After the Storm

Thursday and Friday we had over 3 feet of very wet, heavy, spring snow dumped on us.  It has been melting pretty fast and we are down to about a foot or less in shady places, and the sunny spots are either completely melted or very close to it.

The barnyard is a terribly wet, mucky mess.  I feel bad for the livestock because after being unable to leave the barn for three days because of the deep snow, they are now unable to leave because they don’t want to slop through the deep mud.  Hopefully the next couple of sunny days will finish the melting and dry it out enough to get them back outdoors.

The berry bushes are not happy at all.  They look downright terrible.  But upon close inspection I don’t see any broken branches, just super soggy branches bent down to the ground by the weight of the snow and the fact that they are so wet they bend easily.  I am hopeful that as the snow melts and they dry they will stand back up.

The Rhubarb and Lilac bush are also smooshed.

So far the garden looks to have survived.  The tomatoes were protected by the WOWs over them.  And the cabbages were protected by the frost fabric tents over them.  The carrots, lettuce, turnips, beets, peas, and spinach were all tiny seedlings just sprouted.  Once the snow melts we will see if they survived it.

Just another day homesteading in the Rockies!  🙂

Buried in Snow

Wednesday the kids were riding their bikes, I was gardening, and it was warm and sunny.  By Thursday we had two feet of snow.  By Friday morning we are above 3 feet and it is still coming down.  Everything is white.  May in the Rocky Mountains!

I’ve included old photos of the same areas to give some reference.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers who are mothers.  I hope you are all being loved on and appreciated today.

My family has been loving on me and spoiling me like crazy.  I feel very blessed.  The kids made me more birdhouses and we promptly hung them all up outside.  The violet green swallows immediately began inspecting them and deciding if they want to use them this year for their nests.

This bouquet is a tradition my husband has done for me since my first Mother’s Day.  There is a different type of flower to represent each child, and the number of that flower is how many Mother’s days I have been their mother.  So the two roses are for Mr. Smiles, then there are 8 irises for Braveheart, 11 of those pretty purple flowers along the bottom of the arrangement (I don’t know what type those are) for Little Miss, 13 carnations for Sunshine, and 15 daisies for Young Man.  So sweet!

Sunday Homestead Update

Garden

We had wonderfully warm weather this week, which was very much appreciated after the snow last week.  Everything is starting to green up and grow like crazy.

The warmer weather helped get some things done around here.  Most of the garden is planted now, with the seedlings inside their protective Wall-o-Waters and frost fabric tunnels.  I am also trying a new season extender option this year – they are called plant accelerators.  They are similar to the WOWs, but there is not water involved and they are bigger and can stay on the plant longer.  I bought three of them for the trial, if they work well we will get more in the future.

Pretty much all that is left are the things that can’t be planted until after the average last frost, which for us is still another month away.

Barn Cat Issues

We love having bird houses and feeders and attracting birds to our property.  We have quite a colony of violet-green swallows that return each year and help keep the bug population under control around the farm – which we are very grateful for.

The problem we are having is that one of our barn cats, Midnight, is an avid hunter and literally the most athletic cat we have ever seen or owned.  He can jump and climb in ways that seem impossible and we are always amazed and shocked when we see him move and how agile he is.  The other two cats are just basic barn cats, who do great at catching rodents and such but don’t go out of their way to do crazy stunts or catch birds.

These skills make Midnight quite the bird predator.  He can catch them in mid air as they fly by, as well as climb the trees and get to their nests.  Every time we see him with one we catch him and take it away from him – whether it is dead or alive we take it away because we are trying to teach him to leave them alone.  Last summer this “training” seemed to be helping.

Because of him last year we took down all our bird feeders and just left up the bird houses because we didn’t want to lure the birds to their death.  We trimmed all the branches around a couple of the bird houses, to see if it would help because he couldn’t sit on them to get to the bird house.  The problem is that he is so athletic that he just climbs the trunk and sticks his paw right in the house while clinging to the trunk.

Last year we hung several bird houses on the side of the mill building, this worked great because he definitely can’t climb the wall to get to them.  But we still have a lot of houses on trees that the birds love and we need to find a way to keep him from them.

So our latest attempt at thwarting him is to put sheet metal around the trunks just below the birdhouses.  We picked a type that will rust, which I think will look nice and blend in with the trunk.  We put them up this week, since the swallows have returned and are beginning to nest.  Time will tell if he is athletic enough to figure out how to get around them.  But for now, the birdhouses are safe.

It is a hard spot to be in, we need the barn cats for rodent control, but we do’t want them to kill the birds.

Goat’s Milk Ice Cream

The warm weather made us feel summer-y and we decided to make our first ever goat’s milk ice cream.  I was able to skim the cream off the milk, albeit just a little bit off each jar since it naturally homogenizes.  It took several days, but we were able to get a quart of cream saved up and we made our basic ice cream recipe with it.  It was delicious!  And Braveheart and Little Miss, who can’t have cow’s milk, were able to enjoy some ice cream for the first time in a long time.

Sunday Homestead Update – Easter

Happy Resurrection Day!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, we enjoyed good fellowship, good food, and good family time.

Green is beginning to pop up all over the place…a sign that spring is here.

Gooseberry Bush

Overwintered Garlic

Rhubarb

We have been preparing the garden because our first outdoor planting is next weekend.  This year I am trying out doing hoops over the garden boxes that will have cabbage, beets, turnips, spinach, and lettuce.  I will use light frost fabric over the hoops to provide pest protection and hopefully extend the season on both the spring and the autumn end.  I got all the hoops in the ground this week, and will put the fabric over them after planting next weekend.

We also got the drip system up and running and checked for leaks and breaks.  We will still have some hard freezes, so we will have to blow it out again, but we wanted to be sure it didn’t need any maintenance.

The lambs are doing well.  The little moorit ewe lamb born this last week has been named Rose.  She is doing pretty well, though not as vigorous as we would like.  Here she is investigating one of the barn cats:

We are still waiting on our last lambing.  Fiona is now past the expected due date range guessed by the ultrasound.  She is almost as wide as she is tall!  We are expecting large twins from her based on her size…or maybe small triplets?  Any day now!

Springtime on the high-altitude homestead!