Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Snowed on, locked down, raiding electrons and getting zotted: a week of storms

Readers and other audiences often express curiosity about my family's homesteading life.  So I thought I'd share a story of that experience in extremity.  I also want to get it down while it's still fresh in memory.

Last Tuesday a stormstorm hit Vermont.  That's nothing out of the ordinary, of course.  But this one had an unusual bite to it.  Temperatures hovered around 25-33 F for two days, meaning snow fell with sleet.  The stuff attached itself to trees, melted a little, then froze into massive, heavy weights.  A second wave followed on Wednesday, piling on top of the first.

Our trees - remember Vermont is very forested - bent, then bowed, sometimes arcing down to the ground. trees bent under snow in our driveway Some limbs and entire trees were too weak to bear the burden, and snapped clean off.  For days we heard muffled CRACKs from the woods, and glimpsed boughs topple down through other trees and ground cover, slapping down into snow drifts.

Some of those arboreal missiles hit power lines. tree on line More than a few, actually.  More than 100,000 Vermonters were out of power over this week.  Our largest electrical utility, Green Mountain Power, fielded hundreds of repair crews drawn from many states and Canada.  Frustratingly, these snow-and-ice-bound trees sometimes took down lines days after the storm.  New outages appeared as old ones were fixed: one step forward, two steps back at the worst.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First snowstorm of the season

After receiving several visits from the snow gods, we finally saw a decent snowstorm today.  A noreaster ladled about seven inches of wet, white stuff through the afternoon.

I (Bryan) had the superbly bad timing of choosing this day to drive our daughter to New Hampshire and back for a medical appointment.  The roads were sometimes thick with snow, sometimes crunchy, and usually slippery.
Looking out at central Vermont, somewhere between Randolph and Hancock.

Back home, chunks of snow keep sliding off the roof to land on the ground with loud WHOMPFs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Last day of the hammock

A rare warm October day leads me to the hammock:

Into October

We're halfway through October here on the homestead.  Here's an update.

Now is serious autumn time.  Leaves have largely turned or fallen. Temperatures often drop to the 30s°F, especially at night.  We've started the main house fire, even running it an entire day.




And yet we get flashes of warm weather to remind us of the season just past.  Today's temperature may rise to 60 °F.  To an extent fall and spring are seasons of oscillation, alternating between the seasons they separate.

Nearly all of the plants are done.  Our plots are either empty or filled with lonely stalks.  The exception is our main potato patch, which Ceredwyn is letting finish, giving each spud a smidgen of extra growth,

The light has changed, as I describe in this story on Cowbird.
November is just around the corner.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The season's first fire

Autumn has settled in with a vengeance this week, with temperatures in the 40s during daytime.  This is too cold for Owain and Ceredwyn, so we lit our first fire of the season.

That was wood from last winter, and it burned well in the kitchen stove.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Summer fled this morning

Today is chilly.  It was about 40°F when I got up, rising to 47°F by 8:30 am.
This is autumn's first major swipe at summer.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Today's little harvest

Ceredwyn snagged some cucumbers from our gardens today, along with a bunch of blackberries.

Cucumbers have proven a reliable crop over the past few years.  Blackberries are relatively new for us; we experimented with cultivating them this year.