Tag 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.

Late November Drive.

Yesterday, I drove over Rodgers Pass and down out of the mountains.  My brother and I went for a drive about, over dirt roads that we have been driving since we were teenagers.  The winder was sharp, nearly impossible to look into and made it feel less than pleasant, but I stopped to take a few pictures to share this amazing landscape.

Fort Shaw Butte

nov rockymountains 006nov rockymountains 012Off to the west… the Rocky Mountains

nov rockymountains 013Creek where the Brown Trout spawn

nov rockymountains 018Square Butte nov rockymountains 003The frozen Sun River

Walk to the Creek

Oz convinced me this morning, because its warmer now at 20°, to go for a walk with him down to the creek.  It might say 20° at the house but it is much colder down by the water.  The sun is far behind the mountain so deep in the valley so the creek is cast in a chilled twilight.

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The frost in the shadows here builds up nightly,  making some rather fantastic creations.

nov 2014 004nov 2014 003Once under the cedars and next to the creek it felt as if the temperature dropped even further than is was just in the mountains shadow.

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As expected the first thing to happen was the boy and the dogs went skidding across the ice.

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Only then did they set to exploring.

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Most all of the creek  is frozen over.  Only a few pockets remain open.

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This hole stayed open last winter until it was nearly -40°.

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At this point my camera was getting cold it enough it kept an error reading.  I managed to get a few more shots before heading back up the mountain to the Little Cabin and the fire place.

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Morning Drive

This morning Oz began his apprenticeship so we braved the cold and headed out.  The car was not at all happy to be started with the near sub-zero weather, but after some protest and squealing it took us down the mountain.  The sun was just coming up over the mountain ridge line as we wound our way down to the main road.

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We got there just in time and warmed up by Q’s fire place before I headed back towards home.  Today I will edit!  On the way though I had to stop to take a few pictures.

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On the radio is said it was 3° and I that feels about right.  It doesn’t take long for the exposed fingers or the poor camera to feel very cold.

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It was cold enough Thor didn’t even want to get out of the car to walk with me.

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Cold weather is not my favourite thing, but after being outside in it the fire feels twice was wonderful and the coffee twice as rich.

winter photo

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Stepping outside to let the puppy take a morning romp, this is what I see from my front step.  Coffee in hand just had to take a picture.  Only blow up to full size can it even begin to do justice to the view.  With the fire warm inside, the sun through the trees and the only sound the wood pecker thumping on a nearby tree, I am can only think to myself, ‘I love my little cabin in the mountains’