Every year in this area, it seems like we have a short few days of spring-like weather. This year however it has been nearly a month and looks to be so for another two weeks. The 6 inches of solid ice have turned into mere patches with slush, mud, and running water.
I can get down the mountain with the car ! Later today I will try to get up the driveway with a half load of wood and a fridge. I think I can do it!
The mountains are nearly snowless and springs that normally start to run in may are already running. Little waterfalls are alive and rushing.
The weather has been so nice that today I went down and worked in the community garden that this year will be turned into a flower garden for the town park. As an experiment and just because I couldn’t help myself I cleared one bed, put in some Chard, Spinach and Pea’s. The bed I covered with the plastic beg insulation came in last fall. Hopefully the weather will stay about how it is, long enough to get a few little leaves. If winter returns and all is lost, no harm done.
I must admit I am fully enjoying the weather, and trying to not get ahead of myself as I know it is too good to be true, but sometimes life must be approached with the delight of a child. I know the cold and snow will be back and the seeds planted today will never produce a full crop but playing in the dirt was fun none the less.
Several years ago I took over the Community Garden in my little town. The park it was to be moved to had been an old railroad yard and while nice and level the soil was beyond a quick fix. The garden site itself was where some 30 years before they had tried to build a skate rink but it never held water, so not only was there the coal, creosote, and diesel fuel in the soil there was a layer of hard packed clay. Raised beds were the best option.
After consideration the decision was made to make them taller than average so we could put n straw bales with soil on top. The idea was to make it easier for those who could not easily bend down or kneel on the ground to be a part of the garden.
Ten yards of top soil was brought in to top off the straw bales and to make larger lower bed we fondly named the squash bed as that was what we put in it that year.
The beds below and those above both exploded with growth and over flowed. The weeding was easily taken care of and the garden days were mostly afternoons gathered around a BBQ and soaking up the sun. The sun flowers that year towered up over 12 feet.
Year two the straw bales held out and we just added thick course mulch between bale ends and the bed walls, with compost on top and planted and again the growth was stunning. The heritage tomatoes took over the garden early on and kept producing well into September. With the beds sunk down by fall the base of the plants were well into the box and protected from fall frost so that I was picking fresh tomatoes into mid October. (quite impressive for this climate)
Year three we dug out the ends of each bed in a double dig style to put in new bales and moved the rich new soil back on top.
We had enough extra to pass it on to local elderly, family’s in need and sell some in the local Feed Supply Store.
It is year four now and the beds are holding up. We added the rough compost to one bed and the rich loam to the tops.
in the empty bed we began a layered compost. Leaves, well wet down, cardboard, (worms LOVE cardboard) move leaves and on upward.
All of it needs to be wet down and kept damp for a good fast composting action.
The year is looking up as seeds are in the ground, and the sun is out. We hope this year to repeat the bounty of the garden.
Alost as soon as the snow melts in Montana the bugs begin to appear. Mosquitoes come out with sharp and hungry bites that are known to ruin the enjoyment of many stunning evenings. Beyond planting bug repelling herbs or spraying for them citronella candles help to hold them at bay, as well as offering a touch of light to any twilight conversation.
Using old bottles, (beer in this case) you can easily make as many as you like at very low cost, with some rather stunning results.
you need the bottles of your choice, a small copper fitting (1/2″) plumbers tape and the wicks. You can add decorative details to them if you like, but really that’s up to your time and desire. Most bottles are just a little too big for the fitting to stay in place snuggly. To fix that you just wrap the copper in the plumbers tape.
In this case the Lucky Buddha bottles fit the piece well enough that I did not need the wrapping on it. Just be aware that if the copper is in direct contact with the glass the heat will transfer. The wicks fit in like they were made for it. Just give it a bit to let the oil soak up the wick to get a good flame.
Keep in mind the more of the wick that is out the bigger the flame and the more smoke it will make. I have made these for years and often give them as gifts to friends with summer birthdays.
These too are for my sister.
Leaving for San Diego my mountain home was still held in the grip of winter. Snow banks and ice were the dominant element of the landscape. 19 hour drive brought us to a landscape of flowers, green leaves, and flip-flop weather.
many people thought me odd for taking pics of the flowers that they all seemed to utterly over look.
We took a short walk on the beach before breakfast one morning.
However, with the beauty of the flowers, the power of the ocean and the welcoming weather came pollution and traffic.
For me or anyone suffering MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) the city was almost unbearable. I was eager to get out of the city and back home.
Being able to breathe deeply and feel healed for it is a gift far more precious than any convenience a city might offer.
It was a pleasant welcome to find spring had arrived in my absence. No spring in MT is over night but it greets you a whisper at a time and getting home the mountain seemed to greet men with bird song and smell of damp earth. Crusted snow and patches of ice still cover the yard but there is no mistake. Spring has arrived in MT.
Today the snow and ice that had hidden the reek away for months now, gave way and the sound of rushing water has joined in with the birds and Kokopelli to bring in spring.
Watching the melt off and path of the sun my plans for gardens, green houses and front doors fill my thoughts. Soon work will be able to begin.
Today I can do edits on the books, go for short walks and snap pictures, soak in the sunshine. Maybe tomorrow I will be doing the same but once the ground thaws, and the last of the snow has melted away work to make this mountain a functioning home will begin in earnest. Blogs will share projects details. This promises to be a grand year.
The clouds lifted and left the sky clear blue. Thin beams of light came past the road and into the yard itself but above the mountain was bathed in glorious sunshine. I grabbed a camera and headed up,
Laving the denser forest I reached an area where the trees had been cleared in time past, offering a wonderful area of brush, bush and grasses.
Higher up the sun was full, lifting over the mountain. My coat came off. I turned my face to the sun and just soaked it in. The human body, the very chemicals of our skin and brain require the sun. With the knowledge I stood listening to the birds I had not heard yet this winter, sharing in the gratitude for the break in the weather and the chance to just Be there.
The snow was gone, replaced with mud. I found an old stump and just sat. The spring was moving enough that even where I sat I hear it trickling over the little water fall. I stayed with no sound beyond the water, the birds and further up the mountain the dog dashing about. No cars, no neighbours, no engines of any kind. I should have brought a folding chair. The stump was wet and eventually I had to head back down, but not beore I took another shot.
Heading back down it was hard to leave the private moment of spring time above for the crisp cold below. This time of year is hard on plants an animals as it tricks them into thinking it is spring but its not. We are still in winter and the coldest months are yet to come. The chance to feel the sun is wonderful but I whisper to the trees to the stay sleeping, its not time yet. Soon, but not yet.