessary" thing by any means and neither of us wanted to take a chance on iffy roads.

Our temp this morning was 23 degrees and although we've had two geese faithfully sitting on eggs, even their brief forays off the nest to go down to the pond to wet their undersides for moisture for the eggs may cool them down too much in this weather.  Papa Pea fears the embryos aren't gonna make it.

Mother Nature never lets spring come to the northland in a pleasant, easy or normal way, but we're all hoping this is her last blast of winter-ish weather.  It's about time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Afternoon Coffee on the Deck, Anyone?

It's probably not the best afternoon for spending time on the deck.  That "white stuff" you see is all i-c-e.

The ice coating is getting thick enough that the trees are starting to bend.

The good news is that it's dry, warm and cozy inside . . . but Papa Pea did just go dig out some winter gear (that had been put away for the season -- ha!) to put on to go do afternoon chores.

Our friend and solar energy guy and his son who works with him did arrive but the weather conditions made it impossible for the repair work to take place.  During communications this morning we asked them to plan on lunch here.  I made potato soup, a tossed salad and blueberry pie.

I had to go down into the basement this morning to fetch a kitchen supply of onions and was happy to see none of them have started to sprout.  I've got one whole milk crate of the yellow onions left, but no more red ones.  This year I'll plant more of the reds.  It's great when you find the perfect place for storage.  Our basement stays right around 52 degrees all winter and is dry.  'Tis a good feeling to know you can keep them in good shape all winter and into spring. 

Potatoes from the root cellar are faring well, too.  We're going to have to go a little easy on the consumption of the remaining ones, though, so I have enough left to use as seed potatoes.  

So very grateful to have the veggies from our garden and a place to store them where they keep well.

Now I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the afternoon on this foul weather day in my quilt room! 

Foul Morning

Mother Nature has a strange definition of "Spring" up here in the northland.

Pictures taken at 6:30 this a.m.

We have an ice/sleet/snow/rain warning until tomorrow morning.

Not sure if you can see him, 
but there is a squirrel in the bird feeder.
Wonder how he got in through 
the icicles?
He may be planning on staying the day.

Our solar energy guru/guy is scheduled to arrive today to put up scaffolding and install a new part on our solar energy panel.  Something tells me that may not happen.

What a lovely day to be home!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Oh, Well . . .

We woke up to this scene this morning.

As Sweet Sue will remind me, it's poor man's fertilizer.  Sigh.

Could be worse.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gardening Question

Anybody got an idea what's going on with my broccoli seedlings?

They've all grown about an inch high, but now about five of them have suddenly keeled over.  Upon examination, the little stems seem to have withered right at the soil (actually organic starter mix) line or slightly above.

I've never had this happen before.  The seedlings are in starter trays, under full-spectrum lights, on a heat mat, and have had adequate moisture.

Have any of you gardeners had this happen to any of your seedlings?  And do you know what's caused it?

Thanks for any help or suggestions you may have.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Too Late Smart

We goofed.  We knew we needed to get Mama Duck and her mixed brood out of the chicken house and into a place of their own, but hesitated making the move too soon fearing we'd upset this first time mother enough that she'd stop caring for her hatchlings.

When we shut them up in their little corner of the chicken house last night, she had them all nestled down under her.  We didn't realize until this morning that the little yellow duckling was missing.  Again.  Darned if he didn't (apparently) venture out of the chicken house for the second time yesterday unnoticed by us.  We failed to see his escape.  Upon searching, Papa Pea found his little body under a tree this morning.

Also, one of the two chicks Mama Duck hatched out is completely missing.  We cannot figure out what happened to the yellow chick.  The remaining chick is black and white.  We've been trying to figure it out all day but have come up with no answer as to what could have happened to the yellow chick.

Having gone through this, we decided we had to transfer Mama Duck and her brood to their own safe, secure new home today.

We readied this chicken tractor-type house and caught all the small renegades in the chicken house (including Mama Duck who was not happy being evicted) with the fish net and carried them to their new quarters.

Dumped into the new pen.  "Where are we??"

The new pen is situated so they'll get sunshine as the sun travels across the sky for most of the day.  Two-thirds of the pen is open but screened with hardware cloth (wire) and one-third is closed in with wood for night time warmth or protection from high winds.

We realized it was a bit more of a jump into the enclosed area than they could all manage.  See the little chick determined to make it?  He's definitely more feisty and agile than the ducklings at this point.  Mama Duck is in the enclosed area trying to coax everyone to get up there with her.

We had to provide some "steps" to make it easier until they grow a bit more.  They all can make it up now with the provided boost.

Final count that we hope to raise without further unhappy incident?  One chick and eleven ducklings.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Duckling Rescue

There's a steady rain falling this morning and the thermometer reads only 38 degrees.  It is COLD outside.  A good morning for spending in my quilt room which is what I was doing.

Papa Pea was upstairs in his office trying to shovel the mess off of what he thinks might be his desk top underneath catching up on some paper work when he looks out into the poultry pasture and sees the very small yellow fuzz ball of a one-day old duckling madly running after any Muscovy duck he can get close to.  The adult ducks seems very perplexed and half afraid of this strange wind-up toy pursuing them.  They're running away from him as fast as they can.

Even the adult geese are curious but pull in their necks when he whizzes by them.

Good grief!  How the heck did this little duckling get out of the chicken house?  He would have had to jump up at least 8" onto and negotiate two separate ramps from where he was hatched yesterday to make his way out-of-doors.

Having done so, the little dummy guy obviously couldn't find his way back into the chicken house and the warm nest where his mother and siblings are.  I think he was frantically chasing after the other ducks thinking they must be his mother.

So what choice did we have but to put on rain gear, find the fishing net and go out to rescue him.  Of course, once in the poultry yard, we couldn't immediately spot him.  Papa Pea was (fearfully) scanning the pond when I saw him under some evergreen trees.

Once caught (and it wasn't easy as the little bugger is fast) he looked no worse for wear.  He wasn't even wet!

As soon as he was put back in the chicken house, he scooted under his mama and is probably taking a long nap right now.

I was hoping to get a picture of some more of the little critters but no one was cooperating in the least bit.  How can she possibly have a dozen (or so) little hatchlings under there?