Tulip Time

Despite the continuing cold temperatures, spring has sprung around here and my tulips are ready to delight me with color.  It is just the start of the spring flower show and I could not be more ready.

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I just snapped this picture with my iPhone 5s as I was strolling around the yard this evening, all bundled up.  Temperatures were only in the high 40’s today.  Things are looking up for the weekend though.

I hope you are enjoying some spring color in your neck of the woods!

Lynell

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Filed under Flower, Gardens

One Week to the Next

This weekend was not exactly balmy, but it was warm enough to continue melting the snow.  What a difference a week makes during spring in Minnesota!  It was only 9 days ago when we were dumped on and school was canceled because of all the snow. (See my last post).  Besides a few random piles here and there, all the snow is now gone.  Hooray!  (It is Minnesota though and more snow over the next month is a definite possibility).

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Last weekend our vegetable garden had a foot of snow covering it.  Today?  No snow in sight and the rhubarb is even peeking out of the soggy soil.

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The chickens were finally able to escape the coop and do some free-ranging after a long winter.  They headed for a dirt pile that we have and got busy scratching and doing whatever it is that chickens do.DSC_0115

The warmer temps allowed us to get outside and start working on all those spring chores.  I spent a lot of time walking around with my garden shears and cutting back various plants, like the Annabelle Hydrangea along the pole shed…

DSC_0110…And the ornamental grass, Sedum, coneflower, and miniature Joe Pye weed along the granary.

DSC_0120Jesse helped me clean up our raised beds with strawberries and blueberries.  We raked out the dead leaves, pulled some random weeds, and raked up some pine needles to freshen up the mulch.  This will be our third season with the blueberry plants and we are hoping that some of the big bushes finally produce a good amount of fruit.

DSC_0118We also found time to prepare for our baby chicks that are due to arrive some time at the end of next week.  They will be inside the house in this box for the first five days so that we can keep an eye on them and make sure to keep them warm and drinking water.

DSC_0122Jesse also cleaned out the brood boxes for his beehives and they are all ready for the new bees. We are not exactly sure when to expect them, but likely at the end of April.

Spring is definitely rolling along here in Minnesota and we could not be happier.  🙂

Lynell

 

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Filed under Animals, Chickens, Daily life, Flower, Gardens, Vegetable

A Winter Blast

Our progress towards spring suffered a setback last night, as we awoke to around 8-9 inches of fresh snow.  School was canceled and we once again face the task of clearing and piling snow. Ugh! snow1 As discouraging as it is to see, with temperatures forecasted to reach into the 50’s and 60’s next week, we know this scene is only temporary.snow2 I decided to step out on to the porch this afternoon to capture a few pictures of the white stuff.  One of the things I enjoy about blogging, and one of the primary reasons I do it, is that it allows me to document events like this from year to year.  I always find it interesting to look back at pictures from earlier years to see evidence of late snowfalls and later proof that spring and summer eventually do arrive.  Last year, we received a big snow fall on April 18th.  A week later I posted and shared pictures of the dramatic changes that can occur in Minnesota during the spring time over a short period.  (See the post here).

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Below is a shot from our porch towards the river.  Grudgingly, I must admit that it is a pretty sight today.

snow3Nonetheless, I am hoping that it looks very different by next week.  I am SO ready for winter to move along so that I can get outside and into my gardens.  Spring cannot come soon enough!

I hope spring has arrived in your neck of the woods!

Lynell

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Outbuildings

Signs of Life? Or Not.

We were blessed with a beautiful spring day here in Minnesota with temperatures reaching into the 50’s.  Finally!

It was a gorgeous day to get outside and start checking for signs of life around the farm.

Since the snow finally started melting, Jesse decided to make his way out to the beehives to check on them.  After 50 plus days this winter of high temperatures not even reaching zero degrees Fahrenheit, our expectations were very low about the likelihood that our bees survived.  When our bee supplier called in January, we decided to play it safe and order two more nucs of bees to install this spring to make sure we were not left without any bees.  As it turns out, we made the right decision!

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We knew it was a bad sign this afternoon when Jesse pulled the covers off the hives and we saw the carnage of dead bees on the inside hive cover.  There was also an eerie silence that was a tell-tale sign that the bees had not survived.  It was the same scene when he opened the second hive.

No survivors. No signs of life.

We will start fresh with new bees this spring.  Again.

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Our snow cover was melting quickly today with the warm temperatures.  The turned soil is starting to reveal itself in the plowed field next to our house.  The neighbor planted a bean crop last summer and plans to re-seed an alfalfa crop this spring.  This will delight our new bees.

3Wherever we wander on the farm, including out to the bees,we can always count on Sofie being somewhere close by.  She is a constant sign of life on the farm, even in the bleakest of times.  Dogs are such comforting companions.

4After visiting the bees, I trudged through the heaps of piled snow to get to the edge of my vegetable garden to take a picture.  With a solid foot of snow remaining within the perimeter, there is sadly no sign of life here.  It is hard to imagine that in a few short months this will be green and brimming with new growth and possibilities.
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The warm temperatures today did manage to stir awake the juices of the maple trees.  We ventured in to the woods and discovered the first signs of the sap running.  Although it was not a very productive day (only about 1 gallon), it is a start.

6And after this long winter, I will celebrate any sign of life that reveals itself around here!
-Lynell

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Filed under Animals, Bees, Daily life, Maple Syrup

Snowy Sunrise

We received another 10 inches or so of snow yesterday through this morning.  The wind is howling and the snow is drifting quickly.  School was canceled, yet again.  I was unsuccessful in making it out of our driveway this morning for work and got stuck in a three-foot snow drift.  There really is no point in complaining about the long winter any more though.  It is old news.

So, since I cannot think of anything very positive to say about Minnesota, our winters, the weather, etc., I thought I would just post this picture I took this morning.  I took it with my iPhone 5s and did a quick edit in Instagram.

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Hope you are staying warm and out of the howling winds.  Spring will come eventually, right?

Lynell

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Filed under Barn, Daily life, Outbuildings

A Blustery Day

I think we can all agree that it has been quite a winter, no matter where you live.  The days with snow and subzero temperatures have been too many to count for us here in Minnesota.

Today is just another one of those days.  The wind is absolutely howling out there at around 30 mph. With temps around 5-7°F, those high winds are creating wind chills of around -16°F on this bright and sunny day.
DSC_0001Jesse has spent a lot of hours clearing snow around the farm this winter.  He is outside now trying to clear the snow and break through the drifts, knowing he will need to do it again later this evening again because of the blowing.

DSC_0002Like so many days so far this winter, we are in a wind chill warning through Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to plunge further below zero and we can look forward to wind chills of -35° F to -45° F tomorrow.  Brrrrr!!!!

We just received the robo-call from the school district that all classes and activities are canceled for tomorrow…again!! We have had 3 days of school canceled because of frigid temperatures so far this month.  Our youngest (and the only chick left in the nest) celebrates every time we get word of another cancellation, but I doubt he will think it is so great in April when he is making up the days over the scheduled spring break. 🙂

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Since I am not outside doing this…

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I have managed to entertain myself indoors by starting to dream of spring.  We are going to refresh our flock of laying hens this spring and have also decided to order some chicks to raise for eating again. So, I have been paging through this catalog… (Murray McMurray Hatchery).

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After much deliberation, I ordered 12 baby chicks of 7 different varieties for our new laying hens and 25 chicks for meat birds.

Thinking about and planning for spring makes the long cold winters a bit more tolerable, don’t you think?

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Another way of coping with blustery winter days is to find a sunny spot inside and curl up on a cozy blanket, bathing yourself in sunshine.

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Wherever you are, I hope you are staying warm and finding your own ways to cope with this crazy winter!

Lynell

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O Christmas Tree!

Time has slipped away from me again and I have not posted for some time, but here I am today!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend here on the farm with our family all under one roof.  There is nothing better for a mother’s heart.  Our older kids flew home from West Point for the long weekend and to join us for our annual sausage-making event with extended family.  I will post more on this later, but you can click here now to see a post from 2010 about this event.

After putting the kids back on the plane Sunday morning (time flies too fast), the rest of us headed out to find the perfect Christmas tree.  We are quite picky about our tree and we search until we can all agree on one.  We have been buying Balsam firs for quite a few years.  They have to be at least 10 feet tall and with a slim shape so they do not fill the entryway too much.  It took about 15 minutes of wandering through the tree farm and considering several options, but we finally agreed on this beauty!

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We finally finished decorating the tree last night.  I am feeling more ready for Christmas all the time.
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O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging
O Christmas tree,
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging
Not only green when
Summer’s here
But also when it’s cold and drear
O Christmas tree, 
O Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and that your Christmas preparations are coming along, as well.

Lynell

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