Category Archives: nature

April

The snow has finally melted! Yesterday the lupines popped out of the mountain side and today the humming birds have returned. We are still at three days of sunshine this year with cloud cover again. The solar panels are not really amused but the plants in the greenhouse have the grow lights on them to help them on these cloudy days.

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The days are warm enough now for t-shits and the work outside has picked back up again. Below the dam where the trees were dropped from making room for the greenhouse has become the target of focus. We will be putting in an orchard in the space as well as the chicken coop. (Zone 3 in permaculture) The ladies will be under and among the trees. The final plan for the coop is being worked out with several ideas in mind, including one with a rocket stove inside the wall to give them extra winter heat.

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Thor thought he would help with clean up and kept making a bed out of the piles of slash that we needed to burn and sort. A perfect place to chew on a freshly found deer shed I guess. Almost two weeks of picking up the dead fall, chain saw work and nonstop fire, we got through the fiddlestick game of trees and found the rock bank. To my delight gooseberries are coming up and hopefully I can encourage them to thrive there.  20180505_121019

Our top temp today is likely to be in the mid 50’s with chance of rain, but as soon as I step away from the computer I will be outside. Summers in Montana tend to go from cool and grey to too hot and so smokey work outside must stop. Last year we went from smoke to snow with no chance for much fall work, hopefully this year we have fewer fires and more work can get done. The coop, the orchard, and more gardens, as well as a cob oven. Not to mention all the other stuff.

chickens still in the greenhouse

This year spring has been in a long debate with winter whose turn it was. Just days ago we had six inches of snow. This high up however, while lilacs bloom down along the river we get frost every morning. It drives home, again, how difficult growing a garden in a zone 3 can be.

 

Inside the green house though it is warm enough the cool weather plants have been up for weeks. The unfortunate thing is that the chickens are still using a section as a coop and two in particular are very clever and naught. Julie Chicken and Katie Bird have escaped. Not once, not twice, but a dozen times and proceeded to tear u seeds, devour seedling and teach the others that out is better than in.

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Julie has even learned to escape the green house all together and look for better places to be. She is perhaps the most naughty bird I have ever met. At this point every three days or so I let them roam free. Sooner or later this will bring in wildlife from the mountain and Sterling, (lives down the hill) hates noise of all kinds and having Boots the rooster crowing in his driveway is not a good way to keep the peace.

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With them free to explore and a constant seeking of escape routes the seedlings have begun to grow with vigor.

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Flowers have come up now that the threat of chicken attacks have passed and the other plants have followed.

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There are places however that remain sprout-less as I have to plant and replant them. With bird netting and coop, hopefully repaired enough to hold until the long term coop is built, this time they might get to grow.

The gutter gardens are doing very well right now. As I have never used this style of alternative beds I am still experimenting with water and exactly what pants can and can not handle the heat to their roots.

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With room in the green house for plants to be kept over winter this year I am playing with warm zone plants. Various pond plants as well as lotus. I put the seeds in water three days ago and when they sprout I will be sure to keep you informed on their progress.  Some of those I ordered have fallen rather sadly into a state of abuse as they had no time to adjust and even int eh green house water barrels they got too cold but now with the weather finally starting to warm they are putting out new leaves and starting to recover. This year will be bursting with life and I will be sure to keep you posted.

From Snow to Cold

Yesterday the snow arrived.  It wasn’t too cold, just a tad chilly at 20 degrees, but as often happens when winter arrives it does so with a sudden sharpness that can cause even experienced mountain dwellers to shudder and stay inside.

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Warm in the cabin with sun gloriously streaming in through the windows I thought it would be a great day for a hike, to get the new snow, the sun and the blue sky but once outside the hike was decidedly short and back inside I went.

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I snapped a few pictures and ducked back inside to make tea.  I was just getting settled to do edits on Through the Barrier, (something  have been putting off) when the Snoring Bear aka the Virgo #2 came asking if I could help him.

Down in the shadow of the mountain the skirting has not gone back up on his 5th wheel since he moved it from one side of the yard to the other a couple of months ago.  While my Little Cabin was still in the sun shine, be it heavily blocked by the trees that have not yet been thinned, he was well in the shade.

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Part of being partners in such an endeavour is that one persons needs are the needs of all.  So down the mountain I went.  We worked on thawing the drain lines and then waited for the foam board to arrive.  (virgo #3 had gone to go pick it up) Unfortunately, it had not arrived when he had to go to work so with a look that bagged for help, he said, ‘if you get inspired feel free to work on it.’

On my walk down the road to his place I found two dropped treasures that are not from anywhere within a mile.  I wonder who dropped them and where they came from.

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So for the last hour, I have been outside, the temperature steadily falling, working on the skirting.

My fingers and toes a bit on the frozen side I decided to needed to come in, warm up and most my pictures from earlier today.   Maybe tonight, or tomorrow I will post a few of the work I get done before the sun sets.

The Snow has arrived at the Cabin

The snow has been lingering to the mountain tops all around the Little Cabin but last night freezing rain turned to true snow.  I managed to get down the driveway and back up once but soon I will be parking at the bottom and hiking up.

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Not too cold yet at 30degrees but by tomorrow it is supposed to be 3.

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Thor the puppy was delighted with the snow.  Trying to take his picture while he raced up and down the drive was nearly impossible.  I have quite a few images of white and black blurr.

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Today I think will be a good day to sit close to the fire and sip hot tea, read a book with the boy and not go anywhere.

Lingering Fall

Most often in this part of Montana the snow has already come and sit wet and heavy.  Leaves have long been on the ground, trees stripped naked.  This year though, fall has lingered. The leaves still remain on the trees and in places are even green.  Oranges, reds, and yellows splash brilliant accents on the mountain sides and along every water way.

oct 2014 012 Warm days beg for long hikes and make winter seem so far away it is difficult to carry on with the tasks of preparing for sub zero temperatures.

oct 2014 047 Each morning I watch the fog lift to reveal the mountain and the Tamarac’s that turn a little more golden each day.  One good gust of wind or a heavy rain and their needles will be gone until next spring.

oct 2014 011Once the days chores are done we will head for the trail with a scavenger list and a camera in hand.  One last hike before the snow is sure to arrive.