Everyone is complaining about the long, cold winter we have endured across the country but I don’t really think we have much to harp about here since during all the snow, ice and subzero temperatures we have had the advantage of our electricity and a roaring fireplace (or two). Perhaps a gas fireplace doesn’t really roar, but it is quite nice to linger close by while reading or knitting and look out the glass across the back of the house and admire the day, something we rarely have time to do when we are otherwise occupied outdoors the other 3 seasons of the year.
The old “red sky at morning, sailors take warning” adage was appropriate for the day as not many hours later it snowed and snowed! The best thing I can say about a nice deep snow is that we love to investigate the animal tracks that miraculously appear over night in a newly fallen snow. It certainly evokes an animal highway of sorts but the tracks can be difficult to photograph. Of course, that means that we just take all the more photos, trying for a better angle or better lighting. It is interesting to identify the various critters, but mostly we are seeing deer tracks.
The good news is that the most recent tracks have been on the outside of the deer fence. In fact, they seem to be walking along the fence line and not attempting to cross into the orchard. Of course we had a significant break-in after my last posting when I spotted two medium sized bucks in the east side of the orchard, trying to figure out a way around the fence. The pair finally attempted to jump the “faux fence” and got caught on their way out the south side, tripping up miserably, and taking the pickets and strung wire along with them to the opposite side as I watched. One of the bucks took such a tumble that I thought he might have broken a leg! But after a moment, he was able to leap away, leaving us with quite a mess! There were 18 or so pickets down (a chain reaction) and lots of wire to reinstall, all in two degree weather!!! Ugh!
So it was with a little bit of dark fascination that I found these deer tracks interesting since I think that this fellow may be dragging something…like a leg???? I would gladly put him out of his misery! In other news, the composting equipment we ordered arrived at our door and is still sitting in the garage waiting for good weather before we put it together.
Seeds for the spring planting have been ordered as well as a couple of spare fruit trees to replace ones that look a little weak. We hope to get out and prune the orchard in the next month while the trees are still dormant and we will try apply the dormant oil spray (organic as can be!) before the first bit of green sprouts appear on the branches. Dave is continuing with the annual service on the big machinery but is doing a great job cleaning and sharpening tools with the bench grinder for the coming season. Here is his set up.
I attended a fabulous all day bee keeping workshop last weekend. It was a full day of lectures from apiary experts from all over the country with more than 200 people in attendance! I must say that I took copious notes from 8am until about 3:30pm when my eyes began to cross and I had to just listen for the rest of the day. I staggered out into the cold just after 5pm with lots of great information about bee keeping but I don’t think I could have taken in any additional details that day. The next lecture I am attending seems much more manageable since it will be only 3 hours long! Although we have been reading the bee books, the lecturers pointed out that the bees don’t read those books! One needs to develop an instinct for beekeeping so although reading and listening is enormously educational, there will be nothing quite so wonderful as learning more when the hives arrive. When that time comes, I hope we look like this
and not this! Yes, this is called a Bee Beard, a small trick with the queen in a little box that is around this gal’s neck! Apparently, nothing to worry about since the bees are more concerned with the queen than stinging the woman!
I’ve continued to keep myself busy with my last level of the Master’s Hand Knitting program and winter is a great time to work on it so I set my sites on getting all of the papers written and I have met that goal. I do make quite a mess in my office during the process but I now have 4 reports and 2 research papers, along with footnotes, outlines and bibliographies done! Yeah! Don’t get me started on all the types of fibers in out there or the Bohus Strickning Tradition! Here are the books at the foot of my desk…there was an equal pile surrounding my computer! I hope to get much of this finished up before it is time to get back in the fields this spring! Happy Valentine’s Day to All!