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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Jackie Clay

I think we’ve grown webs between our toes

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

We’ve had rain, rain and more rain. Four inches in several days’ time. Luckily, Will managed to get our main garden tilled just before the first rain hit. It tilled up very nicely and now I’m itchy to get in and get the onions and peas planted.

Tilling_0188

Our little buck goat is doing great. For a while there it was kind of come and go but suddenly he decided he’d live. We still have him on the bottle as his mom didn’t bond with him. She’s not mean to him but won’t let him nurse. We’ll keep trying. We called him Rocks. His grandfather was our Boer buck, Rocky, and unfortunately this buckling is as dumb as a box of rocks … Real cute, though.

The past weekend, we attended a gathering of Itasca Co. Master Gardeners, bringing a small booth to set up for Seed Treasures, our little seed business. We met a lot of nice people and were so happy to hear so many people concerned with planting only non-GMO seeds! We brought several bins of different beans and colored corn as well as a Hopi Pale Grey squash and some dry corn on the cob (Painted Mountain) which was very colorful.

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My Japanese morning glories are roaring up. Holy mackerel, you can actually SEE them pop out of the soil like beans do. They were very big seeds and the leaves are huge. I can hardly wait to see the blossoms! I’m starting to transplant tomatoes and, boy, did they germinate great this year. I put two seeds in each peat pellet and many had two plants (or more!) come up. I hate waste so I’m carefully transplanting each one so as not to waste. The extras I’m giving to my friends Diane and Gina to sell at their greenhouse. I don’t need 388 tomatoes! … plus the extras too.

morningglories_0197

Will has the old, small hoop house down and taken apart so he can till the soil there. I’m not sure what his plans are — whether to put it back up or build a larger one in its place. Stay tuned and we’ll all see. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Spring is on hold

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Although it’s not sunny and warm, the temps are still hovering in the low 50s although it has been rainy and cloudy off and on. It puts a damper on spring fever. Especially when one of our doe goats delivered twins outside in the cold rain. She had not shown any signs of kidding prior to that, either. One kid was born dead and the other, a buck, was chilled and weak, unable to nurse or even stand up. I rushed him into the house and put him in a box next to the wood stove. Then I tore back outside and got the mother on the milking stand and quickly milked a quart of colostrum from her.

The buckling wouldn’t suck so I tube fed him about 2 oz. of warm milk. I repeated every two hours until he finally started sucking on the bottle. But last night he was very bad; I didn’t even know if he was alive but I still tube fed him, finding he was breathing but very, very lethargic. I didn’t expect him to last till morning.

He did. And this morning he not only took the bottle but actually sucked vigorously. Now he’s acting like he just might live, after all. We hope.

Buckling_0167

Will’s been peeling the long, black ash poles he cut in our woods for the front porch railings. There are three sections needing railings so he cut plenty so we’d be sure to have enough. Luckily, being green, they peel very easily. Now he’s finished and they are stacked with the other logs by the sawmill, drying. Hopefully, we can get the railings sanded, stained, and assembled soon.

AshPoles_0158

I got my morning glories planted this morning after soaking the seeds all night in cups of warm water. That helps them get germinating faster as the seeds have a thick shell. I can’t wait to see them bloom. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We made good use of our “summer” weather

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

We had an entire week of sunny, very warm weather and boy, were we busy. (We knew it would not last as it’s too early!) While Will went with our neighbor to pick up some farm equipment he’d bought at an auction last week, I hopped on the tractor and graded the driveway. It went great for two passes. Then the tractor bogged down in a frost boil and stalled out. (For those of you who don’t know what frost boils are, they are patches of soil, usually clay, which froze solid with frost and suddenly thaw out, becoming very soft. Often the ground for yards around is spongy. It’s sort of like standing on a mattress and jumping up and down — it’s all waves and wiggles.)

I tried several times to start the tractor but no dice. That Ford is funny that way, often needing a few hours to “cool” off after hard work before it’ll start. Anyway, I turned off the key and started hiking back — nearly a mile, up and down hill at 75 degrees. Huff, puff.

When I figured it was getting time for Will to show up, I hopped on the four wheeler and ran it back, just in time to see Will pulling up with the Subaru. He jumped on the tractor and it started right up so he drove it out of the hole and I took it home while he ran the four wheeler home. Then we both came back to get the car. Long story short, the driveway graded nicely but that frost boil will need a week of dry weather to go away so we’re not planning on running in and out much! AND today it’s raining as it’s supposed to off and on all week.

Yesterday was so nice, Will worked again on the Kawasaki Mule, getting it ready. The carburetor had gunk in it and needs a fuel filter, which I picked up today. It’s getting close to being usable! I can’t wait. How handy that’ll be and what a cheap vehicle at $200.

Mule_0161

I got two flats of peppers transplanted and in just two days they look SO good! I’ll be doing another flat soon as well as starting in our tomatoes. It’s looking like spring in the greenhouse for sure. Today I’ll be starting the Japanese morning glories I got from Baker Creek. They have huge blooms and I can’t wait to see them. Here in northern Minnesota we have to start them inside to get blooms by late summer. It’s a little more work but they’re worth it!

Transplanting_0156

Two-day-peppers_0164

Lots of birds showing up around here. Today I saw a flock of a couple hundred robins in a field on the way home. And our pair of Canadian geese is on the beaver pond by the house. Every year they raise a bunch of cute babies and we feel like they’re family.

The frogs have started singing. The wood frogs were first, sounding like ducks quacking, then the spring peepers started the next night, sounding like far-away sleigh bells. How exciting! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

It’s coming…

Monday, April 11th, 2016

The weather radio said our temps were headed for a warm-up. All I can say is it’s about time! We’re tired of snow, wind, and cold. But at least our little seedlings are doing well inside. I even planted a few more, just because.

Toasty-tomatoes_0141

Will mounted one of the tires he’d repaired on our old Oliver. Aired up, it’s doing well. Only time will tell if it’ll work. But if it does, that’ll be a huge savings. If not, we’re not out much. And yes, we will always be careful airing up that tire as it could blow at any time.

Oliver_0143

Saturday, our new HUGE tractor was delivered. The mile-long driveway was so rough with ice, mud holes and bumps that Will had the man unload it at the end of the driveway so he wouldn’t have to navigate the drive with the tractor on his trailer. We were lucky — the day after Will bought the tractor, we listed the “old” IH 706 on Craigslist, got a call about an hour later and had it sold the next day. I HATE debt and having a loan on two tractors made me crazy! Will wanted the big 100 hp tractor as he was afraid he’d blow up our IH 706 plowing clay with our three bottom plow; it really had to work. Now we can safely plow and plant many acres of “borrowed” hay ground and harvest great alfalfa and clover hay, and some grain as well. I can live with that!

Jolly-Red_0144

Our turkeys are starting to lay and we have a banty hen who has decided to become a mom. So tonight, I’ll put her and a couple chicken eggs in a cat carrier lined with hay, shut her in and see how things look in the morning. If she’s setting tight, I’ll replace the chicken eggs with the turkey eggs and let her sit on them. Hopefully, she’ll go ahead and hatch little turkeys. (If you just let a hen sit on eggs in the nest boxes, other chickens lay more eggs in that box and they get all mixed up and usually broken. We don’t try that anymore!

Hopefully by Wednesday the sun will smile on us again and we can get to work! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Flip-flop weather

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Corn-planter_0082

Just yesterday we were running around outside in our T-shirts. Will was finishing up work on his rebuilt corn planter and I was continuing the cleaning and picking up in the yard and house garden. So much for that!

Snow_0088

This morning we woke up to a foot of snow with steady snow falling. They say it’ll make 1-2 inches per hour all day, continuing during the night. Oh well, we knew it was coming via our weather radio so we were ready for it physically, but mentally? Not so much… Just when all the snow was pretty much gone, too. Luckily, Will brought the red oak planks (which will be our mantel behind the wood stove) inside before all the moisture hit. They’re planed smooth and look great. I can’t wait to get poly on them and see them in place. Now if the snow just goes away…

Mantel_0089

It’s not supposed to last long with temps above freezing in the daytime. Our first “scout” geese arrived on Friday. Will came running in the house shouting, “The scouts are here!” and I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. (Black helicopters and armed SWAT team?) He quickly explained and we both ran out to hear geese in our big beaver pond. That was music to our ears, for sure. Ah, spring! Or not … — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We’ve so enjoyed spring-like weather this weekend

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

With the sun out and temperatures nearing sixty, we have really enjoyed this weekend. We spent it mostly picking up around the yard as the snow melted. Boy, it’s shocking at how much “junk” ends up buried in the snow over winter! Will also worked on his corn planter and just about has it figured out. We have to get a couple of tires put on it as it is ground-driven but he found two “doughnut” tires he’d picked up at the dump a while back that will work after they’re mounted on the corn planter rims.

Today, Bill and our granddaughter, Ava, came to pick up Buddy. We’d been dog-sitting him while the family was visiting my oldest stepdaughter, Randie, in Cape Cod. Buddy is Ava’s dog and both were sure glad to see each other! Hugs and kisses from both of them. (You’ll have to excuse the blurry photo as neither would hold still for half a second.)

Buddy-AvaIMG_0085

We’ve been seeing eagles out in our back woods all winter and Will captured a photo of one sitting down on the ground. Wow, such magnificent, huge birds!

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All the snow’s off of our yard now and Will went out this morning and started mulching the honeyberries and small cherries. No sign of vole damage this winter. Hooray for Mittens and the dogs! They sure love chasing voles down. Mittens catches them and Spencer eats them in one gulp. No wonder he’s on a severe diet!! He weighed over 100 pounds when I had him to the vet! He’s been stocking up too … in his stomach! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

The snow is going fast

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Although it is kind of early for us, the snow’s melting fast. Last night we had a heavy rain. Boy, did that take the snow down. Now we can see clumps of dirt in the garden and our back yard is 2/3 grass. Wow, sure makes us think spring.

I went for a walk down our snow-packed driveway but didn’t go too far. There were spots where it was solid ice with a thin skim of water on it. Talk about slippery! I don’t need a broken something. I did see some big wolf tracks down at the corner where our big pines are. That was cool. We only get a glimpse of wolves a couple times a year; they’re very shy.

Wolf-track_0075

I baked another half ham and am getting ready to can it up this afternoon. Then I’ll use the bone to boil up some split pea soup to can. It’s simply amazing how many meals I get from one half ham!

Our goats are impatiently waiting for spring too. The does are getting round bellies but won’t kid until late May or early June. We don’t like to have does kidding when there’s a chance of blizzards and cold weather. Even April can bring storms.

Goats_0073

We need more “Ask Jackie” questions for both my blog and my “Ask Jackie” column in the magazine. If you or anyone you know has questions about backwoods living, be sure and send them in to BHM — you might see your name in print! Send to BHM, P.O. Box 712, Gold Beach, OR 97444, or email them to me at jackie at backwoodshome dot com– Jackie

Jackie Clay

Spring is around the corner, even if it is -12 degrees

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Yesterday I planted our very first peppers! Now they’re on shelves next to the wood stove as they germinate in only a few days at 75-85 degrees, but up to two weeks at 60 degrees. Big difference!

Pepper-pellets_0066-(3)

The day before I planted petunias. This year I planted a patriotic red, white, and blue mix. I think it’ll be pretty in hanging baskets on either side of our front porch flag. And this being an election year…

We aren’t going to grow as many different peppers this year but we’ll grow more of each rare and/or unusual, pepper so we can save seeds. Because peppers can be cross-pollinated by insects, we’ll have to put a mesh net over hoops, over all the plants we plan on saving seeds from. Because peppers pretty much self-pollinate, they can produce peppers themselves, without the help of pollinators. They will go inside our big hoop house along with our friend Rick Riley’s sweet potatoes and some rare beans.

Pepper-bags_0067-(3)

I’ve written down the varieties we want to try this year as we can’t keep them straight any other way. (I even have a notebook designated just for various crops.) Boy, will we be planting a lot! (Anyone want a working vacation? Come plant seeds.)

We’ve got our newer Subaru into the shop and got the bad news today that not only were the back wheel bearings shot, but also the front ball joints, etc. Looks like a $1,000 bill. Oh my, vehicles love to keep you broke and crazy! — Jackie

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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