Back to work, and a treat ahead

Afternoon choretime sky
Afternoon choretime sky

Getting back into the swing of things! And still hoping for some warmer weather.

This morning it was -22F and blowing here. By the time I made it up to the goats with my gallons of hot water and molasses, I could barely breathe. I keep my nose and mouth wrapped up in temps like this, but it didn’t seem to be making much difference today. Obsessively scanning the 10-day forecasts multiple times a day, I am seeing that nighttime temperatures are going to be slowly rising, which is the fact that I keep a death grip on. And daytime temperatures are going to be doing a little dance up and down, but by next week we should be seeing pretty steady 20-degree+ days. It will feel like a preview of the breath of spring!

But the big excitement in my week: NETA (New England Textile Arts) Spa weekend is coming up! I have been impressed into a little service for the weekend, but it is a pleasure. It’s such a great thing for the toughest time in the season. Spinners, knitters, crocheters and rug hookers converge on Freeport, Maine, and fill up all the hotels, inns and B&Bs. All the common areas of these places are full of chatter and fiber work, with new friends and acquaintances being formed each day. We have 20 vendors at the Hilton Garden, and lots of great food and friendship can be found anywhere you go. It’s a bright spot during some of the coldest days of the year. Sigh. I can hardly wait! The Harraseeket Inn has a fabulous salt water pool! My favorite.

The 4-letter word that won’t stop giving

Round Pond Harbor (salt water).  Boat launch. Hah!
Round Pond Harbor (salt water). Boat launch. Hah!

Of course, it’s SNOW. We just can’t get past it. Even though the weather people dropped the snow totals for today, we ended up getting another foot of the white stuff.

I think that I have officially had enough :*)

Seagull waiting for some food to appear
Seagull waiting for some food to appear

Round Pond Harbor is all iced in, and we can barely get out of our driveway for lack of peripheral vision past the snow banks. It’s so close to March that I think we feel things should be letting up. And it’s not necessarily so :*)

We have more snow predicted for Saturday night as well as next week sometime. I am not putting my tall Boggs boots with Yaktrax away anytime soon. And the long underwear, let’s not even discuss putting that away yet!

 

Knitting, digging in the dirt and roasted veggies

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I have been dreaming of those early days of spring when there is still a serious nip in the air, the breezes are still a little wintery even, it’s not yet mud season but the ground is bare. And you can smell the dirt and the growing things thinking about coming out and reaching for the sun. I know we are getting close, but the sun is teasing us today and I have that spring fever thing starting to rear its noisy head.

It’s school vacation and I have been taking things a little easier than usual, but I have also been on a roll trying to get a few things taken care of as well. It’s still really cold outside (17F today), and no, I can’t dig in the dirt yet out there (can’t even see it for all the feet of that white stuff!), but I have been doing some inside gardening. Little stuff, transplanting and dividing up some of my African violets and Christmas cactus. I am also having a lovely time trying to decide how to plant (and also into what) the 3 baby succulents a friend gave me for my birthday. They are adorable! Even if my hands are not totally covered with dirt, at least I have my fingers in it today. It feels marvelous.

I have also been working hard to get my latest knitting project finished. And finally it is! My second Hitchhiker shawlette. Very colorful and light weight yet warm, I knit it from Schoppel-Wolle’s Crazy Zauberball, colorway Frische Fische. Love it!

More color in the day came from roasted veggies, my favorites, beets!  Chioggias. Yum! I think it’s time for some goat cheese. But wait, the power just went out. Gotta love it! Glad my beets are out of the oven…

Wicked lucky

Snow cave central.  Can barely see the fences anymore.
Snow cave central. Can barely see the fences anymore.

The latter part of this past week we were prepping for the next Big Blizzard, due to hit us yesterday and into today. But the midcoast area of Maine got incredibly lucky this time. I think if we got 3″ that’s about it. Phew! Dodged a 20-30″ forecast. Unfortunately, the Boston area, southern Maine, and way Downeast Maine did get the full blow. It’s the only big storm that has missed us this winter and I am as grateful as I can be.

Cozy inside
Cozy inside

We are, however, still getting the blizzard-force winds, and the wind chill is as cold as I have felt it this winter season. Instant headache at chore time, even with my face covered. Just simply brutal.

The goats are in a greenhouse that is not fully closed up, but the snow banks are so high, and the snow is covering the structure so completely, that they are in their own little snow cave. I sat down in there with my girls this morning and it was very pleasant, in spite of the howling winds. As much as I am groaning over trying to keep the shoveling up to date, all the snow has been a blessing in disguise (or so I am going to consider it, anyhow!). The ventilation up at the top of the greenhouse is also helping to keep the shelter free of toxic ammonia build-up as well, which is much healthier for the goaties.

Sunset in the snowy bluster
Sunset in the snowy bluster

One more thing to be grateful for: first kids aren’t due until April 22nd!!! It’s got to be warmer by then, although I am having a great deal of trouble imagining it!

Snow and sky

Over the greenhouse, lovely sky
Over the greenhouse, lovely sky

We have a brief reprieve before the next storm that’s supposed to hit tomorrow night into Friday. The sky was beautiful and clear, we even saw some sun today.

I stood next to the greenhouse that shelters the goats and just reveled in the sky and the light. Loveliness.

It’s all very deceptive

The snow never ends...
The snow never ends…

And white. Yesterday the newest storm began, early in the dark hours. It’s been a slow-moving one and has not ended up being as bad as predicted, as folks in southern Maine are getting the brunt of it. Even so, the roads have been bad and we had a 2 hour delay to school this morning. I am glad, it definitely helped.

 

Snow is so high we can't see out the library windows!
Snow is so high we can’t see out the library windows!

I am not sure that I can imagine living in a very flat, cold, white landscape like the tundra. Whiteness everywhere, unbroken by trees or any change in the landscape. I think we are lucky to have the trees and the hills here. And the salt water. Even if right now we cannot see out of our windows due to the snow and the drifting. We can navigate by the woods and the tree lines, and a mile down the road is the ocean. It’s all good, even if it is not spring yet!

 

 

Snowed in

Pushing through the snow yesterday morning to do chores before daylight
Pushing through the snow yesterday morning to do chores before daylight

What a week! I only ended up having 2 days of work. Monday, big storm, so school was called off. Tuesday we had a 2 hour delay, but I couldn’t get out at all because the tractor wouldn’t run in the extreme cold (diesel fuel kept gelling up) and my car got caught behind it. It took all day for John to get us dug out. I am kind of glad I didn’t get out because the roads were quite bad and one of the district teachers was in a severe accident on her way to work. So I went in on Wednesday, and then more snow yesterday, so school was called off again. Today we all made it to work and are now trying to get ready for the storm that’s going to begin on Sunday and go through Monday night. Up to about 14″ for our area. I have no idea even what to do with it all!

Paddocks are full to overflowing.  Can barely even see the bunker feeders now.
Paddocks are full to overflowing. Can barely even see the bunker feeders now.

The temperatures have been keeping things on the nasty side as well.  -16F this morning, and more nights with below zero temps are still being forecast for the coming week

Snow sky breaking up yesterday afternoon.
Snow sky breaking up yesterday afternoon.

And so it goes! This is winter in Maine, after all. I am so grateful that we are on the winning side of daylight at this point that I can make it through the rest I am sure. Gotta keep hauling that molasses and hot water up to the goats to keep their rumens happy. And on the plus side, I have gotten quite a bit of knitting done :*)

Taking it easy

Beautiful approach to sunset yesterday afternoon
Beautiful approach to sunset yesterday afternoon

And thinking about the next storm coming, supposedly tomorrow. Another 8-12″ of snow. It’s exhausting as the blowing and drifting snow keeps filling in our shoveled areas. It’s definitely turning into the winter that keeps on giving!

Our greenhouse is slowly disappearing under the snows
Our greenhouse is slowly disappearing under the snows

We have been having a visit with our grandson, and enjoying the sun pouring in the windows today. The temperatures have been dropping and staying down there. It was 0F this morning and I don’t think it’s gone about 16F yet, with winds doing their best to give us biting wind chills. So we are hunkering in and I am getting some knitting done, John is baking cookies, and the grandboy is watching a video and coloring.

Emerging from the hay greenhouse between rising banks of snow
Emerging from the hay greenhouse between rising banks of snow

I probably should be doing laundry and things to get ready for the workweek, but I can’t imagine that we will be going to school tomorrow, even though it doesn’t sound as if the storm is going to get rolling until dawn or a little after. Most of the school districts around here were closed all day Friday, but we went in and were released early. Roads were not great for the return trip, but at least we got a “legal” day logged. We now have used 4 of our 5 allotted snow days. Always a balancing act… we don’t want to be holding classes until the 4th of July!

Juno, blizzard of 2015

 

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The storm has come and gone now. Juno. Two snow days this week and more snow on the way this Friday! We just got in a little while ago from continuing the cleanup, and there is more we should do, but just can’t get to right this minute.

The blowing and drifting were epic. Even though the snow was as light as can be, 2+ feet of it was still quite heavy to move with a shovel. The snow is beautiful and we can’t really complain about anything. We are warm, dry, and never lost power.

I worry about the animals not drinking enough water, and we did give everyone some warm molasses water today, but the winter cold with great windiness is a tough one. All the goats are doing well, however, and they are hunkering down together and weathering the storms pretty well.

And so it goes. One day at a time!

Blizzard 2015, ready or not

Winter dawn at the top of the paddocks
Winter dawn at the top of the paddocks

Winter has definitely decided to make up for lost time. We were extremely lucky all autumn and early winter with mild temperatures and not much snow. A few bad power-outages and trees down, but multiple feet of snow on the ground, not.

Up to 3″ of snow an hour tonight and all day tomorrow will add up quickly, that’s for sure. The coast, where we are, looks to be hit the hardest with 16-26″ of snow predicted and sustained winds of 35+ mph. Our school district has already called a snow day tomorrow, which makes me a very happy camper… I don’t have to get up at 4 a.m. and hustle through, only to stagger in from chores and find that things have been cancelled. Phew! That definitely takes a load off my plate!

Girls tanking up on grain this late afternoon
Girls tanking up on grain this late afternoon

All the goaties are tucked up tonight with extra deep beds of clean straw and as much water as their stock tanks will hold. I moved all their grain troughs and pans into the hay greenhouse, as I don’t think I will be able to find them in the morning (I turn them over and stand them up after each feeding, but I don’t know if I would be able to find them in the snow!) We have lots of firewood in the house, the generator is tanked up and there is extra gas in the garage, flashlights are charged, and a giant mess of chili is in the fridge to sustain us (along with some wonderful loaves of John’s semolina bread!).

We are as ready as we can be. Bring it on! Stay safe out there, peeps. The Thunder Snow is on its way.

Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!

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