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.
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.
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.
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.
It has been most of the winter since James and I went out to take photos. The cold has kept us pretty close to home. Last week with the weather breaking for warmer temps we headed out. I thought I’d a share the favorite of the group and the one that is going to be printed in the local newspaper.
Today while the snow holds to the higher ground for one more day, I have been working on the sheet rock on the walls of the Little Cabin. It will be good to have the insulation covered. I thought to stop and take a break to post a few pics of the first snow before I work put up the pics of the sheet rock work.
The weather is changing. November 1st the snow came to the mountain tops. It crept down only so far, almost to the back side of the cabin but I got to fall asleep to the sound of the rain. Morning was cool but had the crisp smell of frozen leaves and the little stream was frozen over.
The sun peeking in and out of the clouds, smelling of snow but keeping it only the higher places.
Morning sun through the window on steam from the copper tea pot.
The Forest Spirit Samahain costume in progress.
Frozen Rain drop, first snow just beginning to fall
Four avocados that decided to spout when I tossed them into the soil of a sad looking spider plant. No toothpick and cup of water required.
An important thing to know when splitting wood by hand, is the difference between a spitting maul and an ax. This is an ax. It is not designed to split logs, but as my maul is missing it is the tool I have been using.
Snow back to rain. Time to go split a few more logs.
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.
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.
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.
Once 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.