Thursday, March 24, 2016

March Snowstorm

We had a lovely snowstorm during the night and awoke to the most picturesque winter day we have had all season. Plus, it is warm and not windy, so it is fun to be outside in it.
The heavy, wet snow is a foot deep. Rog made a valiant attempt to snowblow a path to get to work, but the snow is totally slush underneath and our little snowblower could not master it. He is working from home today.
I shoveled out the  door to the coop- snow had  blown high against it - and decided the chickens will stay inside today.I fed the cows, then took a little photography walk with the dogs.
The barn is looking pretty spiffy with the pair of French doors.
Entrance to the pond.
The big rock and the pond. The pond is surrounded by hundreds of daffodils almost ready to bloom. They must be re-thinking that now.
The crabby tree spirit.
Back up to the barns.
I love when the snow blasts the  buildings like this.
Barn door.
The sliding barn door is frozen open, so blowing snow blanketed the chicken feed cans inside.
Moji loves the snow, but it sure is exhausting for a short dog to bound through a foot of heavy snow!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


 Yesterday afternoon was eggstraordinary! We held a  Ukrainian Easter Egg ("Pysanky") class in the barn.  The dyes were prepared and a basket of Pysanky eggs offered inspiration.
Darin Smith taught the class. Squash Blossom Farm provided both regular chicken eggs and large duck eggs, which Darin  had blown out ahead using a special  drill tool.
Guidelines were sketched lightly on the eggs and then the design was drawn on with  wax; the wax was colored black for better visibility on the white eggs.
The tool for applying the wax is called a "kistka." A bit of the wax is scooped into the reservoir, then the tip of the kistka is heated over a candle. The wax melts and flows through a small tip so you can draw your design on the egg.
You have to think in reverse--wherever you  put wax will preserve the color beneath. So, the first drawing on a bare egg will be white lines. Then you dye the egg your lightest color (this one is yellow, for instance) and draw onto that layer to preserve the areas you want yellow.
And so on through the spectrum of colors in your design.
Brenda waxing her koi design.
After all the layers are completed, the egg is carefully warmed over the candle and the wax wiped off. Then it may be varnished for extra sheen and protection.
 It seemed like fun was had by all!
All of the eggs were spectacular!
A gallery of a few of the completed eggs...

Ricky's Batman egg!
I made a Squash Blossom egg
with a honeybee on the back,
and an egg encircled by hens and chicks.
I think this will have to be an annual class so we can all add to our Pysanky collections!

Thanks to Darin for sharing his expertise, to Laurel for making a delectable poundcake from the blown duck eggs to provide us sustenance, and to everyone who attended the class!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Morning Blues

Spring has had a little set-back. It was so pretty, watching the snow out the window while we drank our morning coffee, we decided to go for an early morning walk before chores.  Everything is muffled and blue.
Sorry  'Fonda,  you will have top wait a bit for breakfast.
For some reason, three  guineas chose not to go into the  coop last night, so they spent the night in a tree being snowed upon.
The little pond is so pretty when snowy but not iced over.
You can't tell now, but under that snow hundreds of daffodils have emerged around the pond.

An artful vine by the big rock.
Further on, into the prairie.
Branches aiming to drop snow down the back of your neck when you pass beneath.
Dancing in the snow.
Back up the hill to the barns and waiting chores.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Ahead!

It isn't even mid-March yet and we have been having the  craziest weather --70 degrees today!! That makes me feel so far behind, but the  weatherman says cold and a good chance of snow next week, so as much as I love tos springlike weather, I will welcome a bit more time to get ready.
I ma so far behind on  my blog. In an attempt to catch up, I will post a bunch of photos with minimal text. Here are two guineas sunning on a bench. All the poultry love being out of the coop in the warm sun.
Maple sap began running  two weeks ago - the earliest date on record. We are still in cooking mode.
Smoke from the wood-fired oven.  We are now  baking bread every Monday and Friday night for the  co-op. When I say "we" I mean "Rog" but my responsibility is getting the fire going.
'Tis the mud season. I finally couldn't stand the floors and spent hours scrubbing and polishing the entire main floor; the moment I let the dogs in they began to leave pooch tracks.  Aargh. It is hopeless.
 We have been hauling tons of sand (literally tons - each pickup load is one ton)  for the clay and cordwood floor Rog is creating in the greenhouse.
You can't really tell, but thefloor has been raise up about 3 inches so far with a mixture of sand, water, straw and clay. The floor is  partitioned off with bricks; some sections will have  cross sections of  logs embedded, It is going to be beautiful!  The large middle section will make an awesome dance floor.
Building  a fire in the woodstove in the greenhouse  has  helped cure the clay floor--and made it more pleasant to work in there on cold days.
I  got a 5 1/2 foot diameter round window from the ReStore and had a crazy idea to  create an art glass to hang in the peak on the west end of the greenhouse.
Using silica gel, I  have glued vintage glass dishes onto the surface of the window
and  filled in the spaces with flattened clear glass marbles.  It now weighs  several hundred pounds so hanging it is going to be a trick, but I think it will look spectacular with light behind it!
Last night, I noticed crocuses by the house are poking through the soil.
Today I  discovered the  daffodils by the garden she are well up,
and rhubarb is  emerging,
I think the frost is  mostly out of the ground--how soon can I till in all that compost and animal bedding?
 Lilac buds swollen.
 I took the insulating blanket off the fish gazebo pond today and was so  happy to see that the koi and  goldfish all seem to have  survived the winter. I gave them their first little snack of the year.
A few Johnny-jump-ups are magically blooming in the fairy garden! In March--that is crazy!!
 The ice on the pond is totally melted.
While taking this photo of  Zinnie reflected in the pond, there was a big splash--
Moji had fallen in- his first time swimming! (I didn't get a photo of that-too preoccupied with  rescuing him.)
He created some nice ripples.
Self portrait with rock.

Jitter in the sunset.

Spring is so close we can almost taste it. Must remember to turn  clocks to Daylight Savings Time on Saturday night. Spring Ahead!