Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Winter Vacation

Hello my friends, and thank you for visiting this blog. I've been posting daily for several years now and am finding it increasingly difficult to come up with new posts. Now I find myself in the middle of a rugged winter which is so cold, snowy and windy that it's difficult even to snap photos. I've simply run out of steam and run out of material. 

I'd like to continue the blog but need to take a rest, posting occasionally if I have something interesting, like the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival in February. But mostly I think I'll wait for the weather to moderate. Four cows are due to calve in the spring and there will be fencing to fix and flowers blooming. Everything will again look promising and I'll have new inspiration. I hope that you will check back once in a while to see if I've posted anything new. 

I especially thank those of you faithful followers who have been reading this blog daily.  I hope to be back in the spring (or sooner).


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Beauty Of Ice - Part 2

I was wet and cold. The ground was wet, icy and slippery. But I walked around the yard taking photos of the amazing ice covered beauty. These were apple twigs:

And Elderberry tops:

Ice covered grass along the dogs' fence:

This crystal palace was actually the remains of Wild Cucumber Vines:

And a lovely but unknown weed:

The old fashioned rose with an ice covered rose hip:

Mock Orange:

And Eastern White Cedar:

Wild Grasses:

And the ancient Lilac in front of the house:

Even the dried flowers of the Tree Hydrangea were coated in ice. There was beauty all around - in spite of the miserable weather. I hope you too found it worth a look:

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Beauty Of Ice - Part 1

Winter really arrived in January. I went out one day to give the cows a new bale of hay and found about 6" of snow with 1/4" of ice on top of it - and a rapidly growing lake of cold water on top of that. The falling rain was freezing rapidly and we were to drop to near 0 degrees that night, with a low of minus 23 two nights later:

The scene outside my door was kind of pretty, but treacherous:

The hay bales were covered with ice:

The apple tree branches were covered with ice:

The fence wires and gate were covered with ice too, but the poor cattle had to endure the cold rain. For that matter, I had to endure it also, but at least I got to go back inside the warm house when I had finished my work:

The fence posts and fencing were icy and those fuzzy, red clumps you see consisted of cow hair. The girls had been scratching their itches on that fence post:

Each Goldenrod plant was coated in ice:

This plant looked awfully familiar, and I thought it was in the mint family, so I looked it up when I got back inside the house. I think it was Mentha arvensis, or Wild Mint, and it too had a clear coating of ice:

The Box Elder seemed to have a crystal coating:

And all my Tall Garden Phlox:

I wasn't sure, but I thought this fine textured plant was Bedstraw. I was traipsing around in the water, ice and snow while I took photos and there are more to show you, so I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy House Pets In January

Bramble seemed to know it was cold out there:

PeeWee, on the other hand, didn't know much of anything. He sleeps deeply and isn't easily roused:

All five dogs right behind my computer chair. They wanted to keep me company:

In this case, the pets just wanted to cuddle with each other:

Little PeeWee in the kitchen:

All five dogs plus Snoozey, sharing the kitchen floor pillows:

Me with PeeWee:

Daphne, Clover and Seamus:

Outside to play in the new snow:

Really? You say you saw a bird over there? I'll go look:

Clover and Snoozey:

Fergus, Clover and Seamus - just hangin' out:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Around The Farm In January

Once or twice a day I go out to the bale feeder and turn the hay over with a fork, throwing out any moldy, coarse or too-frozen-to-eat portions, and pulling the "good stuff" toward the sides where the cattle can reach it. This not only makes it easier for them, but enables me to keep a close eye on the condition of the hay and to know when it should be replaced. The cows know I do this and move in quickly, hoping to find some new, tasty grass hay they'd missed:

I let the chickens out for several day during a thaw, but at first they hesitated, unsure of what all that cold, white stuff was:

Once the chickens were out, they had a fine time:

And the cows watch everything that happens:

Locked indoors for the winter, the fantail pigeons seem content. I recently saw a Cooper's Hawk fly past the window and was happy they were indoors:

The chickens got out for a couple of days, but most of the winter they too spend indoors:

We've had some very fine days, albeit cold ones, mixed in with the snow. The shiny red coats on the Red Polls look especially handsome as they glisten in the sun:

This pigeon must have been dreaming of lazy summer days as he watched, longingly, out the window:

The Red Poll girls have become used to my presence at the bale feeder and sometimes won't even get out of my way. I give them a push with my hand or shoulder to get them to move:

The north end of the barn is where I keep the bedding hay, the tractor and the bush hog out of the snow and rain:

The south end of the barn is where the cattle are allowed to sleep at night - although they seldom choose to do so:

Winter is beautiful but long and difficult. I'm sure longing for summer. I'd even skip springtime if I had my druthers, just to get to summer:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Red Polls In Winter

It's been an odd winter so far, alternating between big snowstorms and thaws. The cows often huddle on the east side of the barn when the west winds are howling:

When they arrived last year, these cattle were emaciated and accustomed to warmer, Virginia winters. But their good genetics have enabled them to pack on the pounds and grow warm coats. Now they seldom want to go inside the barn except for grain or to eat what is supposed to be bedding hay:

Mostly now they hang around the bale feeder:

Rosella is still nursing at the age of five months:

When all the snow seen in the above photos suddenly melted, the cows were very happy:

They walked out into the pasture and tried valiantly to find some edible grass. In the end, they returned to the bale feeder:

Contented cows in the rosy glow of the setting sun:

And Rosella pushed her way in for a guzzle of milk even when she had a new bale of hay in front of her:

Violet is my biggest cow and a good looker. She's not overly friendly, but she's miles ahead of where she was a year ago:

But each thaw has been short lived and the snow always returns. That white triangle on Rosella's face is milk:

Jasmine, named for the mythical dancing girl in the movie, "Secondhand Lions," is a friendly girl with an especially expressive face:

Scarlett, the mother of Rosella, is the cow off to the left. She is easily recognizable even at a distance because the base of her tail rises up higher than her back line. She was once one of the two least friendly animals, but has really come around since her calf was born: