Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Buried in the Snow!

Well, almost. I discovered this when I was checking the guest rooms this morning. The snow fell from the roof on one side of the house and buried a bedroom window and the hall window.

It's good that it is falling off the roof, because we are supposed to get another 8 - 14 inches later this week. That will put us into March! Will it ever melt?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Break in the Weather

We finally got a break in the weather this weekend and were able to get outside. This weekend, it is forecast to be above freezing with Sunday being in the upper 40's. My family was getting cabin fever from being stuck inside for such a long and cold winter. Even the animals enjoyed the break and got outside to play.

Liam loves his cats, Clem and Georgia.

Hope had a blast running up and down the driveway. She isn't much of a "cold weather" dog, especially when the snow is over her head.

Saturday, we went to our friends' house to cut firewood. We were completely out, and they were almost out. It has been unseasonably cold this winter and everybody has gone through a lot of firewood. Our friend, Scott, was cutting wood at his father's farm next door. When he had a truckload, he stopped by to see what we were doing. He pitched in and helped for several hours. That's what's great about the country. Neighbors and friends help each other without needing asked.

I also started breeding our rabbits this weekend. I put a doe in with the buck yesterday and today. The normal gestation period is 31 days, so we should see litters around the 25th of March. The bunnies will stay with their mothers for six weeks and then will be transferred to field pens for another six weeks.

Today, we all went out to tap our sugar maple trees for sap. Although we have over 2 dozen sugar maple trees in our woods, I only have 3 taps and buckets for collection. I'd like to get more equipment next year, a little more at a time.

Liam loved being outside and helping me set the taps.

On the first day, after 4 hours, I collected over 1 gallon of sap from the three taps. The weather will be above freezing for a couple more days, then it is supposed to get cold again. At least we are finally seeing signs of spring.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Winter on the Farm

Winter keeps hammering us here on the Farm. After putting Liam to bed last night, I cleared 10 inches of snow with the snowblower. This morning, we had another 5 inches of new snow. The seven day forecast calls for, you guessed it, snow every day.

View from the rabbit/chicken house. I wade through this snow several times a day to check on the animals.

This is the new snow from the last 2 weeks. Our part of West Virginia has received over 115 inches of snow, a record. We are about 20 degrees below normal right now.

Welcome, to our Winter Wonderland!

If you like snowy pictuers, I created an album of more winter photos on our Facebook page. I hope you enjoy them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Seed Starting

Finally! It's time to plant some seeds. I've been waiting for this moment ever since the seed catalogs started arriving and tempting me with their delightful treasures. Our first order for seeds came from Johnny Seeds and a couple of treats from Thomas at A Growing Tradition.

From Thomas, I received Cherokee Purple Tomato, Bok Choy Extra Dwarf, and Bok Choy Shanghai. Thank you, Thomas.

From Johnny Seeds, I ordered Encore Lettuce Mix, Upton Leeks, Pac Choi (Black Summer and Joi Choi), Bunching Onions (Evergreen Hardy White and Deep Purple), Sugar Snap Peas, and Strike Shelling Peas.

I started the lettuce and leeks indoors, under lights. I set up some shelves next to our wood stove where I can be certain the soil will be at least 60 degrees.

Lettuce seeds, waiting to germinate

One packet of leeks seeds, sown and preparing to emerge.

As soon as this latest round of snow goes away (we just got another 2 feet), I plan to build a cold frame to start seeds of onions, choys, lettuce and cabbages. The peas I will plant directly in some raised beds under row covers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Remodeling our Pantry and Root Cellar

A couple of years ago, we remodeled our kitchen here at the lodge. It was a dramatic improvement both in efficiency and style. Since then, we have wanted to remodel our pantry and a back room area to make them more organized and useful. The pantry is a big room, with shelves, cabinets, an extra refrigerator and cooler, 2 freezers and utility sink. Our two problems with this room was that it was cluttered and gets hot in the summer. We want the appliances moved out and new shelves built to hold all of our canned goods and supplies.

Canning supplies and food sitting everywhere.

Extra appliances

The back room area has the laundry area, a utility room with sink and shelves for the cleaning supplies, a bathroom, and a hallway. We hate all of the little rooms and crowded space and want to open it up to make one large room. Since it is below ground level and stays below 50 degrees, even in the summer, I plan to make this our root cellar.
Crowded hallway with limited shelving for canned goods.

Cramped utility room. This is a real pain when the four of us are trying to get cleaning supplies from here after a group has checked out of the lodge.

Bathroom with 2 toilets!?

Unused shower, just wasted space that could be utilized better.

Other view of cramped hallway.

Stairs leading down to the rooms. The cramped utility room is ahead and the washer and two dryers are underneath the stairs.

Our goals for the root cellar are:
  • open it and make it less crowded
  • move the extra appliances back here since it is cooler
  • create room for storing vegetables in the winter
We're very excited about this remodel. I already started knocking down the wall in the hallway and the shower. I'll post more photos as the remodel progresses.