Monday, March 5, 2018

A winter's worth of weather in two weeks

Up until mid-February or so, we had a very mild winter. Temps were often chilly, but the ground was bare.

Here's the orchard on January 25, for example:

Our hazelnuts had catkins on them...

...and all our young fruit trees had winter buds.

Mr. Darcy could carry branches along the road bare of snow.

Just before Valentine's Day, the pattern continued: cold and sunny and dry.

The morning sun shone through golden ice crystals.

And still the weather stayed dry.

And then the great Celestial Weather Machine did a total 180 degrees, and winter came.

It started on February 14 with a powerful snow squall that dumped several inches of snow. We actually had thunder and lightning during the snowstorm -- that was something to see!

(That's Mr. Darcy lying down in the road.)

Then the skies cleared and the temperature dropped like a rock. We had three days of -6F temps.

In anticipation of the cold temps, I cleaned out the chicken coop to make sure the birds all had soft, fluffy straw for warmth.

I think the ladies appreciated it.

I was worried a calf would be born during this cold snap, but thankfully all the cows held off.

That calves that were born before the cold snap -- Hickory and Ferdinand -- did fine. It was a funny thing to see such tiny calves cavorting in the bitter cold and snow.

The bellies full of warm milk helped.

During the cold snap, all the animals activated their solar panels and stood broadside to the sun.

Then the temps rose and the ripping snow came roaring back in.

And then came the dreaded weather prediction of wind -- supposedly gusts up to 60 mph. When we lose power, we lose water. Having been through the November 2015 windstorm that devastated our region, we took no chances. We filled oil lamps, put fresh batteries in all the flashlights, and topped off household water.

We filled a second livestock tank as well. We knew it would freeze, but not solidly, and we could knock the ice out.

We both took showers, and I caught up on laundry.

Thankfully the power stayed on during that windy day, but that doesn't mean we didn't have other windy days -- which, coupled with snow, meant drifts.

Don tackled the drifts in our driveway, and heroic neighbors with plow blades tackled the road.

We did get some superb alpineglow one evening...

...before once again snow roared in.

It pasted every surface...

...and dusted the inside of the barn, leaving a perfect silhouette of a pitch fork.

The chickens mostly stayed in their coop, otherwise they sank.

When Don plowed a clearing, all the cows and calves hung around in the cleared space.

When we took Mr. Darcy out for a run, he got "jingle balls" of snow adhering to his fur.

And then -- quite abruptly -- the spate of bad weather eased and blue skies and warmer temperatures moved in.

The snow will take quite a while to melt -- take a gander at the garden, where all the tires are still buried -- but we'll take what we can get.

Even the road in to our place is becoming more slush than ice.

We've been getting flocks of hoary redpolls all over...

...and the occasional tiny spider on the snow.

So I'd like to think this portends early spring, but I don't want to jinx it by saying so.

We'll just have to wait and see.


  1. We moved from Ill. to Texas back in 1974. There have been a number of years that Ill. has not had much snow but I do miss it even with all the extra work it caused on the farm. I can remember one year when they had to open our rural road with a D-8 cat as the earlier snows had ment canyons of plowed snow and the big snow and winds filled those in so we had like 10 ft deep drifts. We just hunkered down and waited. I think it was about 5 days before the road was open as a 1 way track.

  2. Beautiful photos, Patrice. It is here now. Snowing sideways.... (with rain this morning).

  3. Love all your photos, you sure do live in a beautiful spot with lovely views! I think spring is finally here in our valley. We have 8 baby lambs on the ground and so far 3 goat kids with one more doe left to kid and then we move onto calving. Getting lots of spring garden cleanup accomplished and looking forward to planting potatoes, peas and onions outside in a few weeks. Planning to get our tomatoes and peppers started inside this week along with a few other veggies.
    J @ Creekside Farmstead

  4. I think we (Minnesota) just got the weather you depict sticking to everything, what a mess!! (Character builder right :) ) Stay warm and safe, MN Prairie

  5. I love the sunsets you get there. I get nothing close to them here in NE Texas, but I enjoy what I do get. Keep up the good work.

  6. I love looking at snow................on the internet....................from South Texas :-)

  7. It portends the dramatic mood swings caused by climate change. We'd better get used to it. J.

  8. We have had some cold days this year, but not much snow. We rely heavily on the weather forecast to keep a step ahead. We seem to have lost all sense of predicting the weather ourselves and I wonder how they did it in the past.

    1. We were able to predict forecasts in the past...only because we were not over 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere.

      We are now over 400 ppm's. This has effected the jet steam and all that is connected to it...

      Over 97% of scientists agree that this is caused by HUMAN greenhouse gas emissions from carbon pollution that we
      (all over the world) have managed to put into our air over decades of abuse.

      The planet, itself, is on board to fix this problem...all except the United States under Trump's agenda of denial. J.

  9. Beautiful pictures from north Idaho, and great story to go along with them.
    Too bad the liberals have to chime in with their agenda.

  10. You have an error in the Country Living Series. The attached takes you to the ant and grasshopper file.

    Our Zero-Waste Experiment (15 pgs)

    1. Thank you for pointing this out! Don should have been in touch with you to rectify the situation.

      - Patrice

  11. Mr Darcy is looking great!!! Does he bark at the snowflakes and try to catch them? Kashmir, our golden, has so much fun when the snow flies.

    And it looks like you have a global cooling, global warming, climate change, climate disruption troll follow you. Have some fun.

  12. there has always been climate change. look at the ten years with no summer, or go far back to ice ages. part of england has native cacti remaining from the time it was part hot desert.

  13. The science says different...unless you don't believe in science.

    The rest of the world gets it. We're the only ones having a problem.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions...but not to their own facts.