Monday, February 29, 2016

Moira-North Lawrence Road - Part 1

It was a lovely, albeit cold, morning and I had to drive to the feed store. I decided to take full advantage of the sunlight with a driving tour and headed east to Moira and then north on Mill Street. From there I turned west onto the Moira-North Lawrence Road, also known as Franklin County Route 6. My first picture was of what I thought was a stone house. But I took a closer look when I edited the photo and now think it was a brick home which may have been covered with mortar at one point:

A lovely barn in good condition, surrounded by beautiful winter scenery:

A large farm house which, I guessed, was an older home with extensive modernization. It sure looked homey:

A very large barn which was showing its age but clearly was still actively used in farming:

Another comfortable, inviting farm house:

Horse drawn farm equipment in what turned out to be an Amish farm:

The Amish farm house and barn:

This old building left me guessing. It appeared to be built out of adze-dressed logs and was likely someone's cabin way back in time. But the modern window and solid roof meant the owner was keeping it in good shape. Maybe they still used it for a summer cottage:

A large farm house behind old Sugar Maples. Icicles were hanging from the eaves:

All the comforts of modern farm life, with fuel tanks, insulated overhead doors and a wood burning furnace:

A wonderful, comfortable looking farm house with a nice front porch:

This house had the look of old New England, and I shouldn't have been surprised as this was pretty darn close to Vermont. But there was a lot of road left to see, so I kept driving. I'll post Part 2 tomorrow:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Red Poll Girls In February

Can you believe it? This happened in February here in the north country. The cows went out into the field, apparently searching for grass to eat:

They found nothing much which was edible, so they soon returned to their hay bales:

Violet, Gracie and Rosella eating hay:

Violet and Rosella, resting and chewing their cuds:

Eating, cud chewing and pooping - a cow's major responsibilities:

This hay bale was so badly frozen that I removed the bale feeder so they could more easily get at what remained of it. It worked. They eventually ate it right down to the ground, then used the strewn hay around it as a bed:

I put out two four foot diameter bales at a time. They both don't quite fit inside the feeder, but the cows know what to do:

A lovely scene after a fresh snow:

Rosella, resting after working to eat out the unfrozen insides of the hay bales:

It was snowing when I took this photo and the cows' backs were collecting snow. Their fur is so well insulating that the snow doesn't melt:

Hunger drives a cow forward and keeps her going. Come to think of it, it's a major motivator in my life too:

Jasmine turned to see what I was up to:

Friday, February 26, 2016

Update On The Household Pets

It's been a comfy winter for the household pets, and this collection of Daphne, Clover and Jack would be a good example of what it has been like for them:

Bramble rested up high, where he could keep an eye on Seamus and Fergus down below:

Feeling pretty smug and good about yourself, Bramble?:

All five dogs and Bramble in the farm house kitchen. I was about to go outdoors and they were hoping to go with me. They didn't get to, as I had chores to do:

Seamus has taken to resting beneath a window and over a heat register, in just the right spot so that his head rests between my two hanging gloves. He looks, at first glance, like a mini-moose:

Slumber party - Clover, Daphne, Seamus and Fergus:

Chirpy the parakeet seems to have hurt his feet. There wasn't anything I could do for him, but he was smart enough to discover a notch on a branch where he could sit on his butt, keeping his feet in the air and giving them a rest. When necessary, he also grabs onto the bars of the cage with his beak for stability:

All five dogs on the fleecy dog beds. Notice that the big floor pillows are no longer there. That's because someone was peeing on them. I removed them for about a month and am just now giving them another try on the floor. I'm hoping they won't get peed on anymore but the verdict, as of this writing, is still out:

All five dogs in their fenced yard. It's hard to imagine any winter days without snow around here, but we've had quite a few this year:

Jack, Clover, Bramble and Daphne on the newly reintroduced floor pillow. No pee yet:

Bramble, again up high so he could keep a watchful eye on us. One never knows what mischief we might get into without his supervision:

Clover, Daphne, Bramble and Fergus:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Around The Farm In February - Random Photos

The twenty white fantail pigeons have been sheltered indoors for the winter. They have heated water (the red cone on top the water fountain is to keep them from sitting atop it and pooping into the water). Their new shelf unit next boxes remain unused, but maybe they'll show more interest in the springtime:

The chickens too remain indoors, though they did get out a few times this winter when we had such unseasonably warm weather:

Whenever I find newly fallen snow in the morning, I check for footprints. This pair of tracks, one trail coming and one going, worried me. It was a large feline or canine - I couldn't tell which. I later checked online and concluded that they were canine tracks. Was it someone's dog running loose or a coyote? I wasn't happy about the potential of either one getting too close to my chickens:

The fantail pigeons react with great joy whenever I give them fresh water and food. They act as if they are thrilled at the new, improved supply I've given them - even though it's always just more of the same old thing:

The chickens are less excitable, taking it all in stride:

The farm house and barn, seen from the county road one morning:

There are more the twenty bales of hay left and whether I will have too many or too few at the end of the winter remains a mystery. My old cat, Snoozey, was buried in the only unfrozen ground I could find, beneath that closest bale:

One day I found an egg in the chicken coop and was excited at the prospect that the hens were beginning to lay for the season. But no, it was only a freak event and no more eggs have followed it. It was delicious, though:

I noticed this plastic cover over the light switch in the barn one day and snapped a picture of it because it reminded me of when I first got the cows. They used to turn on the lights at night, flipping the switch with their noses. The fishnets to the right of it are for cleaning debris out of the stock tank while refilling it, something I do every afternoon:

On one of our miraculous warm days, the flock of chickens scratched and pecked all around the perimeter of the house:

I stopped for gas one day, just down the road from home, when I saw this classic truck and snowplow. A faithful old Retriever waited for its owner, who was inside having a cup of coffee. A smaller dog, perhaps a Dachshund, was beside him, but it's awfully hard to see it in this photo. The truck, by the way, I've figured out was a 1962 Willys Jeep, in nearly mint condition:

Also just down the road from me - a logging header with an impressive pile of saw logs:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The 2016 Saranac Lake Ice Palace!

The winter of 2016 had so far been extraordinarily mild and I knew that the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival would be in trouble. But I heard on the news that they'd managed to build the annual ice palace anyway, so I drove down to take a look. I parked near Lake Flower and was pleased to see that it was covered with ice:

The ground, however, was free of snow. I walked to where they'd planned to have the yearly Arctic Miniature Golf. Each station had a colored mound of snow, remnants of the miniature golf course someone had worked so hard on, but that was all - except for this snowy Minion from "Despicable Me:"

But the stations, or holes, for the intended Arctic miniature golf were just rapidly melting piles of snow:

This one looked especially sad and apparently had once been an elaborately decorated basket of fruit:

This hole had begun as a slide with a green dragon, but all that remained was this:

So I walked over to see the ice palace. I could tell, even from a distance, that it was smaller than usual, yet I was impressed that they'd managed to build this much. Small groups of toddlers were touring the ice palace, following behind their teachers, each child holding onto a rope:

I wouldn't have known it otherwise, but I heard the children saying that this was the Batman's famous Bat-Car. It was a popular spot for children and parents, taking pictures:

I went to the front entrance, where this year's theme was boldly displayed in writing made of snow. It was Superheroes and Villains - hence the Bat-Car:

There were ice thrones inside the palace but they had melted rather badly. I saw only one other ice sculpture (bottom left of this photo), presumably a superhero, although I couldn't identify it:

Yet even this modest ice palace was a wonder to behold, and the groups of children and their excitement helped me enjoy it also:

I walked around behind the ice palace, where piles of unused ice blocks remained. The blocks looked to be about 2 X 4 feet, but only 9-12" thick this year. Normally they would be 2 feet thick:

The ice palace looked impressive, but surprisingly small from behind. I'd known that it was a tough winter for ice and snow before I'd left home and I was happy to see that the ice palace had made an appearance in spite of all the weather related obstacles. This is an event which I plan to attend every year: